Riding re-distribution in these areas that are – for the most part – Conservative strongholds, saw some close races this election.
Kootenay – Columbia
Conservative David Wilks has won for a second term.
This one was a tight race, with the NDP only trailing behind by two points in the final day.
Covering the southeastern corner of the province, this was another riding to watch for 2015. Changes to its boundaries included the additions of Nelson, Kalso and Salmo, while Nakusp and Needles were excluded.
This district has been Conservative, Reform of Alliance for nearly thirty years and solidly focused on resource development and employment.
Wilks was an RCMP officer for 20 years before retiring in 2000 and becoming a small family-run business owner with Sparwood Bowl and Billiards. In 2005 he successfully for mayor of Sparwood, and held that position until 2011 when he won his Conservative seat.
His priorities are the economy, low taxes, tough on crime legislation, military funding, and healthcare. In an interview with the Nelson Daily, he also stated that infrastructure is an important local issue.
“Municipal and regional infrastructure. Roads, sewer and water systems are critical for towns and upgrades are continual. As federal funding becomes available municipalities must be able have access to the funds.”
North Okanagan – Shuswap
A new MP for this riding, but still a right-wing stronghold with Mel Arnold winning the seat by a healthy lead.
This riding has voted right-ring for nearly 40 years, so it’s not surprise here that the Conservatives swept up tidily in this election, despite the retirement of former MP Colin Mayes.
New MP Arnold lives in Salmon Arm and campaigned on lower taxes, tough on crime laws and the economy. In the past he has served as President of the BC Wildlife Federation, and served on the Provincial Sepcies at Risk Task Force. He owns and operates a marine and RV business.
South Okanagan – West Kootenay
NDP candidate Dick Cannings has won by a healthy lead in South Okangan-West Kootenay.
The new riding is made up mostly of the old riding of B.C. Southern Interior, Okanagan-Coquihalla and a small section of Kootenay-Columbia, and the only NDP held ridings in Interior B.C. since 2011.
Along with the redistribution, the retirement of NDP MP Alex Atamanenko made it a riding up for grabs this time around.
Born and raised in the Okanagan, Cannings is a biologist and a strong advocate for environmental protection in B.C. He has authored dozens of books on the natural history of B.C. and runs a biology consulting business
Central Okanagan – Similkameen – Nicola
Another clean sweep for the Conservative in this area, with Dan Albas winning re-election in this heavily redrawn riding. Albas was first elected in 2011, succeeding longtime Conservative MP Stockwell Day.
This area was previosly Okanagan—Coquihalla, and Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola. It includes West Kelowna, and the Mission neighbourhood of Kelowna, Summerland, Peachland and Merritt.
A member of the Conservative party since 2006, Albasbecame one of the first MP’s in recent history to have a Private Members Bill (Bill 311) to become law with the unanimous all party support of both the House of Commons and the Canadian Senate. Bill C-311 “An Act to amend the Importation of intoxicating liquors Act” amended a prohibition era law to prevent the free trade of wine over provincial borders.
He’s also known as one of only five MPs in Canada with a 100% voting attendance record.
Kelowna – Lake County
One of the bigger surprises tonight is another win for the Liberals. Stephen Fuhr ha beat out Conservative incumbant Ron Cannan, who held the traditionally right-wing turf since 2006.
Furh is a retired CAF Major who grew up in Kamloops. This is his first foray into politics.
Kamloops – Thompson – Cariboo
Conservatives Cathy Mclead is the new MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo has been a no-go zone for the NDP for decades. New Democrats have not had any success in the riding since 1993.
The city of Kamloops makes up eighty-three percent of the riding’s population.
In the last federal election, in 2011, the Conservatives dominated with fifty-two percent of the vote.
This time around, locals had expressed some anti-Harper sentiment, suggesting they were perhaps ready for a change.
Some locals told the Vancouver Sun they’re still bitter over the provincial NDP government of the ’90s, and so there was no way they’d consider giving Tom Mulcair and his federal New Democrats a chance.
A proposed open pit mine is a big deal in this riding. It’s being assessed by various levels of government.
While some locals would welcome the jobs it would create, others have expressed concern about environmental and potential health concerns.