Federal Election 2021: Odds in favour of new Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Conservative candidate | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Federal Election 2021: Odds in favour of new Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Conservative candidate

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo 2021 federal election candidates. Pictured clockwise from top-left is NDP Bill Sundhu, Conservative Frank Caputo, Green Iain Currie, independent Bob O'Brien, Liberal Jesse McCormick and PPC Corally Delwo. Independent Wayne Allan is not pictured above.
Image Credit: Various
September 06, 2021 - 6:00 PM

This is one riding where we know we'll get a new MP, but the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding is unlikely to sway from its history as a Conservative stronghold.

Cathy McLeod has represented the region in parliament since 2008 and most recently won with nearly 45% of the vote in 2019. She chose not to run in this election. Despite being replaced by a new face in the local riding, polls still give her party strong chances of garnering nearly half of the votes in the riding.

“Basically, from Kelowna to Winnipeg, you’re pretty safe Conservative country," Hamish Telford, associate professor of political scientist at University of the Fraser Valley, said to iNFOnews.ca.

The new candidate taking McLeod's place, former Crown prosecutor and TRU instructor Frank Caputo, is focused on smaller government and lowering taxes, according to the bio on his website.

Telford, however, remarked that national conversations and perceptions of leaders tend to have the most sway on federal election results in Canada.

“Federal campaigns, for a long time now, have been dominated by the national campaign, the national narrative, what people are seeing on their televisions or, increasingly, what they are seeing on social media and their perceptions of the leaders," Telford said. "There are three variables here, the party, the leader and the local candidate and, I think, most people agree, the local candidate is usually the least significant.”

Running against Caputo for the New Democratic Party is another lawyer, Bill Sundhu. His career in law has been focused on human rights and he is returning to run in the riding for a second time after a hiatus.

READ MORE: Kamloops federal candidates invited to climate change debate

In the 2015 election, Sundhu took second with 30.8% of the vote, but he was replaced with Cynthia Egli in 2019.

Jesse McCormick has been selected to run for the Liberal Party in this election after the previous candidate backed out shortly after his acclamation.

Corally Delwo, who formerly ran for a spot on Kamloops city council, is the People's Party of Canada candidate. Lawyer Iain Currie is returning to run for the Green Party.

There are also two independent candidates: Wayne Allan and Bob O'Brien.

In their first public debate on Sept. 8, all candidates have been invited to answer questions and assert their stance on climate change policies. The public is invited to watch virtually.

Are you in this riding?

Kamloops is the riding's most populated centre, but also includes other communities like Clearwater, 100 Mile House, Clinton, Sun Peaks, Skeetchestn Indian Band and Tk'emlups te Secwepemc.

It covers a total area of 38,320 square-kilometres in the Interior and is bordered by six other riding districts.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo begins its border south of Kamloops but stops short of Logan Lake, while it includes Savona, Monte Lake and Pritchard to the east and west of Kamloops. Clearwater and rural areas further to the north are included in the riding. The borders also extend west to 100 Mile House and Clinton.

Map of the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding
Map of the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding
Image Credit: Elections Canada

Who are you?

Canada's last census counted around 124,000 people living in the riding in 2016 with around 90,000 of those living in Kamloops.

Elections Canada estimates there to be 105,542 eligible voters in the riding according to preliminary data.

The vast majority of people in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding are of European descent at 79.5 per cent. The next largest ethnic group is Indigenous, making up just over a tenth of the population.

The four largest industries in the region include health care, retail, construction and food services with roughly 49,000 people employed in Kamloops, according to data from Venture Kamloops

The average age in the region is 43, with 20 per cent of the population over the age of 65, according to 2016 census data. At that time, the average household income was $85,000 per year.

READ MORE: Where the federal leaders stand on the toxic drug crisis

Riding History

The region has been held by the Conservatives since the 2000 election when New Democrat MP Nelson Riis was defeated by Betty Hinton.

In 2004, the riding changed borders slightly and lost the community of Valemount. It was renamed from Kamloops, Thompson and Highland Valleys.

After holding the riding for two more elections, Hinton was replaced by Conservative Party MP Cathy McLeod in 2008. McLeod was re-elected three times in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo and announced her retirement from federal politics in February 2021.

While representing the local area in parliament, she also sat as parliamentary secretary for three different ministries throughout her career.

Prior to becoming yet another B.C. Interior Conservative stronghold, the riding was held by the New Democratic Party from 1980 to 2000 when Nelson Riis sat as the local MP. The notable issues of the day included the North American Free Trade Agreement and Riis was known to have gone to bat for local workers in the forestry industry when the international agreement threatened to cut jobs.

