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B.C. ELECTION 2017: Kelowna-Lake Country Liberal incumbent Norm Letnick hopes his door knocking pays off

B.C. Liberal incumbent Norm Letnick hopes to win his third consecutive provincial election in the Kelowna-Lake Country riding.
May 07, 2017 - 1:00 PM

KELOWNA - When asked what his biggest weakness is, Norm Letnick lands on an answer he wants to give.

It's empathy, but that's not what initially came to mind, he says.

This question follows an emotional point in our interview in which the Liberal incumbent for the Kelowna-Lake Country riding described an event in December that’s stuck with him ever since. He says a woman thanked him for helping to save her friends life. The friend was suicidal at the time and according to Letnick, the woman attributed the resources in which Letnick and his Liberal government put in place for her recovery.

Recalling this moment moved Letnick to tears.

“My favorite part of my job is being able to help individuals, however sometimes that doesn’t happen and I’m not able to deliver - that’s the worst part,” Letnick says.

At almost 60 years old, the Montreal native is running for this third consecutive term in the riding. Spending a third of his life in Kelowna, Letnick says he has strong ties to the community.

“My family lives here,” he says. “My wife, Helene and my three children and grandchildren all live in Kelowna.”

Letnick moved to Kelowna almost twenty years ago from Banff for a business administration teaching position at Okanagan College.

This will be his twelfth election, he says, and according to the politician, door knocking has always been part of his success.

“I was a full-time door knocker,” he says. “Over the course of a few months I knocked on 6,000 doors.”

Letnick’s first election was to his college board of governors. He was nearly a Conservative candidate local, was a city councillor in Kelowna and Banff, Alta, then MLA for Kelowna and now Agricultural Minister

“I’ve been serving all my life,” Letnick says. “Serving in business, in family and in teaching - I’m either volunteering or serving.”

One of Letnick’s most notable achievements, and one of his most treasured, was being the president of the Banff Housing Corporation - a non-profit housing organization focussing on price restriction and equity share home ownership.

He says if he gets re-elected, he'd like to bring a similar program to Kelowna.

“We tried to bring this initiative to Kelowna a few years ago, but I don’t think council was ready for it,” Letnick says. “Now I think they’re ready.”

Since the birth of his one and a half-year-old granddaughter Luna, Letnick says his perspective has changed from planning for the next 20 years, to the next 40 or 50.

“I look at the long game even more now,” he says. “It reinforces my advocacy for a tight fiscal fit and keeps my focus on economy and jobs.”

A tenured business professor at Okanagan College, Letnick says he is lucky to be in the position of still having a full time position available for him if he is unsuccessful in the upcoming election.

“I’ve been serving all my life, whether it’s a political position or not, so I’ll keep serving,” he says. “I love teaching and I love young people, so it’s really a win-win situation, but of course at the end of the day I want to see more checks by my name.”


To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Hickman 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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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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