The start of the formal federal election campaign began on Sept. 11. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power)

South Okanagan-West Kootenay candidates ready for federal election campaign

Here are the candidates running in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding

Parliament was dissolved on Wednesday morning triggering the start of the formal federal election campaign.

The election will take place on Monday, Oct. 21. There will also be advance voting days on Oct. 11 and 14.

Candidates running in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay (alphabetical order by last name):

Richard Cannings, NDP (incumbent)

A renowned natural historian, Cannings was elected in 2015 as Member of Parliament for South Okanagan — West Kootenay.

He served for over a decade on the B.C. Environmental Appeal Board and for eight years as co-chair on the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

READ MORE: NDP leader Singh says affordable housing high priority during stop in Penticton

Author of a dozen award-winning books on the natural history of British Columbia, Cannings was named B.C.’s Biologist of the Year by the Association of Professional Biologists in 1996. In 2008, he was named an Honorary Fellow at Okanagan College.

Until his election, Cannings served as a director on the board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada and worked with Bird Studies Canada, coordinating surveys on the status of Canada’s bird populations.

Cannings, who is also the NDP critic for natural resources, just finished his annual ride the riding tour, where he cycles 436 kilometres of rail trail and highway.

He said the NDP has a national cycling strategy that would provide policy and funding for cycling infrastructure in cities and rural areas, encouraging Canadians to get out and enjoy this beautiful country. More cycling — whether to work or for pleasure — makes for healthier citizens and a healthier environment.

Cannings has offices in Castlegar (1695A Columbia Ave.) and in Penticton (301 Main St.).

Connie Denesiuk, Liberal

Denesiuk said she is “thrilled to be back” representing the Liberal party after running in the 2015 federal election for the party.

READ MORE: Denesiuk announced as Liberal nominee

In the 2011 election, Liberals in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding only saw 6 per cent of the vote. In 2015, Denesiuk and the party received 28 per cent, a significant increase.

“The Liberal values are my values, and I believe they are Canadian values,” said Denesiuk.

Denesiuk, a longtime school trustee and chair of the board of governors of Okanagan College for two terms, spent the past few years working on a Master of Arts degree in Leadership at Royal Roads University.

Denesiuk was the president, vice-president, director, and Finance Chair of the B.C. School Trustees Association and served as the inaugural chair of Trail of the Okanagans Society. She is also the owner of a successful construction business for the past 38 years.

Having grown up in Penticton, Denesiuk has deep roots in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay region and said she has first-hand knowledge and experience of how to grow the economy and build a better future for families in our community.

Her campaign office is located at 376 Main St. in Penticton.

Tara Howse, Green Party

A Rosslander will represent the Green Party in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding in this fall’s federal election.

This is Howse’s first run at public office. She is a social scientist with a background in community economic development.

READ MORE: Greens choose Rosslander to represent them in next federal election

“Renewable energy investment and energy conservation programs really excite me because of the massive potential for localized job creation and economic development,” said Howse.

Howse is the former chair of the Rossland Sustainability Commission, where she has experience at listening to differing visions of development and progress for a community.

She said that, although she is new to the Green Party and is a first-time political candidate, her a strong focus on justice, transparency and equitable access aligns well with the founding principles of the Green movement.

If elected she wants to create a more transparent and responsive House of Commons, build an electoral system that ensures every vote counts equally, create good, local jobs, guarantee that money is never a barrier to quality health care and reduce economic inequality.

Helena Konanz, Conservative Party

A number of current and former politicians backed Konanz on a podium as she announced her drive for the nomination in June.

“I am extremely excited to be the Conservative candidate for this riding. During the next few months, I plan to meet with citizens across the South Okanagan-West Kootenay to better understand their needs and concerns, and bring my knowledge and experience from my time spent in municipal government and the private sector to serve all residents in this riding,” she said.

READ MORE: Konanz wins federal Conservative nomination

Konanz, who recently completed a master’s degree in political science, married her husband, Adam, 25 years ago and they opened their business Konanz Chiropractic, in Penticton. Promoting business throughout the region had been a focus of her time as a City of Penticton councillor. She was first elected to city council in 2011, and again in 2014.

During her time in office, she has also served on the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen and the Southern Interior Local Government Association.

Konanz opened an office in Penticton recently at 483 Main St.

Sean Taylor, People’s Party of Canada

Taylor said he got into politics with this party because PPC leader Maxime Bernier was the first politician saying things that resonated with him.

The politics newbie is an emergency room nurse with Interior Health and a reservist with the Calgary Highlanders infantry where he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 to 2010. There, he worked in psychological operations with a Canadian battle group based in Kandahar. He lives in Vernon but is moving to Penticton

“We rely on immigration to make the economic wheels in this country turn, right? I think we should be using it to our benefit and that’s what the policy is — immigration for the benefit of Canada. Not at the behest of UN mandates,” said Taylor of Bernier’s controversial immigration policy calling for a maximum of 150,000 immigrants per year, with 50 per cent being economic immigrants, or people who want to become Canadian residents based on their skill set.

His party wants to focus on “getting government out of the way of the economy and creating an environment where the economy thrives and putting more money in the pockets of the average Joe Canadians,” he said.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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