September 04, 2015 - 6:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - Cathy McLeod is not only the incumbent in the race to be the MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, but she is also a wife, mother and a former nurse.
With grown children, over 30 years of her marriage to husband Gord, a masters degree and seven years under her belt as a member of parliament, the Conservative candidate has managed several careers.
“I certainly have throughly been honoured to have this position (as MP),” she says.
McLeod says she's appreciated the support from her husband who's joined her on trips throughout the riding.
"I call him my volunteer driver. Some people think that's who he is," she adds with a laugh.
Meeting at her campaign headquarters on Seymour Street downtown, McLeod along with her office and staff are manicured. Papers are in order and staff members delegate tasks. The decor is warm and simple. It also features one giant poster of McLeod in her office. The atmosphere is busy - people plan, phone's ring and if they're not picked up, they ring again.
Her interest in politics started as a university student in Ontario, she says she wasn’t involved with the Conservative party and "probably would have identified with the Liberals." But, she says, when she moved out West she identified with the Reform party founded in the late 1980s.
McLeod says her "a-ha moment" to enter politics was in the 90s when she acted was elected as a councillor then mayor for the village of Pemberton.
She first discovered what the city of Kamloops had to offer when she and her family drove through town "many, many years ago."
"The skiing, the Shuswap, the river, the passion for sports and moving here with three children who are all very active - that was my first sort of welcome into the community," she says. "Whether it was the soccer teams or the hockey teams or weekends at the Shuswap or days skiing up at Sun Peaks, Kamloops is a great size. I always like to say it's big enough for a Costco, but not so big the traffic jams are bad."
After her move to the city, McLeod took a brief reprieve from her political career.
“(In 1999) my political interests went predominantly on hold in favour of focussing on teenage children and also a healthcare career,” she says.
But it was when incumbent Conservative Betty Hinton announced she would not be running again in 2007, McLeod figured it was time to return.
“I knew the association was doing a candidate search so I took the big leap and jumped in,” she says.
McLeod says she’s enjoyed her time representing the riding and is ready to sign on again if elected.
“I believe not only myself but the team which works with me have done a good job both at an individual and a community level taking care of the issues that need resolution within the communities,” she says.
While she says she’s had her own thoughts on the Conservative party's politics, she says her views stay within caucus confidentiality.
“Everyone regardless of what party can’t agree with 100 per cent. We in our Conservative caucus have an opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister every Wednesday to share our opinions, our thoughts and once the decision gets made then it’s a team sport."
Regarding the underwhelming number of youth voters, McLeod says shes disappointed the privilege to vote isn't embraced more.
"Whenever I go into a high school class, if I leave them with any messages it's treasure your opportunity to vote. It's a little cliche but in Canada we are so lucky to live in our country to live in a democratic country. You look at people who risk their lives to vote," she says. "The fact that we don't treasure it as much as we can and we should is a little disappointing. I try and bring that message that if you do nothing else, have a look at the policies of the party's and figure which one most closely connects with you and your goals and take those few minutes to vote."
To contact a reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015