Travis Ashley, Kelowna-Lake Country MP candidate for the Green Party talks with two Kelowna residents outside the Green Party tent at the Labour Day Picnic at Hollywood Road Education Services in Rutland on Sept. 2, 2019. (David Venn - Kelowna Capital News)

Okanagan MP candidates take note of Conservative’s Labour Day absence

Rutland’s Hollywood Road Education Services hosted annual picnic

The North Okanagan Labour Council held its annual Labour Day picnic on Sept. 2 from 12 to 3 p.m. on the fields behind the Hollywood Road Education Services site.

The event had picnic tables, a bouncy castle, free barbeque, live music, union displays and a few local federal parties joining in on the festivities and talking with riding patrons.

Some of the MP candidates running for office spoke of the importance of attending community events, such as the Labour Day picnic.

Liberal MP Stephen Fuhr and colleague Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP-hopeful, Mary Ann Murphy, set up their campaign tents next to eachother.

Across the picnic tables and closer towards the bouncy castle, was the Green Party’s MP candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country, Travis Ashley, and his Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola counterpart, Robert Mellalieu.

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“Community is what brings everybody together, that’s one of the biggest parts of the Green Party, is that we want to focus heavily on community,” Ashley said.

Fuhr reflected on his presence at the Labour Day picnic by citing some of his bolder legislature moves favouring labourers, such as voting against his own party forcing Canada Post employees to go back to work.

“I support teachers, I support firefighters, I support postal workers,” Fuhr said. “Events like today give me the opportunity to connect with the community. People get to tell me what’s on their mind and what’s important to them.”

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Kelowna-Lake Country MP candidate Justin Kulik did not attend. His absence was due to a prior engagement in Vancouver, according to a campaign volunteer.

However, there was an NDP tent set up.

MP candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country, Tracy Gray, was not at the picnic, nor was there a Conservative campaign tent set up.

“For the Conservatives not to be here is not really surprising, I’m sure, for all of us, really,” Ashley said.

Fuhr echoed similar comments, stating Conservatives haven’t traditionally been supportive of organized labour.

“If their policies can stand the scrutiny of the people at this picnic, then they’re good policies,” Mellalieu said. “And if they can’t bring those policies to a picnic like this — where it’s a nice open discussion — and have a succinct conversation about them, that’s indicating of the kind of policies that they have.”

Gray could not be reached for comment.

READ MORE: Okanagan voters challenge Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer during Kelowna visit


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Robert Mellalieu, Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP candidate for the Green Party speaks with a Kelowna resident during the Labour Day Picnic at Hollywood Road Education Services. (David Venn - Kelowna Capital News)

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