Kelowna News

Kelowna mayoralty race taking toll on former friends

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

KELOWNA - A former city councillor with over two decades of experience at city hall is fighting back against political attacks from former friends.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Andre Blanleil told today, Oct. 9. “I guess the strategy behind it is to slander me and to discredit me so my support for (Mayor) Colin (Basran) doesn’t matter.”

Blanleil, who did not run for re-election in 2014, seriously considered running this time around but decided in September not to, largely for business reasons.

He cited concerns about the rate of tax increases in the past four years and the slow pace of dealing with homeless issues downtown in a Kelowna Daily Courier interview

Blanleil always fought to keep taxes at or below the rate of inflation, but he recently endorsed Basran’s run for re-election. In a short video on Basran’s Facebook page, Blanleil defended the city’s higher than inflation tax increases. He said the new RCMP building was the major cause, noting that project was initiated when he was on council but impacted taxes for the current council.

That video triggered an Oct. 6 letter to the editor in the Kelowna Daily Courier from Cindy Cannan accusing Blanleil of flip-flopping and being over-the-hill – a letter that made Blanleil “extremely angry.” So angry, in fact, that he waited three days, until today, to respond out of concern he would say something inappropriate.

Part of his anger was over the fact that he considered Cindy and her husband, Ron, to be friends. Ron Cannan was a federal Conservative Member of Parliament for eight years. Before that, he sat next to Blanleil as a city councillor.

Now the Cannan’s are supporting Tom Dyas’ bid to unseat Basran as mayor.

“Ron is one of the key guys on Tom’s campaign team,” Blanleil said.

“I think it’s extremely sad,” he said. “I think one of the problems is, you’re watching all that’s going on down south and people think this is the way to go. It really bothers me. I don’t think it’s necessary. This is much different than a national political level.”

Blanleil said people are still going to have to live and get along with each other in 12 days when the municipal election is over.

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