WEST KELOWNA - The NDP candidate for the Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding believes her experience in urban and rural communities make her the best candidate.
Angelique Wood, 45, grew up in Vancouver but moved to the small town of Hedley in 2006. In Vancouver she worked as an art dealer for First Nation and Inuit art and worked in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of B.C. Now she is a volunteer firefighter in Hedley and recently completed her air brakes certification so she can drive the fire trucks.
“Everyone has to pull their weight in a small community because there’s not that many of us,” she says.
Wood plans to take what she learned straddling both worlds and use her experience to represent the vast new riding that stretches from Logan Lake to south of Keremeos and includes a large portion of Kelowna.
“I have lived both in the urban centre and rurally,” she says. “I think most bureaucrats… come from cities and they don’t understand the challenges small communities face.”
She says with the challenges, however, comes a work ethic and ingenuity not found in the large cities.
“You see a lot of people figuring out the best way to do things. They’re not just using more money to patch things up. There are a lot of farmers here who have to make do with what they have in hand. I’ve had the fortune to meet these people.”
Wood says with a riding as large as hers, it’s impossible to generalize about the top issues on everyone’s minds but that healthcare, youth migration and the aging population will be key components of her campaign.
“It depends on where you are,” she says. “In Princeton and Keremeos, its doctor recruitment. In Logan Lake it’s that their emergency just closed. One of the other biggest problems I see is how to keep our young people in communities because right now our rural communities get drained with young people going to cities and cities are drained when young people go to other countries. We have to deepen our economy and not just look at resource exploitation.”
In 2011 Wood was elected Area G Director on the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Board. She has also served on boards for the Southern Interior Local Government Association, the Keremeos Recreation Commission and the Similkameen Valley Planning Society. She has been a board member for the Hedley Heritage Museum Society, the Princeton Traditional Music Society and the Hedley Community Club as well.
Her passions include gardening and wandering the woods looking for antique garbage left by miners in the last century.
“There’s all kinds of old garbage left over and I collect those tin cans and plant slow growing plants,” she says. “I own a little church across from my house and I put the cans on a table and if people like them they can put a donation through a small hole in the door. It’s more about the action of trusting people and letting them participate in something but it cleans up the woods and it’s an interesting social experiment when people decide for themselves what something is worth.”
That detached curiosity is also one of the reasons Wood feels like she’d be a good candidate for political office.
“I am personally in a place in my life that I don’t’ need this job (as MP),” she says. “Parties have pretty strong lines and there are whips for a reason but I have a very strong will and I am not interested in toeing party lines. I’m doing this because I care and I will say what I think is right.”
For more information about Angelique Wood, visit her website or Facebook page.
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