Okanagan Liberal MP not ready to be swept away by a wave of blue in 'two horse race' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan Liberal MP not ready to be swept away by a wave of blue in 'two horse race'

Liberal MP for Kelowna-Lake Country Stephen Fuhr
October 18, 2019 - 3:45 PM

If online polls were an accurate sign of what’s to come, Kelowna Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr could save what remains of his voice and give the final push toward election night a pass.

He’s currently trailing behind Conservative candidate Tracy Gray on a variety of tracking polls but said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that what he’s heard on doorsteps and while on the campaign trail augurs well for election night.

“These trackers, like 388Canada.com, had me losing all the way until I won last time — they are what they are,” said Fuhr, whose voice has gone hoarse in recent days from talking to constituents.

“What I am seeing in the community is lots of support and more recognition of what I was able to complete in the last four years. I am trying to give people something to vote for.”

He and his team of campaign supporters are in neighbourhoods speaking to people five days a week and he joins them often. On doorsteps, he’s heard a range of concerns and comments.

“The majority of the time it’s supportive,” he said. “Can things be better, sure? Supportive people will say we need to work on this and need to work on that. But when I hit a door that isn’t so supportive, the thing I appreciate is that people are happy with what I’ve done. They’ll say I won’t get their support because they don’t like the party, or the prime minister or something along those lines.”

When asked to explain further, Fuhr said he's heard a lot of familiar misinformation that he blames on Conservatives.

“The Conservatives have done a good job vilifying the Prime Minister over the last four years, and that’s exclusively what they’ve done,” Fuhr said.

The Prime Minister also pointed to this in a recent Globe and Mail interview.

In it, Trudeau said, "We know that the Conservative Party is running one of the dirtiest, nastiest campaigns based on disinformation that we've ever seen in this country.”

What both Trudeau and Fuhr are hoping, however, is that Canada’s "progressive" nature prevails. In this latter stage of the campaign, the NDP and Liberals have both been working to win over the hearts and minds of progressive voters.   The trouble for Fuhr may just be that they split that vote.

“I think the only reason I will lose this election is if the progressive vote gets split too much,” Fuhr said.

“If you look at the polls, the combo of the progressive vote in this riding splits the vote and leaves the Conservatives to win.”

Currently, 338canada.com forecasts the Tories to take 40 per cent of the popular vote, the Liberals in second place taking 34.1 per cent and the NDP at 12.4 per cent. The Greens sit in fourth position at 9.7 per cent.

That, he said, would hurt the community that he believes share his values.

“I care what the people voted for,” he said. “I want pharmacare and stronger action on climate change — and I am in a place to deliver.  This is a two horse race, that’s the only thing anybody knows for sure.”

And, while he’s chosen not to sling mud, he’s not above taking a shot at his main competition, highlighting a recent report from the Canadian Public Affairs Channel, which profiled Kelowna-Lake Country as a riding to watch. Its reporters managed to interview Fuhr, NDP candidate Justin Kulik and Green candidate Travis Ashley.

Missing from the profile was Gray, who CPAC said, “refused to make herself available.”

Gray also was absent from an all-candidate meeting and missed out on an earlier candidate discussion on climate change.

“I’ve been hearing this all over the place,” he said. “People miss all candidates, there are things we have to do and you miss them. But this has gone beyond that threshold — it’s something people should consider when they decide."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 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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