With half of the slate of candidates in the election from the independent spectrum, it was a test for Kootenay West to see if the riding was ready for such a voice.
A strong showing in all-candidates forums—including the one in Rossland last Wednesday—by independent candidate from Nakusp, Joseph Hughes, translated into fairly impressive numbers for a first-time, independent candidate.
Hughes took in 13.30 per cent of the vote (2,239 votes).
Prior to the results being announced, Hughes said he was looking forward to celebrating with his family regardless of the outcome.
“We may go camping shortly after the results and get re-grounded,” said Hughes.
“It’s been an incredible adventure for the family and we’ve met some great people. It’s been inspirational and a lot of work.”
An initiative by the other independent candidate Glen Byle of Trail, supporting the creation of a website to assist with “technology enabled democracy,” did not seem to resonate with voters.
Admittedly, the idea was something that Byle acknowledged in previous interviews that would take some time to not only explain but implement.
A hands-on person who fixes electronics for a living, Byle said the highlight of running was to meet people who really liked his platform, and believe, like he does, that it could improve the way the political system works.
“I was hoping to give people a chance to vote for something they wouldn’t have to compromise on; if people do that, I’ll be happy,” he said. “I hope to be able to make a party for the federal election.”
To read more about the system Byle was proposing, visit www.kowindependent.ca
In neighbouring ridings, incumbent NDP candidate Michelle Mungall of Nelson-Creston retained her seat garnering just over 50 per cent of the vote.
The Boundary-Similkameen stayed Liberal with Linda Larson topping the polls with over 46 per cent.
Liberal Bill Bennett easily took the Kootenay East riding with just over 63 per cent.
— With files from Marvin Beatty, Castlegar News