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Three anti-vaxxers eyeing seat on Kelowna city council

Former Kelowna city councillor and Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan has picked up nomination papers for a possible run for city council.

Three people with known anti-COVID vaccine mandate attitudes have picked up nomination papers to possibly run for Kelowna city council.

One is former councillor and Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannon who, last fall, wrote an opinion article saying Canadian doctors who did not agree with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s views on COVID-19 and vaccines, were being muzzled.

In that article, Cannon extensively cited Dr. Steve Pelech, a founding member of the anti-vaccine Canadian Covid Care Alliance that, among other things, says children should not be vaccinated and invermectin (mostly used in animals) is an effective treatment for COVID.

“Seems like this vaccine mandate has more to do with politics than science,” Cannon wrote.

Two other men who are facing criminal charges for their anti-vaccine activities also picked up nomination papers on Friday as well. That was the first day the papers were available.

Bruce Orydzuk, who gained notoriety for racist remarks aimed at a security guard outside a Kelowna vaccination clinic, was one of them. He was charged, on March 3 of this year, for a separate incident for uttering threats to cause bodily harm against a Global Okanagan reporter. He was also charged April 7 for causing a disturbance.

READ MORE: Kelowna man charged with threatening local TV reporter

The other known anti-vaxxer to pick up nomination papers was David Lindsay, who was a key organizer of Saturday anti-COVID restriction rallies in Kelowna. He was charged in December 2021 with two counts of assault in incidents alleged to have taken place in Kelowna on Aug. 19.

READ MORE: Kelowna anti-COVID-19 protester charged with assault

Six other people picked up nomination papers for city council, including incumbent Loyal Wooldridge, and ninth-placer finisher in the 2018 election, Gord Lovegrove. The others are Heather Friesen, Brian Rogers, Greg Dahms and Anthony Shephard.

Two people picked up nomination papers for mayor.

One was Glendon Smedley who finished seventh out of eight candidates who ran for mayor in 2014. He got 66 (0.24%) of the votes. David Habib also picked up papers for mayor. He’s involved with Liquid Zoo nightclub.

Colin Basran won the mayor’s seat that year and was re-elected in 2018. He has yet to say if he’s running for re-election this year and, as of Friday, did not pick up nomination papers.

Tom Dyas is the only declared candidate for mayor but had not picked up papers as of Friday. He finished second in 2018.

READ MORE: Tom Dyas wants to fill the cracks in Kelowna’s boom by becoming its next mayor

Third place finisher that year, Bobby Kennedy, was disqualified by Elections B.C. from running in this year’s election for failing to file a supplementary report on his financial disclosure statement within proper time line.

In the original statement, Kennedy said he donated $13,902.81 to his own campaign, out of total contributions of $14,502. At that time, he was only allowed to contribute $2,400 to his own campaign.

Just because the possible candidates picked up nomination papers doesn’t mean they will actually decide to run. In order to formally enter the race they have to file their papers between Aug. 30 and 4 p.m. on Sept. 9.

In order to run for election, candidates must be Canadian citizens, be at least 18 years old on election day, have lived in British Columbia for at least six months before the nomination date and not be disqualified from being nominated, elected or holding office.

Having criminal charges or convictions doesn't disqualify people from running but that is likely changing. The province has proposed changes that could allow local governments to put people charged with crimes on leave or disqualify them from office.

READ MORE: What to do with local politicians who commit crimes

There are eight council positions up for grabs.

The list of those who have picked up nomination papers is updated between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day and posted online, here, if candidates agree.

One person picked up nomination papers for the four school trustee seats in Kelowna but is only identified as Anonymous.

Municipal voting day in B.C. is Oct. 15.

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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