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Election 2019: Dead heat between NDP and Conservatives in South Okanagan West Kootenay

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Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
October 16, 2019 - 4:00 PM

It’s promising to be an interesting race to the finish line in the riding of South Okanagan West Kootenay.

It appears the two leading candidates have had a reversal of fortunes from previous pre-election predictions.

According to the latest projections by 338 Canada.com, taken Oct. 15, the NDP’s odds of winning the South Okanagan West Kootenay riding are sitting at 67 per cent with the Conservative Party at 33 per cent.

That’s almost a complete reversal from pre-campaign predictions that saw the Conservatives with a 65 per cent probability compared to the NDP’s 34 per cent chance of winning.

The latest projections of the popular vote taken by 338 Canada.com call it a toss-up between the NDP’s incumbent MP Richard Cannings and Conservative party candidate Helena Konanz.

The NDP currently has 32.7 per cent of the popular vote in the 338 Canada.com projections, compared to 30 per cent for the Conservatives.

Liberal candidate Connie Denesiuk is sitting at 20.1 per cent and Green Party candidate Tara Howse has 13.6 per cent.

People’s Party of Canada’s Sean Taylor has 2.8 per cent of the popular vote.

INFOnews.ca asked the candidates the following question this week to help if you're still on the fence:

“Do you believe further decriminalization of illicit substances would help reduce the number of overdose deaths or reduce the crime related to the drug trade?”

Green Party candidate Tara Howse replied:

"Yes, however, the two items (overdose deaths and drug crime) are different measurements and would require separate approaches. It is also important to recognize that simply decriminalizing is ineffective without appropriate supports. We must invest in the associated social services to properly address the issue.

The UN views drug addiction as a mental health issue and by treating it as such the number of overdose deaths can be prevented. Specifically related to the opioid crisis, overdose deaths are actually poisonings due to contamination in fentanyl and it has already lowered the average lifespan of Canadians. Allowing access in a safe, clean, and medically supported environment can assist in reducing the number of deaths. Insite, a heavily researched harm reduction facility in the Downtown Eastside, notes that despite 6,440 overdoses, they have never had a death.

Crime rates have been correlated with reduced crime but creating the ultimate causal link remains elusive because too many factors exist. There are observations that harm reduction techniques cut down on assaults, vandalism, and theft. Significantly easier to study are the health and associated costs with harm reduction sites, for example, Insite has been assessed at reducing HIV infections and having significant healthcare savings (preventing 83 cases and $17.6 million, annually)."

Conservative Party candidate Helena Konanz replied:

 "We need to work toward building a system of care where everyone who struggles with addiction is offered treatment and a pathway to recovery."

We did not receive a response from Liberal candidate Connie Denesiuk, People's Party candidate Sean Taylor or NDP candidate Richard Cannings on this week's question.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to tips@infonews.ca 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, 2019

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