Vernon appears to be moving toward the left on political spectrum | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon appears to be moving toward the left on political spectrum

For the second time in two years, Vernon residents have rejected conservative party politics and voted in favour of politicians that steer far more to the left.

While Mayor Victor Cumming has never publicly expressed affiliation with any political party, Scott Anderson was once the leader of the B.C. Conservative Party and clearly wears his conservatism on his sleeve.

Saturday's night win for the incumbent mayor would appear to be a rejection of Anderson's conservative viewpoint.

Coupled with Harwinder Sandhu's win in 2020 making her the first NDP provincial politician to represent Vernon in almost 40 years, the two victories could indicate a change in the political leaning of the city.

"I wouldn't use the term left. I would say it clearly indicates the citizens of Vernon want a progressive government that is going to lead them forward," councillor Kelly Fehr told "Vernon is not content with being stuck, they want to see advancement and moving forward."

Coun. Fehr picked up the highest number of votes of any councillor and while he doesn't describe himself as being on the left he says he's "certainly not right."

So has Vernon moved toward the left?

"Overtime things change in general and I think when Harwinder Sandhu was elected that was a very clear indication of a change in the public's perception and their priorities," Coun. Fehr said. "I think we have a council now that is going to rely on best practices and research as opposed to what the latest Facebook forums are saying."

Candidate Patrick Vance ran a "misfit" campaign and came in second to last, although still managed to get 1,250 votes.

"I don't see Victor (Cumming) as a leftist per se, although Scott (Anderson) is definitely right," Vance said. "(The idea) that Vernon is moving left is definitely valid."

Vance said if Anderson had run for a council seat he probably would have won, but people look at the seat for mayor differently. He thought Anderson may have been too "abrasive" as mayor for some voters.

"I fully understand why Vernon elected Victor, he does have a more humanitarian streak," he said.

Vance said the public's rejection of Anderson may come more from people not wanting local politicians aligned with provincial or federal political parties who then won't stray from their party's line.

Councillor Kari Gares won her seat and will now enter her second term on Vernon council. She says politically she sits in the centre.

"Local government isn't about political alliance and it shouldn't be about political alliance it should be about what is in the best interest of our community," Coun. Gares said.

"I just think people are not being pigeonholed into one particular ideal anymore," she said. "I have an amazing relationship with Harwinder (Sandu) I think we work amazingly well together. I may not necessarily see myself as an NDPer, but I definitely appreciate the work they've been doing and the work they've been doing for our community."

Dawn Tucker received 3,500 votes but was still short of winning a seat on council. She's disappointed at the low voter turnout which was at 24 per cent.

"This is not a right or left issue, it's a community issue. This is about getting people in our community engaged to what's going on municipally and making sure that their voices are heard all the time," Tucker said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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