Look Sharp, Be Sharp, Vote Sharp. The catchy three-point slogan came about during Peter Sharp's run for a city council seat in 1999 as a way to remind voters to vote for him on a list of 36 candidates and has since been simplified to “let's stay sharp.”
The B.C. Conservatives Kamloops-South Thompson candidate began his foray in to politics through the prompting of friends, family and colleagues nearly 15 years ago. The Englishman was intrigued by the idea at first but it did not take him long to get hooked.
Straight out of high school Sharp enrolled with the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves and after quickly rising in the ranks made the decision to join the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The job took him around the country but 19 of his 30 years with the force were spent in B.C.
When he moved to Kamloops he was close to retirement and spent a lot of time doing foot patrols and administration-type jobs such as crime statistic verifications and criminal record checks. It was during the foot patrols that people started telling Sharp he should run for council.
He retired in June of 1999 and decided he would take a long-awaited vacation with his wife Dyanne before making a decision. While on vacation he did not give the municipal election much thought, rather he enjoyed his time away, bought a new set of bagpipes, “you know, the usual stuff, “Sharp says.
That September he announced his intentions and was elected on his first try, and later his second. His third run for a council seat was not quite as successful. Sharp speculates putting his name behind one of the mayoral candidates - a neighbour that did not even come close to winning the chair – lost him some votes, votes that could have bumped him higher than his ninth place finish on the polls.
Sharp also took the time to go on another much-needed vacation with his family before deciding to put his name in for the Conservative nomination. He notes other people, good people, were in consideration for the nomination – and his wife was unsure about having him re-entering politics and took some convincing.
Sharp does not think putting his name behind B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins will have the same outcome as it did in the 2005 Kamloops civic election. He says he believes his party stands “a good chance to conceivably form government.”
He looks to what the other leaders have been doing, the reputations they have earned and believes both parties have squandered their chance and people are looking for a change.
“They've got their share of problems,” he says of both parties, “and it all adds up to a need for change. We are the alternative, we can balance the budget and pay down debt.”
Locally Sharp wants to help improve the Kamloops economy and wants to see more investment in the city to help create jobs. He would love to see manufacturing come to Kamloops and believes the land and employment rates would be a good match for a company looking to set up.
“If we could create employment we would have a community that is looking up instead of sideways,” Sharps says.
He also wants to see the efficiencies at Royal Inland Hospital looked at. He explains the system seems to be top heavy with management and administration and would like to see more front line staff.
Sharp believes the party wanting to back health, education and social services across the province by maintaining and increasing financing also plays a big part of what he wants to see in Kamloops.
He realizes his party is “the new kid on the block” when it comes to provincial politics, but believes both he and his party stand a good chance of making a difference in the government and is not concerned that voters will not take his party seriously because they do not have the scandal-ridden history the Liberal and NDP parties have in B.C.
“I don't have that concern, we don't have baggage (and) we can do the job. We are the alternative.”
Your other Kamloops-South Thompson candidates:
Tom Friedman, NDP
Todd Stone, Liberal
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