Former Liberal senator encourages Kelowna-Lake Country voters to elect MP on government side | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Former Liberal senator encourages Kelowna-Lake Country voters to elect MP on government side

Kelowna-Lake Country federal candidates, clockwise from top left: Liberal Tim Krupa, Conservative Tracy Gray, NDP Cade Desjarlais, Green Imre Szeman and People's Party of Canada Brian Rogers.
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September 14, 2021 - 7:30 AM

Even though polls have Conservative Tracy Gray easily getting re-elected in Kelowna-Lake Country, retired Senator Ross Fitzpatrick believes upstart Liberal Tim Krupa has a shot at defeating her.

Fitzpatrick came out of retirement to serve as an advisor to Krupa after being impressed with his credentials and skills.

“Number one, he’s got the motivation and he’s working very hard at it, and he’s very qualified for it,” Fitzpatrick told “The Liberal Party and politics has been his life so he’ll put everything into it. I don’t think that the Conservative candidate has created a lot more support as a member of Parliament.”

That was as far as he would go in criticizing Gray.

“I think what she does and says speaks for herself,” he said.

Gray has antagonized the LGBTQ community in Kelowna after voting against a bill to criminalize conversion therapy and has been banned from Gay Pride events because of it.

READ MORE: MP Tracy Gray lashes out after being banned from Kelowna Pride events

Krupa has also attacked her for, initially, refusing to admit that she was vaccinated and for her stand on climate change.

READ MORE: iN VIDEO: After dodging the question, Kelowna-Lake Country candidate announces she is vaccinated

Canada 338, a national firm that tracks election polls, has Kelowna-Lake Country listed as a “likely” Conservative seat as opposed to a “safe” seat in the Kamloops and North Okanagan ridings.

Earlier it had listed the Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding as safe but that has changed to likely.

It also projects that the Liberals are ahead in 155 of the country’s 338 ridings, compared to 123 for the Conservatives.

In the last Parliament, the Liberals formed a minority government with 157 seats to the Conservatives' 121. A party needs 170 seats to form a majority.

“The way I look at it, the Liberals are probably going to form the government and to have a Member of Parliament here who is on the government side, even perhaps as a parliamentary secretary or to have some assignments, is a very positive thing,” Fitzpatrick said. “I don’t know if everybody is going to go through that kind of a thought process but he’s doing a good job of campaigning and hopefully that will resonate with people.”

Fitzpatrick served as a senator from 1998 to 2008 and is head of Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards at Greata Ranch. Krupa spent three years (2014-17) as a policy advisor in Justin Trudeau's office.

Voters can see all five candidates in action tomorrow evening, Sept. 14, in a Zoom debate sponsored by the Kelowna and Lake Country Chambers of Commerce.

The debate runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. but viewers have to register here to tune in.

The NDP’s Cade Desjarlais, Imre Szeman of the Green Party and Brian Rogers with the People’s Party of Canada are also contesting the riding.

A similar debate will be held for the Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding on Wednesday evening. Register here for the debate.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 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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