September 10, 2015 - 10:30 AM
VERNON - A big buzzword in the 2015 federal election is ‘change’ but if you’re looking for a politician who will keep the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding on the Conservative course, candidate Mel Arnold is your ticket.
A local businessman, Arnold was born and raised on a dairy farm in Notch Hill, a small community near Blind Bay in the Shuswap.
“It gave me good insight into the farming community… and the issues that are paramount to farmers,” Arnold says, adding the seven days a week workload also gave him a good work ethic.
He married his high school sweetheart and moved to Salmon Arm for work, eventually founding Complete Marine Detailing, a marine and RV business he’s been operating for the past 25 years. If elected, he plans to pass the business on to someone else and put 100 per cent of his time into being a member of Parliament.
He also got a taste for advocacy work and policy making during his time as the president of the B.C. Wildlife Foundation and as the governance committee chair with the Canadian Wildlife Federation. While those roles required him to be non-partisan, they affirmed his personal beliefs in the Conservative Party.
“It was experience with those organizations that made the decision clear for me which party I would align with,” he says.
In particular, he gravitated to the party’s fiscal management, efficient government and effective use of tax dollars, he says. And the party gravitated toward him too. For years, members of Parliament and cabinet ministers have been encouraging him to take on the role of MP, and if voters agree, he’s ready to dive in.
The North Okanagan-Shuswap is a large, spread out riding covering a number of communities, and Arnold says he’s paying close attention to all of them. He believes there are several key issues common to all of them; families sustaining jobs, infrastructure improvement, and seniors.
“Families sustaining jobs is the number one issue out there. We see our young people leaving. We need to keep them here at home,” he says.
Through incentives like low taxes for small businesses and training programs, he believes it can be done.
If elected, he’d also be supporting incentive programs for seniors, like the home accessibility tax credit, income splitting, and a home renovation tax credit.
“I’m going to do everything I can to advocate for a pension system that will allow these seniors to live with dignity,” he says.
Something else he’s passionate about is making sure the long gun registry is not brought back.
“The long gun registry has been a thorn in many rural citizen’s sides, and I don’t ever want to see it come back again,” Arnold says.
And while his affiliation with the wildlife federation might have some wondering his stance on oil pipelines, he’s sticking with the party on that one.
“One myth that may be out there is that I’m opposed to pipelines, and that’s certainly not the case. They can be done in an environmentally responsible way,” he says.
Having worked with provincial and national organizations, he knows what it’s like to manage a variety of priorities from a large membership — experience he believes will serve him well as an MP.
“It’s (about) how to identify the biggest priorities so you can potentially solve more than one issue at a time,” he says.
In the lead up to the Oct. 19 federal election, Arnold will be dividing his time between his Vernon and Salmon Arm offices, attending all candidate forums, and door knocking. Criticized early on for not committing to all local forums, he says he has since finalized his campaign schedule and will be attending as many forums as possible, while also making time to meet people on their doorsteps.
“The people of this riding are what really matter to me. The riding has been good to me, now I’m giving back,” Arnold says.
To learn more about him, or to get in touch, visit his website.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015