PENTICTON, B.C. - Federal Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn has abruptly cancelled a scheduled morning speech at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Penticton, B.C.

Lunn was set to address British Columbia's civic politicians on behalf of the federal government, but his speech was cancelled at the last minute.

UBCM officials would only say Lunn was not able to attend the speech and no replacement was available to speak on behalf of Ottawa.

Lunn is believed to be in an ever-tightening race to hold onto his Victoria-area Saanich-Gulf Islands riding following the resignation of NDP candidate Julian West over a skinny-dipping incident 12 years ago.

With one less left-leaning candidate in the race, some believe Liberal candidate Briony Penn is within striking distance of the federal Conservative cabinet minister.

Lunn's appearance at the UBCM convention was highly anticipated because he has been an outspoken critic of the B.C. Liberal government's carbon tax, which many cities and towns in B.C. also oppose.