B.C. Election 2020: Can Toni Boot break through the Okanagan wall of B.C. Liberals? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. Election 2020: Can Toni Boot break through the Okanagan wall of B.C. Liberals?

The Penticton riding provincial candidates for MLA, clockwise from top left: NDP Toni Boot, Libertarian Keith MacIntyre, Green Party Ted Shumaker, Liberal Dan Ashton.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED
October 23, 2020 - 7:00 PM

It will remain a challenge for any party not named B.C. Liberals to take the Penticton riding.

The riding, which includes the City of Penticton, the District of Summerland, Naramata and Peachland, has only been around since 2008 but prior to that the riding was Penticton-Okanagan Valley from 2001 to 2008 and Okanagan-Penticton from 1991 to 2001.

But while the name and boundaries of the riding has changed, the result has been the same — Liberals have dominated since 1996.

The last time the New Democratic Party won the seat was in 1991 when Jim Beattie was elected.

Liberal Ricke Thorpe won the seat, then the Okanagan-Penticton riding, in 1996, serving a single term. Bill Barisoff won in 2001 and served three terms until 2013 when former Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton took the next two terms.

Unlike some other ridings with unknown candidates, the NDP candidate this time is Summerland Mayor Toni Boot. She's got plenty of support from her party and the NDP believes if they can break the Okanagan wall, this will be the riding. Whether she can garner enough votes to make up the spread from elections past remains to be seen.

DEMOGRAPHICS

The Penticton riding has 48,525 registered voters, with a median age of 49.5 years, compared to the provincial average of 41.9 years.

In the 2009 election, the Liberals took 44 per cent of the vote, with the NDP picking up 31 per cent and the Green Party 15.6 per cent.

In 2017, the results were similar, with the Liberals taking 53.5 per cent to NDPs 28.7 per cent and Green’s 18.4 per cent.

Voter turnout was 60.7 per cent in 2017.

ISSUES:

The top issues in the Penticton riding include affordable housing, climate change and property crime. 

Liberal candidate Dan Ashton calls the timing of the election is an issue, accusing NDP leader John Horgan of breaking his word to go to the polls early. Ashton also believes improving alternatives to Highway 97 should also be a riding issue, based on road closures north of Summerland due to rockslides and traffic collisions.

Candidate Toni Boot has mentioned healthcare as a priority for her NDP government. She claims "only the NDP have committed the ressources required to get our healthcare system on track." 

WHO TO VOTE FOR

DAN ASHTON

Served three terms as Penticton councillor, two terms as Penticton mayor, 10 terms on Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, four years trustee on the Municipal Finance Authority.

He currently serves as opposition’s agricultural tourism critic and is deputy chair of the special committee to review the personal information protection act.

Born in Edmonton but has lived in the Okanagan most of his life, Ashton is married to wife Monique and has two children.

TONI BOOT, NDP

Toni Boot is a Summerland native who launched a successful agri-business, taught agriculture in Okanagan College and created Grasslands Nursery. She’s currently serving her second term on the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board of directors and is Mayor of Summerland.

TED SHUMAKER, GREEN PARTY

The Penticton Green Party candidate says he is a first time politician who is eager to help his community and assist with issues facing British Columbians. He says his knowledge is “that of the average guy.” 

Shumaker has lived in the Okanagan for more than 30 years, and is an avid hiker, archer, and musician. He comes from a diverse background including healthcare, forestry and business.

KEITH MACINTYRE, LIBERTARIAN PARTY

Keith has been a Penticton resident for 10 years. He owns Big Bear Software and is president of Okanagan School of Arts.

MacIntyre joined the Libertarian Party after becoming disillusioned with partisan politics and says a vote for him would send a message to the Liberals and NDP that residents are disillusioned with both of them.

The Libertarian Party says it is "committed to providing British Columbians with more choice in the delivery of services, lower taxes and real freedom."

The provincial electoral riding of Penticton has long been a bastion of Liberal politics at the provincial level.
The provincial electoral riding of Penticton has long been a bastion of Liberal politics at the provincial level.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Elections BC

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