Election 2019: The North Okanagan-Shuswap riding has a conservative history, but will it change? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Election 2019: The North Okanagan-Shuswap riding has a conservative history, but will it change?

Image Credit: SUBMITTED
September 13, 2019 - 11:00 AM

You'll find all of our election coverage for this 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 political website 338Canada.com puts the odds of the Tories winning the North Okanagan–Shuswap seat at this year's federal election at 99 per cent.

Their prediction may sound a little too confident but based on the history of the riding it's not hard to see why they came to this conclusion.

Created in 1987 from the Kamloops-Shuswap and Okanagan North ridings, several tweaks and name changes have taken place over the years, but the one thing that has remained is the riding's devotion to conservative politics in one form or another.

The riding stretches from the southern border of Vernon, north to Salmon Arm and beyond where Shuswap Lake turns into the Seymour River, west to the Village of Chase and east to Upper Arrow Lake.

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At 16,734 square kilometres, the riding covers the municipalities of Armstrong, Chase, Cherryville, Coldstream, Enderby, Falkland, Lumby, Malakwa, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Spallumcheen, Vernon and the five First Nation communities of Adams Lake, Little Shuswap Lake, Neskonlith, Okanagan and Splatsin.

Image Credit: Elections canada

The riding has a conservative government for the last 26 years, whether in the form of the Reform, Alliance or the Conservative parties.

Step back a decade or so earlier and the pattern remains the same, as the Progressive Conservative Party dominated the 1980s winning three elections throughout the eighties in the Okanagan North riding.

However, it's worth remembering the riding hasn't always been right-leaning and the NDP dominated the Kamloops - Shuswap riding throughout the 1980s, winning three general elections. The New Democrats last won the Okanagan- Shuswap (which represented Columbia-Shuswap Regional District, the City of Salmon Arm and Regional District North Okanagan) in 1988 but were defeated in the following general election in 1993 by the Reform Party.

Since 2004 the race has largely been between the Conservatives and the NDP, although the Tory's have taken the riding each time with around twice the amounts of votes than the second-place NDP.

Things changed in 2015 and the Liberal's came in second place to the Conservatives. Although the Liberals lost the seat they did so with a smaller margin than the NDP had managed in many years.

Incumbent Conservative candidate Mel Arnold won the riding in the 2015 general election taking 39.3 per cent of the vote with 27,490 votes over Liberal Candidate Cindy Derkaz who took 29.9 per cent with 20,949.

Although looking back over the last 40-years paints a predominately blue picture, Mel Arnold's 2015 victory netted him just shy of 40 per cent of the vote, the lowest Tory win in over 20 years.

Conservative MP Mel Arnold

Mel Arnold
Mel Arnold
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Salmon Arm businessman Mel Arnold took the North-Okanagan Shuswap seat in 2015 for the Conservatives after the former Tory MP Colin Mayes retired from politics. Arnold has served as the Deputy Critic for Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard and been outspoken about aquatic invasive species invading the region's lakes. Arnold is also the former president of the B.C. Wildlife Federation.

Website - Facebook - Twitter

Liberal candidate Cindy Derkaz

Cindy Derkaz is the North Okanagan Shuswap's Liberal candidate in the upcoming federal election.
Cindy Derkaz is the North Okanagan Shuswap's Liberal candidate in the upcoming federal election.

The daughter of the owners of the Derkaz Shoes, who once had stores in Vernon and Salmon Arm, Liberal candidate Cindy Derkaz ran for the Liberal's in 2015, coming in second place. Not disheartened, the lawyer is having a second shot at it. Derkaz spent over a decade as the president of the Shuswap Community Foundation and has served on three appeal tribunals board including a term as vice-chair of the Environmental Appeal Board of B.C.

Website - Facebook - Twitter

NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu

Harwinder Sandhu
Harwinder Sandhu
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Harwinder Sandhu

Registered nurse Harwinder Sandhu is running for the NDP. Sandu ran for the provincial NDP seat Kelowna-Mission in 2017 coming second to Liberal Steve Thomson. It wasn't a close race though, with Thomson taking 58 per cent of the vote, compared to Sandhu's 21 per cent.

Website - Facebook

Green Party candidate Marc Reinarz

Marc Reinarz
Marc Reinarz
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Born in Luxembourg and spending some of his childhood in Belgium it's perhaps understandable that Reinarz speaks four languages. He moved to Canada in 1974 studied electronics in Calgary and had a career as a business manager for Philips Electronics that took him all around the world. He now lives on an acreage in Spallumcheen.

Website - Facebook - Twitter

People's Party of Canada candidate Kyle Delfing

Kyle Delfing
Kyle Delfing
Image Credit: Kyle Delfing

Businessman and owner of Hugo's Moving, Kyle Delfing is running as the candidate for the newly formed People's Party. Originally from Manitoba Delfing moved to Vernon in 2013 and describes himself as "from humbled roots." Looking at his Twitter feed, Delfing states he believes climate change is real but is highly critical at the other parties policies on what to do about it.

Website - Facebook - Twitter

Correction: This story was updated 5:05 p.m. Friday Sept. 5. An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Kyle Delfing was 32-years-old, moved to Vernon in 2002, and believed climate change was a hoax. Delfing moved to Vernon in 2013 and confirmed he does believe climate change is real. Delfing did not confirm his age.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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.

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