The race for the Richmond Centre riding is heating up after two more names emerged as potential runners while a city councillor ruled himself out.
Dr. Caroline Wang, a family physician in the city for more than 20 years, and Gary Law, a decorated army cadet major and former Richmond Mountie, are both on the verge of submitting their nomination papers for May’s provincial election.
However, Coun. Chak Au — who said he was approached by multiple parties to run — has decided to continue his work at city hall, saying the timing wasn’t right.
Current school board trustee Grace Tsang confirmed last month she intends to run for the riding’s Liberal nomination.
It still remains to be seen what party Wang will side with, should she take the plunge.
Wang — who hit the headlines two years ago amid a bitter legal battle with the B.C. Medical Association (BCMA) — said she’s been approached by more than one political party to run and is unsure which one she would join.
“I’ve not made a decision at this time whether to run as a candidate or not,” Wang told the News on Thursday.
“However, I’m very interested in bringing positive change, transparency and accountability to the government and want to bring my experience as a physician to fix the problems in our health system. I am considering my options.”
Wang said she’d prefer, if possible, to wait and decide after the court judgment drops from her 20-day defamation trial last January against the BCMA.
Wang sued the doctor’s governing body over claims they blackened her reputation with statements made during a long wrangle which saw her win a B.C. Supreme Court suit in 2009, only to have the decision overturned a year later at the B.C. Court of Appeal, due to an error in procedure.
The ruling left Wang on the hook for $35,000 in court costs, plus the “hundreds of thousands” she lost in income and legal expenses trying to clear her name.
Wang, who ran a practice on Cook Road for 20 years, refiled her libel and breach-of-contract suits, which were finally heard in January 2012.
She’s now studying Executive Master in Public Administration (EMPA) at New York University and hopes to graduate in May, which, incidentally, coincides with the election.
“I’m very passionate about being able to put my 20 years experience as a physician to good use,” she added.
Law, meanwhile, is understood to be in the process of getting his nomination papers together to run as a candidate for the Liberals.
The News spoke briefly to the former Mountie this week, but he subsequently hadn’t returned calls by press time.
Law was born and raised in Hong Kong before immigrating to Canada in 1982 as an international student.
After completing his Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1987 at Dalhousie University, he began his military career in 1989 when he joined the 11th (Victoria) Service Battalion as a Second Lieutenant.
Over the next few years, Law worked in Hong Kong as a high school teacher and joined the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force where he shined during training, collecting both the Silver Whistle and the Commandant’s Certificate for the highest academic result.
In 1995, he returned to Canada and joined the Mounties, with Richmond being his posting. “Major” Law was also named the Commanding Officer of the British Columbia Regiment (Irish Fusiliers) Army Cadet Corps and still serves as an Area Cadet Instructor Cadre Officer in the Pacific Region.
He has a shopping list of accreditations to his name for his contributions to policing and community involvement.
Although not running, Au said he had given it serious consideration, but felt he couldn’t let down the people who voted for him at last year’s municipal election, when he made the leap from school trustee to city council.
“I do have a background in health and education and, with these being provincial matters, it would have been a good fit,” said Au.
“But when I ran for city council in 2011, I made a commitment to the people of Richmond to serve them well.
“So, for me to then leave council after one and a half years would be irresponsible. It was a good opportunity, but the timing is not right.”