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Election 2019: South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding is anyone's call

South Okanagan West Kootenay riding candidates
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September 13, 2019 - 11:00 AM

You'll find all of our election coverage for the South Okanagan West Kootenay riding in one post — this one. There will be stories, plenty of them. But we want you to have one space to come for background information and changes as they roll out. We also want you to tell us when you have questions you want to be answered. Leave them on this post and we will offer them to our candidates as the campaign rolls out.


The race for MP in the South Okanagan West Kootenay riding is anyone’s guess.

The riding has seen extensive boundary changes through the years, the most recent coming about in 2012, so the riding effectively only has the history of one election behind it. The riding's South Okanagan region has a history of right-wing candidates but also includes part of the West Kootenay which has formerly been a swing area that favours NDP candidates.

READ MORE: Election 2019: Voters Toolkit

READ MORE: Advanced polls well attended in this riding 

READ MORE: NDP leader makes a Penticton stop 

READ MORE: Polls say it's too close to call

READ MORE: Climate change on the mind of South Okanagan voters

READ MORE: Candidates weigh in on abortion 

In the 2015 election, NDP candidate Richard Cannings was elected.

What is interesting about the 2019 race is the number of female candidates in the running. Fully 75 per cent of the names on the ballot will be women running for office in the South Okanagan West Kootenay riding.


English speaking people make up the bulk of the riding at 106,145 of the total population of 114,700. Those of Indo-European language make up the next largest group at 10,815.

It’s not a rich riding - the median income is $58,212, which is ranked 268 out of Canada’s 338 ridings.

It’s not a young riding either, with the median age at 52.7, third highest in the province.

The South Okanagan West Kootenay riding covers a large area - 17,699 square kilometres - without being highly populous, with a density of just 6.5 people per square kilometre.


Conservative candidate Helena Konanz has been taking her candidacy seriously and has been actively on the election trail for a year now. She’s been through the riding several times and has a large presence on social media. The South Okanagan likes their right-wing candidates and Konanz is well known. She’s poised to give incumbent Richard Cannings a run for his money. Justin Trudeau visited the riding on B.C. Day in 2018 to Trudeaumania crowds. It will be interesting to see if that visit was enough to swing a few more votes Conne Denesiuk's way in this year's campaign.


Connie Denesiuk

Connie grew up in Penticton with roots in the riding serving on various boards and committees. She has served on the Okanagan Skaha School Board for almost two decades and has also served as Chair of the Board of Governors for Okanagan College. She recently completed a Master's degree in leadership studies through Royal Roads University.

Connie’s known for being a consensus builder and for bringing people together.

Richard Cannings

Before the incumbent finished his first term as MP, he was and still is a well known natural historian. He has worked to protect B.C.’s environment, spending a decade on the B.C. Environmental Appeal Board and eight years as co-chair on the committee on the status of endangered wildlife in Canada.

He’s written numerous books on the natural history of B.C. and was named B.C.’s biologist of the year in 1996.

Cannings was born in Penticton and has family in the Grand Forks area.

Helena Konanz

Helena is a former tennis pro who ran for Penticton City Council in 2011. She was a re-elected in 2014 and opted to seek the candidacy of the Conservative Party in 2018.

Tara Howse

Tara says she’s running to limit corporate influence in government. She says the Green Party appealed to her because it offers transparent and accountable governance.

Howse is a social science researcher with a criminal justice degree and a Master's on the issues of power and trust at the community level. She has a passion for the outdoors and introducing women to the sport of mountain biking.

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 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, 2019

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