Andre Blanleil pondering another run at Kelowna city council; Who else? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Andre Blanleil pondering another run at Kelowna city council; Who else?

Andre Blanleil
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

Looking ahead to municipal elections this fall, one big name could return to the ballot, potentially forcing an incumbent out.

Andre Blanleil, who held a seat for 21 years, says he hasn't ruled another run.

“I’m not putting it out of the realm of possibility,” Blanleil told from his condo in Scottsdale, AZ. “I wouldn’t say I’ve made my mind up yet but I’m certainly thinking about it.”

The owner of the Andres Electronics chain, Blanleil served on council for 21 years from 1993 until he stepped down in 2011. His final decision will be based on how busy he will be with his work.

“I’m just frustrated with what’s happening,” he said. “I’m not frustrated with council, they’ve done a decent job. But I think we’ve got to do a better job of the street criminals and the street people and the dangers on our streets. That’s my biggest frustration.”

He’s had some break-ins at his businesses but, last month, someone punched the shield in front of one of his workers.

“The burglars are one thing, but it’s the abuse my staff has to take,” Blanleil said. “When we tracked him down he goes ‘I’m mentally ill.’ Well, it doesn’t give you the right to punch the screen and intimidate a woman who’s trying to do her job.

Blanleil won't have a problem with name recognition but anyone looking to win a seat in the Oct. 15 municipal election likely needs to be starting their campaign right about now.

“If someone wanted to make a run, they should be active in the community, at a minimum, starting now,” Coun. Luke Stack told

He, along with most other councillors, refused to say if he will run for re-election or not. Most say they likely won’t decide until the summer.

But, some names from the past are already surfacing, such as Blanleil and Ron Cannan, whose names are often bandied about as election time approaches.

Cannan was elected to council in 1996 and served for nine years before being elected as the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country until he was defeated in 2015.

His name often comes up as a contender but he did not respond to by publication time.

One name from the past who is definitely taking another run for council is UBCO engineering professor Gord Lovegrove, who finished ninth in the race for eight seats in 2018.

“I’m going to be running again,” he told “I’ll be out like a dirty shirt, shaking paws and kissing babies and whatever else I have to do to convince people to take a chance on me.”

While he isn’t criticizing the work the existing council has done, he wants to take a different approach to governing.

“It’s time to move beyond a popularity contest,” Lovegrove said. “I appreciate that there are many nice people on council. I’ve met them all. They’re all nice people. The other side of the coin is, there are some current issues that haven’t really changed much in the last few years since they were elected that I would like to see addressed from a more technical perspective, from being the first engineer on council, if I ever get on council.”

There needs to be more of a focus on climate change, he said, arguing this council has yet to formally acknowledge that they are in a climate crisis.

Regardless of how many “outsiders” choose to run, the history of Kelowna city council in the past few decades is that incumbents are always re-elected.

The only exception to that was in 2011 when a lobby group called successfully campaigned to throw out four incumbents, Charlie Hodge, Angela Reid-Nagy, Michele Rule and Kevin Craig.

Hodge is the only one to return to council, getting re-elected in 2014.

In 2018, seven of the eight incumbents ran for re-election and all were easily re-elected. Loyal Wooldrige was the only newcomer, filling the one vacant position and finishing eighth in the polls.

So, how do the incumbents stand in terms of running again? Most are undecided but none have yet to say no.

Here’s what they have to say, in alphabetic order:

She was first elected in 2011 and topped the polls in 2018.

DeHart was out of town when contacted her and only had time for a quick comment about being undecided.

He was elected in 2014, works full-time and has children in their busy teen years.

“We just haven’t had the family conversation yet,” he said. “It’s 50-50 right now.”

He’s commented before on the heavy workload endured by city councillors for low pay and, as his children are now in their teens, he’s drawn to spending more time with them.

During the pandemic there were fewer things like public appearances so he was down to putting in about 15 hours a week on council business versus the 25-30 hours previously. He can see the hours starting to ramp up again as pandemic restrictions ease.

Gail Given was first elected in 2011 and served as chair of the Regional District of Central Okanagan from 2014 until stepping down in November to spend more time with her family. She has a daughter living in Germany and had planned to visit last summer and tour the continent. She'll try again this summer.

“I’ve pretty much run, I don’t know how many terms, with almost never missing a meeting so, I can miss a meeting or two,” Given said. “But I never feel comfortable doing that when I’m in the lead role and I certainly could not leave the country in July during fire season as board chair.”

It had been rumoured that she was interested in running for mayor back in 2014 when Colin Basran was first elected to that position. Given denies she was ever serious about that, claiming she told one reporter: “I might consider it,” and has been trying to undo that ever since.

She said she certainly doesn’t want that job now.

“I don’t want to be that much the face of an organization,” Given said. “I’m simplifying my life.”

She probably won’t decide whether to run again until she gets back from Europe in August.

“I hope to come back invigorated and want to run an election campaign,” Given said.

After his comeback in 2014, Hodge has battled health issues and uses an oxygen tank. While his health is not great, he feels better than he did when he ran in 2018 and doesn’t consider health a factor.

What is more of an issue is whether he wants to keep banging his head against the wall trying to get senior levels of government to do their job in dealing with mental health issues that are putting so many people on Kelowna streets.

The pandemic has shown him that a city councillor’s job can be done mostly from home.

“My job is to take the information, listen to the people, analyze the issues and make decisions,” he said.

Still, a four-year term is a bit daunting, especially with council facing the burden of homelessness and other tough issues.

“Three years is one thing, four years is another,” Hodge said. “That extra year is a bit of a grind. I think it’s the way to go but it’s a year longer of being a punching bag.”

First elected in 2008, Stack is the longest serving sitting Kelowna city councillor.

“I haven’t decided,” he said. “I was going to hold off until summer but, I’m leaning to running again.”

Despite his longevity, he has no interest in becoming mayor.

“I don’t have plans to seek a mayor’s position.” Stack said. “I find the role I play as a councillor is a good fit for me. I really don’t have any aspirations to be mayor.”

First elected in 2011 she has no intention of stepping down. She's the only incumbent to clearly state her position on the election.

“I’m running for council,” she told “I’ve always been service oriented.”

Elected in 2014, Sieben has some of the same family concerns as Donn since his children are starting to move into their teenage years.

“I don’t know which way I’m going to go right now,” he said. “I’m very busy. I have a day job and kids that are growing and in different activities. I’ve got to make more of an assessment closer to the date.”

He had seriously considered not running in 2018 but was convinced to do so.

“I enjoy it,” Sieben said. “If I don’t run, I’ll certainly miss it.”

First elected in 2018, Wooldridge spent at least a year attending all city council meetings and putting in the work to get elected.

In November, 2021, he accepted the nomination to become the chair of the Regional District of Central Okanagan and won that election.

"Any re-election campaign decisions would be formally released in the future," Wooldridge said in an email.

Mayor Colin Basran did not return calls from When contacted earlier this year, when Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick was contemplating a run for mayor, Basran told that he was undecided.

READ MORE: Kelowna MLA Letnick denies reports of plans to switch seats with mayor

In Kamloops, the race for mayor has drawn three candidates so far. Sitting Mayor Ken Christian announced in February he’s not seeking re-election.

READ MORE: Kamloops business owner announces intention to run for mayor

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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