Swing riding Conservative candidate confronts absentee criticism, takes politics to the people | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Swing riding Conservative candidate confronts absentee criticism, takes politics to the people

Tracy Gray
October 18, 2019 - 4:00 PM

If you believe in the latest polling data and rely on historical trends, Tracy Gray will be the next MP for Kelowna-Lake Country. But, the polls were wrong last time around and she's not taking anything for granted.

Closing in on the last few days before the election, she is still going door to door and speaking to people in person, trying to secure their vote.

“This campaign is grassroots and down to earth — I’m focused on residents,” she said, while on a break between houses.

Gray has been on a walking exploration of the riding for the better part of a year, which has not only made her more fit it’s given her a better idea of what people want to discuss.

“Door knocking is about going to where people are in place,” she said. “We can have great conversations, and they will express what’s going on in their lives. There have been lots of back and forth conversations and it’s a great way to connect with people.”

The issue she’s heard most about is that people are having affordability challenges. She said it’s to do with paying more in taxes as well as everything else.

Closer to the election, she’s hearing more about the political leanings of area residents, with minds being more turned to the issues at hand.

“I would say as we are getting closer to the election, people are more decisive,” she said. “When I started it was connecting and hearing what’s important and today I’m hearing how people voted.”

While she’s been working to connect with potential voters on a one-to-one basis, and collected testimonials that she posts daily to her campaign Facebook page she’s not been impervious to criticism.

She’s missed a couple of all-candidates meetings, took a pass at environmental protests where candidates made a showing, and, of late, was called out by the Canadian Public Affairs Channel. Its reporters profiled Kelowna-Lake Country as a riding to watch. They managed to interview MP Stephen Fuhr, NDP candidate Justin Kulik and Green candidate Travis Ashley.

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

The assertion that she "refused" is something she didn’t take lightly, saying that local media have had no issue making contact with her has needed.

“It was a scheduling conflict. We are always responding. We’ve done numerous videos, numerous interviews — it’s not a fair assessment,” she said. “ Even with all the written questions, we answer. It appears that maybe another campaign is trying to change the narrative from the Prime Minister and how they’ve governed for the last few years.”

Regardless, she said she’s not concerning herself with other people’s campaigns.

“I am out there trying to connect with as many people as possible, hoping to win their support and their trust and bring their concerns to Ottawa.”

The Kelowna Lake Country riding has had a long conservative history. MP Stephen Fuhr's 2015 win  ended a nearly 50 year streak of small-c conservative politics in the region.

 


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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