June 06, 2013 - 4:46 PM
WEST KELOWNA INTENDS TO ENSURE LOCAL ISSUES ARE HEARD
KELOWNA — WANTED: NDP Candidate for Westside-Kelowna for unique opportunity to get provincial exposure for Okanagan issues. Local residents preferred.
So far, no takers. Westside-Kelowna NDP riding association president Karen Abramsen said she is still getting over the shock of hearing that Premier Christy Clark is parachuting into her riding for a by-election. Ben Stewart agreed to give up his seat this week.
"We are planning to run a really good campaign," she said. "We are not intimidated by the fact that Christy Clark chose this riding… (but) who is going to run, we have no idea."
The departing Ben Stewart won the May 14 election in that riding by some 6,000 votes and close to 60 per cent support. But Abramsen agreed this is a great opportunity for a high profile local candidate—or candidates from nearby ridings like Dick Canning (Penticton) or Harry Lali (Merritt)—to make some local noise and make this a rough ride for the premier.
"My preference would be to not have someone come in from the outside but it has been done and here is Christy running outside of her area," she says. "I must say I am shocked at that myself, that she would run so far from home. I am kind of shocked, I know we are a safe seat… but that is the party choice there. And Mr. Stewart will get a nice little kickback for being the fall guy."
Meanwhile, West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater intends to make the most of it. While he praised Stewart's attention to local issues, he has no reason to think having a local premier will mean any loss.
"Overall, I think it's a positive opportunity to have the premier as our representative in the riding," he said. "It will be up to us locally at the District of West Kelowna to keep local issues on her plate as an MLA should she be elected but we are up to that challenge."
West Kelowna has a long list of issues that need attention, going all the way back to the creation of the municipality in 2006. But he points out that Stockwell Day parachuted into his riding as leader, then as a strong cabinet minister—and he was pleased with the representation.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013