B.C. Election 2020: Kelowna-Lake Country has long been B.C. Liberal country | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions


Kelowna News

B.C. Election 2020: Kelowna-Lake Country has long been B.C. Liberal country

Clockwise from tope left are Kelowna-Lake Country candidates: Justin Kulik – B.C. NDP, Silverado Socrates – Independent, Norm Letnick – B.C. Liberal Party,, Kyle Geronazzo – Libertarian and John Janmaat – B.C. Green Party.
Image Credit: Submitted
October 23, 2020 - 7:30 PM

Unlike the other two Central Okanagan ridings, Kelowna-Lake Country did not have a seamless transition from Social Credit to Liberal.

That’s because, in 1991, when the riding was called Okanagan East, it was won by Judi Tyabji of the upstart B.C. Liberal Party led by Gordon Wilson.

Their extra-marital relationship with each other (they are now married) led to a leadership review that was won by Gordon Campbell. Tyabji sat as an independent for a time before joining Wilson in the Progressive Democratic Alliance.

In 1996, the riding was renamed Kelowna-Lake Country and won by B.C. Liberals John Weisbeck, then Al Horning.

In 2009, Norm Letnick took over the riding for the Liberals and has represented it ever since, winning with 59.8 per cent of the vote in 2017.

The riding is basically the northern part of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, including most of Kelowna north of Highways 97 and 33 along with Lake Country, with one key exception.

Downtown Kelowna from Highway 97 to Knox Mountain and Okanagan Lake to Glenmore/Spall roads is attached to the Kelowna West riding.


Since 2006 the Central Okanagan has seen population increases in most age categories, with youth and young adult population growth surpassing the provincial and national averages, according to Statistics Canada Census information from 2016.

That said, 21.4 per cent of the area's residents are over the age of 65. Provincially, the proportion is 18.3 per cent. Unsurprisingly, health care is one of the main economic drivers in the region, alongside education, construction, agriculture and tourism.

While the region remains popular with retirees, the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission said there's been above-average growth in the 25-34 age bracket "as young professionals and families are drawn to the region’s career opportunities and relative lifestyle affordability."

That may be even more the case today than it was when the report was penned, as in recent years the population has boomed and industries, like tech, have shown growing power.

This riding contains UBCO, which brings in a younger demographic. It also contains a sizeable chunk of Kelowna’s industrial lands but also major big box stores.

Kelowna-Lake Country
Kelowna-Lake Country
Image Credit: Submitted/Elections B.C.

Today's issues:

Growth is a key component of life in Kelowna with another 50,000 people expected to move to the city by 2040.

The city plans to put most of that growth in five urban town centres. For this riding, that includes parts of the Rutland and Centre City town centres. While Glenmore is not rated as a town centre in city plans, it has the potential in the future.

“There is not enough housing in our communities that is affordable for the people who live and work in them,” Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran has stated. “This situation is also causing economic fallout for businesses who are struggling to recruit and retain workers."

"We need all parties to commit to accelerating investments in housing, simplifying the funding application process, balancing renters’ needs with those of landlords, and ensuring a regulatory and fiscal climate that prioritizes the type of housing that we actually need.”

Basran is co-chair of a 13-city Mayor’s Urban Caucus that has called on the province to provide secure, long-term funding for municipalities to deal with social and infrastructure issues.

Do voters show up?

This riding had the lowest voter turnout in the Central Okanagan with 54.21 per cent voting in 2017, below the provincial average of 57.7 per cent

Who to vote for in Kelowna-Lake Country

Kyle Geronazzo - Libertarian

There is little on-line information on Kyle Geronazzo who is running for the Libertarian Party of B.C. The party’s web site says he was born in Kamloops in 1988 and later moved to Kelowna but there is no mention of where he works or what organizations he may belong to.

"I don’t have all the answers, and I’ll never say that I do. But I don’t believe that we can find the best answers with the one size fits all approach of our larger parties," he says on the party's web site.

John Janmaat - B.C. Green Party

He is an associate professor of economics at UBCO, serves as chair of the City of Kelowna’s Agricultural Advisory Committee and is one of the executives for the Okanagan chapter of the Alpine Club of Canada

"He is dedicated to the intersections between health and sustainability, and practices what he preaches commuting on his bicycle," the party web site states.

Justin Kulik - B.C. NDP

Kulik is a university student who grew up in the riding and made an impression as the youngest candidate in last year’s federal election. He’s now 19.Silverado Socrates - Independent

"He knows how important agriculture is to the local economy in the Okanagan, and he is passionate about food security and making sure people have access to affordable, healthy food," states the party's web site.

Norm Letnick - B.C. Liberal Party

Letnick served as the health critic in the last session in the Legislature and was Minister of Agriculture in the Liberal government before that.

He has held the riding since 2009. Before that he was a Kelowna city councillor and an associate professor in the business faculty at UBCO.

Silverado Socrates - Independent

She is no stranger to political campaigning, running in numerous elections over the years, including running for mayor of Kelowna in the 1990s and against Premier Christy Clark in Okanagan West.

She is in the University of Victoria’s Sports Hall of Fame as Brenda Shackleton, one of the top runners in the nation in the mid to late 1980’s. She once owned Mandy and Me horse stables and still works in the tourism industry.

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.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2020

  • Popular kamloops News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile