The BC Liberals announced a long list of candidates on Tuesday for the Oct. 24 provincial election, including two for the Southern Interior.
Appointed to represent the party were Renee Merrifield for Kelowna-Mission and Petra Veintimilla for Boundary-Similkameen.
BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson has accused the BC NDP of calling an “unnecessary” election because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“He is leaving British Columbians without a functioning government at a time when people needed leadership most,” Wilkinson said in a news release.
“Let’s be clear: John Horgan and the NDP’s decision to call this election, in the middle of a global pandemic, is nothing more than an irresponsible and cynical attempt to increase his own power.”
BC Liberals slam decision to call election
In announcing the snap election on Monday for Oct. 24, Horgan said “this pandemic will be with us for a year or more, and that’s why I believe we need to have an election now.
“We can either delay that decision and create uncertainty and instability over the next 12 months … or we can do what I believe is always the right thing and ask British Columbians what they think.”
The BC Liberals described Merrifield as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and community leader.
Veintimilla is town councillor in Oliver, B.C., and is a past president of the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce.
In the 2017 provincial election, when the BC NDP and BC Green Party combined to create a minority government, the BC Liberals swept all seven ridings in the Southern Interior.
The winners were:
- Boundary-Similkameen: Linda Larson, with 42.8 per cent of the vote.
- Kelowna-Lake Country: Norm Letnick, with 59.76 per cent of the vote.
- Kelowna-Mission: Steve Thomson, with 57.18 per cent of the vote.
- Kelowna West: Christy Clark, with 58.96 per cent of the vote. Note: Clark later resigned her seat, with Ben Stewart winning the by-election in 2018. over.
- Penticton: Dan Ashton, with 52.8 per cent of the vote.
- Shuswap: Greg Kyllo, with 55.8 per cent of the vote.
- Vernon-Monashee: Eric Foster, with 47.87 per cent of the vote.
Finishing second were:
- Boundary-Similkameen: Colleen Ross, NDP, with 32.73 per cent of the vote.
- Kelowna-Lake Country: Erik Olesen, NDP, with 20.89 per cent of the vote.
- Kelowna-Mission: Harwinder Kaur Sandhu, NDP, with 21.24 per cent of the vote.
- Kelowna West: Shelley Cook, NDP, with 25.25 per cent of the vote.
- Penticton: Tarik Sayeed, NDP, with 28.73 per cent of the vote.
- Shuswap: Sylvia Jean Lindgren, NDP, with 26.95 per cent of the vote.
- Vernon-Monashee: Barry Charles Dorval, with 29.36 per cent of the vote.
Strategizing for an election during a pandemic
For Kelowna-Mission, Thomson announced his retirement from politics in December.
The BC Liberals appointed Merrifield as his replacement.
Last year, Merrifield vied for the federal Conservative nomination for Kelowna-Lake Country, but lost to Tracy Gray. She did so, however as Renee Wasylyk.
It was the same for Boundary-Similkameen, where Larson announced she was stepping down from politics in 2019.
The BC Liberals appointed Veintimilla as her replacement.
The NDP and the Green Party have yet to announce candidates for the Okanagan and area.
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