Election 2015: Future of Canada lies in voters’ hands

Political aspirations are now in the hands of North Okanagan-Shuswap voters

One of the longest election campaigns in Canadian history is virtually over and political aspirations are now in the hands of voters.

North Okanagan-Shuswap residents will head to the polls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to select a new MP, while also observing the national scene.

“It’s been a steady build-up towards this,” said Mel Arnold, Conservative candidate.

“There have been diverse people and issues and it’s been great to be part of that. We have a real diverse community in North Okanagan-Shuswap.”

For Arnold, the priority before the polls close is to ensure people cast a ballot.

“We have a huge team of volunteers and they are door knocking and attending events. It’s been overwhelming the amount of support,” he said.

“Complete strangers have come out to help and friends too. I think it’s close but support on the doorstep and at events is good. I think people will see the best route is with the Conservatives.”

Liberal Cindy Derkaz is upbeat.

“The campaign has been going really well and we have a real momentum, and people are asking how they can help,” she said.

Derkaz’ team will also be going flat-out today and Monday.

“We will be door knocking and phoning. It’s important to emphasize that the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” she said.

“We have the energy to carry on until 7 p.m. Monday.”

Derkaz believes most voters have decided who they will support.

“People know what they will do and the steady trend upwards (nationally) for the Liberals is carrying over into our campaign. People are really engaged.”

Green Chris George isn’t forecasting a win, but he is pleased with the results of the campaign.

“If you trust polling, we are three to four times ahead of the rest of the country for Green support,” he said, adding that he’s been able to spread the party message.

Another positive, according to George, is that other parties are accepting Green policies.

“The Liberals are on board with the 2008 Green environmental policy and they are on board with our idea of a youth employment program,” he said.

“The Liberals look poised for a strong minority or a majority government and we will hold their feet to the fire no matter how many Greens are elected.”

Jacqui Gingras, with the NDP, says she’s been overwhelmed by the election process.

“This campaign has been an incredible experience. I have met so many supportive people,” she said.

Like the other candidates, Gingras isn’t slowing down any time soon.

“We’re working very hard to reach people who haven’t decided or voted yet. Every moment is scheduled to meet with people,” she said.

“We have done everything we can to have a breakthrough.”

Gingras believes the results will be tight Monday.

“We’ve moved an incredible distance from 2011 when the Conservatives garnered almost 32,000 votes,” she said.

Polls will be set up throughout the North Okanagan-Shuswap Monday. For more information, go to www.elections.ca.