April 26, 2013 - 5:00 AM
Ed Klop left the province in the late 1990s to find a job and a better life. He did eventually return to British Columbia, but not intending to see the NDP form government again. He believes the Liberals gave up their chance quite a while ago so Klop has decided he is the one to represent the B.C. Conservatives, the one who really understands the working people of the riding.
Ed Klop grew up helping on his family's dairy farm, then took to driving highway tractor-trailers, then real estate became his passion before starting an asphalt repair company – which he still runs. All of these experiences as a small business owner lend themselves to making him the best representative for the Kamloops-North Thompson riding, he says.
While living in Quesnel, Klop started getting involved in politics but it was while living in Alberta that he really started to advocate a common sense approach to politics – something we says the Wildrose Alliance Party did well. He ran twice under the party flag while living in Alberta.
After moving back to B.C. a few years ago with his wife—Yvonne grew up in Kamloops—the self-described “true conservative” put his name in for nomination in the Shuswap riding but Tom Birch ultimately became the Conservative candidate.
With his paperwork already filed it was a quick transition to fill Ed Fehr's shoes as the North Thompson candidate when Fehr was forced to step down because of health issues. Fehr did get the okay today from his doctor that he is doing well, but his health is still a concern and he sees himself more fit to help Klop run his campaign, instead of taking part in his own.
When asked about his late entry into the Kamloops candidate pool, Klop notes he was approached last October but wanted time to think about it. By the time he got back from a winter break from seasonal work, Fehr had already decided to take the plunge himself.
The blue collar worker does not think living outside of the riding will hurt his chances. He lives in Sorrento but says he understands the life of a hard-working individual and the rural life, he says. He feels having worked in the “trenches” puts him closer to the constituents and makes him the most qualified for the role of Kamloops-North Thompson MLA.
“It's unfortunate, maybe (not living in the riding), but I don't have any businesses in my back pocket either.”
He also hasn't ruled out moving in to the riding, but is currently enjoying the lake-side living the Shuswap is providing his family.
Klop wants to see “made in B.C. Jobs” created for the people of the region and wants to do so by bringing investments into the Kamloops area.
“That's how you keep feeding the fire,” Klop says of the cyclical role industry plays in the economy.
Complete scrutiny is needed at all levels of government and the hospital in order to build on efficiencies, save money and be able to hire the people that are needed, he says.
Klop also questions how a province that has done so well in the past now boasts one of the highest overall taxation rates for citizens.
“We have to have the guts,” he says, “(to not vote for) the ones who want to spend, who act like they're on a talent show.”
“Common sense can lead to prosperity. We need to take a serious look at all debts, get back to basics. I don't think it's wrong to demand what's going on with our money.”
As most party members have been noted as saying at some point during this campaign – Klop is not concerned over any notoriety the party leader, John Cummins in this case, has faced coming into the election.
“No party has a perfect slate, you have to look at the candidate as well,” Klop states, noting the Conservatives are also given free vote within the party, meaning they can still fight for their constituents even if the party and the leader are looking at different choices.
“We need to keep persevering, take the gloves off (and fight.) We're almost masking who we are, skirting the issues – we need to cut through and get back to basics.”
Your other Kamloops-North Thompson candidates:
Kathy Kendall, NDP
Terry Lake, Liberal (incumbent)
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013