Election kickoff features optimism, frustration - InfoNews

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Election kickoff features optimism, frustration

April 19, 2013 - 4:30 PM

The writ was dropped earlier this week and with that comes the sudden assault of candidate signs across the province, except in the Kamloops-South Thompson riding where one candidate has been left behind after a mix-up with the company that was to be providing his signs.

Peter Sharp faced an early setback but is confident it is still early and that he has enough time to get the signs out and canvass. He explains “just getting started has been a bit of a stressful thing, with the signs. I see other people with signs up and I am not happy mine are not up there too.”

Though he will not be able to get his signs out until the end of next week everything else is falling into place and he has already been out knocking on doors. Topics residents have wanted to talk about have varied from Ajax to highway improvements. Many topics in between are more of a city function than provincial, he says.

“There hasn't been any one overwhelming topic, though one of the topics that comes regularly, at least periodically, is the Ajax mine.”

Sharp has also heard a lot of talk about the budget and carbon tax, especially from business people and people in agricultural sectors where cost increases because of the carbon tax have become a factor. The Conservatives have vowed to get rid of the carbon tax if elected, Sharp notes.

Paying for things the B.C. Conservatives plan if they are to be elected as government will not result in much of a tax increase, if any, Sharp says.

“We'll spend smarter, find all kids of efficiencies, and we should be able to run the province without raising taxes by much, if at all,” he says.

In the NDP camp Tom Friedman says he and his team have “been out canvassing, knocking on doors for quite a while, but the dropping of the writ gave us all that much more energy for the final push – for the final 28 days.”

The experience has been very positive, he says, with a lot of people telling him, “we need a change and we need a government that focuses on the needs of Kamloops voters.”

Friedman says he could have predicted the main issues that people have been bringing up – healthcare, education and seniors. He says his party will offer practical solutions, and has been doing so since the platform started rolling out last week.

While many of the items the B.C. NDP have announced would come with a cost, an increase in provincial sales tax is not on the radar at all, Friedman says, “and unlike the Liberal party when we say something isn't on our radar, that means it's something we have no plans to do.”

Todd Stone, Liberal candidate for Kamloops-South Thompson, is glad the election is finally underway. The voter engagement has been very encouraging he says, noting “election fever is hitting.”

Kicking off the first full day of the election with Premier Christy Clark was a great way to start he said, noting it was the first major rally for both the Kamloops candidates and the Liberal Party as a whole.

While out knocking on doors, or answering calls, Stone has most consistently heard about jobs, healthcare and Ajax, and while the first two topics are fairly easy to address because most everyone wants to see more jobs and better healthcare, the Ajax topic has been a bit more delicate.

“I have kids – I get it,” Stone says of the environmental and health concerns opponents of the project have, “but we also have a lot of mining families” that would love to have jobs closer to home and to be able to spend more time together.

Stone has been most surprised by the feeling of discovering something new about Kamloops every day.

“I feel like I moved to Kamloops everyday, meeting new people, discovering businesses. My passion for Kamloops has gotten that much deeper.”

“People are either going to agree with me or not,” Stone says, noting he at least has been open with his beliefs and his party's platform.

To contact a reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca or call (250) 819-3723.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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