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NDP forecast local victory
The NDP are optimistic about making inroads in Vernon-Monashee May 14.
“There are no safe Liberal seats in British Columbia,” said John Horgan, NDP house leader and energy critic, during a stop in Vernon Monday to show his support for the local candidate, Mark Olsen.
When it comes to Vernon-Monashee, Horgan is confident there will be an orange wave over the traditionally conservative riding.
“It’s going to be very much a play to watch,” said Horgan, adding that Olsen came very close during the last election.
Eric Foster, Liberal MLA, is looking to retain his hold on the riding, but Horgan says his seat could easily be turned over.
Olsen agrees: “Our leader Adrian Dix has been very clear that every riding has the potential to be a real dog fight.”
But Olsen also notes that it’s going to take some work to change some of the residents’ traditional voting patterns.
“It’s about priorities. What we want is to focus on what matters for the people of Vernon and B.C.,” said Olsen.
Horgan adds: “Not pie-in-the-sky promises.”
Along with a $100 million forgivable grant for post secondary students, if elected the NDP will provide residents with an opportunity to opt-out of the smart meter program (although it will likely come at a cost).
While he personally has no health or privacy concerns with smart meters, Horgan has received at least 2,500 e-mails of concerns from residents.
“There are significant concerns with many, many people.”
Monday’s NDP gathering also focused on energy concerns in the area.
“Mark and I are going to look at some of the energy issues that have been neglected in the region,” said Horgan.
Brad Foster, of the Sierra Club Okanagan, shared concerns for mistreatment of local waterways and grasslands from urban sprawl.
Taking Horgan and Olsen to the old Coldstream Hotel site, Foster shared his vision for a complex on the currently vacant lot.
To date, here are only three candidates in Vernon-Monashee — Foster, Olsen and Conservative Scott Anderson.
Horgan is concerned about voter turnout.
“We need to drive participation up, it’s been going steadily down,” said Horgan. “The best way to get participation is names on the ballot.”