A former mayor who became a fierce critic of B.C. Liberal government health reform a decade ago is seeking the party's nomination before the next provincial election.
And Chris O'Connor, a forester, former mayor of Lytton and long-time director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, said he still believes Interior Health Authority is heavy on high-paid bureaucrats and low on service to small towns throughout the region.
"I'm going to make sure we get the service we need in each one of these communities," said O'Connor, who has filed papers to run in Fraser-Nicola against incumbent New Democrat Harry Lali.
"I'm not convinced that's happening with IHA."
O'Connor said he intends to file papers but has not yet been accepted as a nominee.
Following election in 2001, the B.C. Liberal government closed St. Bartholomew's Hospital in Lytton, replacing it with a health centre. O'Connor became a high-profile critic of withdrawal of health service from small B.C. towns.
"IHA has to be reformed to focus on service delivery rather than bureaucracy."
O'Connor acknowledged the new health centre has brought newer equipment and facilities, along with some expanded services.
But it came at the cost of a full-time emergency, similar to other small towns, as well as residential care for seniors that existed under the former hospital. Residential care in Lytton has been replaced by six assisted living beds for seniors.
Lali, who has represented the riding for more than 12 years, said O'Connor has tried and failed to achieve the Liberal nomination in the past. He called him "a critic of everything and all over the map.
"I never worry about who I run against. I run on my record and the record of the NDP in the '90s - building B.C."