Conservative controversy inspires other Kelowna-Lake Country parties to run competitive nomination races | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Conservative controversy inspires other Kelowna-Lake Country parties to run competitive nomination races

FILE PHOTO - A woman casts her ballot in the riding of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, west of Montreal, on election day, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Graham Hughes
March 26, 2019 - 12:45 PM

KELOWNA - The old saying that no publicity is bad publicity is resonating with a number of political parties as they gear up for their nomination meetings in the federal riding of Kelowna-Lake Country.

“If we can have a bit of a roll-off, that would be good,” Gary Blidook, CEO of the Green Party Electoral District Association told “Anything we can do that will bring our public profile up is going to be helpful.”

He was commenting on the current controversy between Kelowna-Lake Country Conservative candidates Tracy Gray and Renee Wasylyk over a debate Wasylyk organized that Gray is refusing to attend because she says it may be illegal.

The Greens – who did not run a candidate in 2015 and instead threw their support behind Liberal Stephen Fuhr’s successful run – will definitely run someone this time, Blidook said. He has one strong contender and is working on getting a couple more people to put their names forward so there will be more of a race and a chance for a debate.

Kelowna-Lake Country NDP riding association president Maria Tokarchuk said two people who have filed nomination papers, but she won’t know if there will be a race until they are vetted. She’s trying to schedule a nomination meeting for near the end of April.

New to the riding this year is the People’s Party of Canada.

Riding association president Peter Neville said they have more than one person running for the nomination, which he expects will be decided by the end of April.

“Almost certainly, we will have a debate between the candidates,” Neville said. “Only party members are entitled to vote. Whether we restrict access to that debate, I don’t know yet.”

Neville was the president of the Conservative electoral association for this riding for two terms between 2007 and 2009 then quit being active in the party. He’s come back to politics because of his support for Maxime Bernier who narrowly lost the Conservative leadership race to Andrew Scheer before breaking away and forming the People’s Party.

“I felt that Maxime Bernier offers better policies and more consistency in presenting those policies,” Neville said.

As for whether the Greens will make another deal with the Liberals, Blidook doubts it, saying the party wants to run a candidate in every riding.

“You never know how underhanded people can be, but I’m not expecting any interference this time," he said.

Blidook said he didn’t vote for Fuhr in 2015 and is even less supportive now, “especially since he’s jumped ship on us on a couple of key issues." One of those issues was proportional representation.

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