Thomas Mulcair, leader of the federal NDP is coming to Kamloops on Tuesday, September 1. Good news for the local candidate Bill Sundhu. Sundhu will have additional local media coverage because of Mulcair’s visit, and will also share the national spotlight with Mulcair.
And good news for Kamloops too. It will mean the press corps which follows Mulcair will be in town as well. They’ll be looking for new angles on a long campaign. They’ll show Kamloops to the rest of the country on the evening news.
Mulcair, or any leader, coming to Kamloops, will need to find a local angle that resonates across the nation. He may choose to meet with local veterans, or speak about the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. Given that Kamloops is a major railway town, he could speak about railway safety. No doubt, the local campaign is giving Mulcair ideas of what the local issues are. Mulcair will be wanting to use Kamloops as a backdrop for announcements of the NDP platform.
Mulcair must think Bill Sundhu can win the local riding, because why else would he make the stop? Mulcair could make his announcements anywhere, but he’s coming to Kamloops to boost Sundhu’s campaign.
Since the start of the campaign, a number of pundits have predicted Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo is a riding that could change hands in the next election. Mulcair is proof that Sundhu is in the running to be elected.
What will be interesting to see is if any other federal leaders make it to Kamloops before the October 19 election as well.
My guess is that Prime Minister Harper may want to show up too. Cathy McLeod, the incumbent Conservative MP, had a strong showing in the last election, but she’s in a tight race.
The question McLeod will be asking herself is whether she is better to have Harper here or not. He will certainly be a draw for hardcore Conservatives. But for the undecided vote, Harper may be too much of a lightning rod. If Harper were to show up in Kamloops, my guess is that it would be for a by-invitation only event.
After a strong early start, there doesn’t seem to be as much happening with Steve Powrie and the local Liberal campaign. He would certainly benefit from having his leader, Justin Trudeau, come to town. But the federal Liberal party may not want to put so much effort into B.C. in general or Kamloops specifically. With only two MPs in B.C., the Liberals do not have a strong hold in this province. They likely want to concentrate their hopes on gains in Ontario and Quebec.
Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party of Canada, came to Kamloops in the last federal election. I doubt she will coming this time though. The Greens are gaining ground in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. I predict she will focus any efforts at the Coast in B.C. Too bad for Matt Greenwood, the local Green party candidate, as his campaign could definitely use some star power that May would bring.
Some ridings, like Perth, Ontario, have voted for one party since confederation. But Kamloops has been willing to elect candidates from pretty well every major political party. Kamloops voters are willing to look at all of the parties and find the one who is best for the current circumstances.
Mulcair’s coming to town because Kamloops voters are willing to change, to vote for different parties. Time will tell whether Harper, Trudeau or May show up too.
— Nancy Bepple is a recovering politician and local news junkie. She expects she will never recover from her love of the banjo.