Longtime activist and politician Libby Davies made a stop in Salmon Arm Saturday, to talk federal politics and tout Okanagan-Shuswap NDP candidate Jacqui Gingras.
Davies began her political career as a municipal politician, elected to Vancouver City Council in 1982 and serving five consecutive terms.
In 1997 she was first elected as the NDP Member of Parliament for Vancouver East, and was re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011. She is deputy leader of the federal NDP.
She won’t be running again.
“I first ran in 1976 when I was 23. I just felt like I couldn’t go through another election,” she told the Observer prior to her talk in Salmon Arm.
“I like being an MP…,” she said, calling it an “incredible privilege.”
However, she doesn’t think she can give the 110 per cent that an election requires.
She said she isn’t retiring, though, and vows to remain politically active, as she has been throughout and prior to her political career.
Davies predicts the November election will be an exciting one.
“I think this election will be incredibly interesting because you have Conservatives, Liberals and the NDP and the leaders of those parties who are all within striking distance of being the main party and forming government.”
She is expecting a close race.
“I think people are looking for change… My gut instinct is Stephen Harper has gone past his due date,” Davies said, adding that voters want openness. “Things have changed so much. I think even Conservatives are shaking their heads…”
She said issues such as health care, child care – overall affordability and quality of life are important to people, and accountability is valued.
“It’s about having a government that’s transparent and accountable. That’s true particularly in B.C., where we’re so far from Ottawa. I think Mr. Harper has become very removed from his roots – the election in Alberta is a reflection of that.”
Davies said Gingras is much like her.
“We’re very community-based and what happens in the local community is very important to us and drives us… To me it’s not only about the issues, it’s how you work with people, how you connect with people in the community, how approachable you are.”