The race to the Oct. 19 federal election has begun.
With the early election announcement, no North Okanagan–Shuswap candidates had been confirmed as of Monday by Elections Canada (nomination process for candidates closes Sept. 28, with a list of confirmed candidates to be released Sept. 30). However, four are already campaigning to represent the riding: Mel Arnold for the Conservatives, Cindy Derkaz for the Liberals, Chris George for the Green Party of Canada and Jacqui Gingras for the New Democratic Party.
Arnold, who previously ran for the BC Liberals, announced his intention to run for the Conservatives in May of last year. He was nominated as the riding’s Conservative candidate in October.
“The residents of the North Okanagan Shuswap need a strong voice in Ottawa,” says Arnold. “ As a lifetime resident of the area I have seen the challenges. Now I want to put my leadership skills and experience to work for you, to have a positive impact on the lives of everyday people in the riding. By being active in the community, I understand the issues that families and seniors face and I will work tirelessly on your issues as your MP.”
Liberal candidate Cindy Derkaz said she decided to throw her hat in the political arena due to an increasing concern over the direction the country has taken under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“After a decade of Harper, we want change that will make a real difference in the lives of all Canadians – change that will help families make ends meet, put more money in their pockets, and bring this country together,” says Derkaz. “It is time for a new plan to grow the middle class and grow the economy.”
Chris George, who ran for the Green Party of B.C. in the last provincial election, was recently nominated as the federal Greens’ candidate for the North-Okanagan Shuswap. George says environmental issues brought him to the party, but its “progressive, realistic social policies including a guaranteed livable income, keep me Green.”
“There is no excuse for poverty in Canada. Elizabeth May’s small business initiatives are the best there is,” says George. “Trade deals that give foreign corporations the right to sue our government for making responsible decisions in the interests of Canada must be renegotiated.”
Jacqui Gingras says her vision for the North Okanagan-Shuswap is to “mobilize our abundant resources to reinvigorate our local community.”
“What we have learned too well over the past eight years with Harper is that the answers to the issues that affect our community don’t come from Ottawa,” says Gingras. “They come from you and me; people who work here, raise their families here, and build a life here… I am ready to be your voice in Ottawa, a voice that represents economic fairness, climate security and social justice.”