Hinton became the first woman to represent the riding when she was elected in 2000 with the Canadian Alliance Party.

2019 Election Results

Incumbent Cathy McLeod held the seat under the Conservative Party banner with 44.7 per cent, followed by Terry Lake with the Liberals at 27.2 per cent. New Democrat Cynthia Egli garnered 13.7 per cent and 12.7 per cent went to Iain Currie with the Green Party.

The remain votes were split between People's Party, Communist Party and Animal Protection Party candidates. 

Likely outcome

338 Canada does regular elections predictions and deems Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo a safe Conservative riding.

As of Sept. 2, it estimates the Conservative Party would garner 45 per cent of the vote, with over 99 per cent certainty the Conservatives will take the seat.

It also project the Conservatives to win a minority government with 143 seats in parliament and the Liberals would take 131 seats, as of Sept. 1. However, there is a wide margin of error on federal predictions and it's still early in the electoral race.

READ MORE: Campaign heats up between Conservative and Liberal candidates in Kelowna-Lake Country


Conservative Party of Canada - Frank Caputo

Frank Caputo has been a Crown prosecutor for nine years and has been an instructor at Thompson Rivers University.

"Residents of our riding have voiced their concerns about street crime, a lack of government transparency and wasteful spending. I will tackle these issues to secure our riding’s prosperity," Caputo's website bio reads.

This election is his first foray into federal politics, but he has been a "life long" resident of the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding.

Liberal Part of Canada - Jesse McCormick

Jesse McCormick has worked in Ottawa at the Federal Court of Canada and in parliament in staff positions. In the last election he came in second as Liberal candidate at the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex riding. He lost the 2019 federal election seat to a Conservative candidate.

"We need a thriving economy while ensuring that we leave a positive legacy of environmental protection and climate action for future generations,' McCormick's website bio reads. "He is devoted to building a better Canada - one that is inclusive, fair, and responsive to the needs of the most vulnerable. A Canada that embraces change and fosters strong relationships with Indigenous Peoples."

He is an Anishinaabe man, originally from Ontario, and is "extremely dedicated" to advancing reconciliation.

McCormick replaced the newly acclaimed Liberal candidate Greg Petel, who announced on Aug. 11 that he had stepped down from the position.

New Democratic Party - Bill Sundhu

Human rights lawyer Bill Sundhu is returning to the candidate list after running as a New Democrat in the 2015 election for the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding. His legal experience includes serving as counsel to the International Criminal Court and an appointment to the Law Society of B.C. Tribunal.

Sundhu has lived in Kamloops for 25 years and plans to focus on economic inequalities.

He lost the 2015 election to incumbent MP Cathy McLeod.

Green Party of Canada - Iain Currie

Iain Currie is the third lawyer in the list of candidates for the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding. He spent 18 years as a Crown prosecutor in Kamloops. 

"Now in private practice, Iain has heard the call to join the Green wave of Canadians standing up to demand immediate concrete action to combat the climate emergency," his website bio states.

He is focused on federal climate change policies in his second attempt seeking election in this riding Currie is returning after a fourth place finish in 2019 when he garnered 12 per cent of the votes.

People's Party of Canada - Corally Delwo

Corally Delwo is originally from Alberta but moved to Kamloops in 2009. New to federal politics, she is seeking the riding seat after losing a bid for Kamloops city council in 2018.

When I read the PPC platform I know that this is going to be the answer to securing a prosperous future for generations to come," her website bio reads. "I have faith in the platform and honestly believe if we roll up our sleeves and buckle down, we can turn the economy around, create jobs, invite new investments, have proper immigration standards, and preserve our freedoms all while protecting and supporting what all Canadians need."

The People's Party platform includes efforts to balance the federal budget, protect freedom of expression and denial of human-caused climate change.

According to her website bio, her family comes from an oil and gas background. She also studied at Thompson Rivers University, started a business and has helped her husband run his own business.

Independent - Bob O'Brien

Bob O'Brien's top priority is climate change policies and he is especially concerned with wildfires in B.C.

According to his website bio, wildfire prevention should be a "number one priority" for this riding, which includes forest maintenance and using Canadian military forces to aid in firefighting efforts.

O'Brien is a project manager and contractor who also proposes strategies to bring more affordable housing to the region.

As an independent, he states that it can be an advantage to not have party affiliations "holding (him) back."

Independent - Wayne Allan

There is little information available on Wayne Allan and his election bid for this riding.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 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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