Election planning starts in South Okanagan West Kootenay riding

With a brand-new riding and constituency associations for each of the parties, planning for the next federal election is slowly ramping up.

This week, the Conservative Party of Canada announced the official start of the nomination period in South Okanagan West Kootenay. According to Meagan Salekin, president of the Conservative riding association, they will be accepting applications until 2 p.m. on June 26.

However, they already have three candidates who have declared their intentions: Marshall Neufeld, Stephen Hill and Rick De Jong. Conservative party members will be able to vote between July 24 and 29, at locations yet to be determined.

The NDP opened their nomination period on May 1, and have two candidates declared and ready: Dick Cannings and Margaret Maximenko. But other than that, riding president Vincent Salvo said they are still getting paperwork together and waiting for the go-ahead from the provincial organizing committee.

“The two nominees have passed muster and are official candidates,” said Salvo, adding that the NDP has about 1,000 members in the new riding and they are hoping to have a mail ballot that will allow everyone in the large riding to participate.

“There is a lot of paperwork that has to be completed. Elections Canada is behind in getting all the exact boundaries for the riding out,” said Salvo.

Gordon Neish, the Liberal riding association president, said they are also waiting for word from higher-ups in the party.

“Our lead candidate at this point, Connie Denesiuk, is going through the green light process. We don’t anticipate there is going to be any issues, but she is still going through the vetting process,” said Neish.

Neish worries that it might be as late as fall 2014 before they are able to vote on the Liberal nominees, concerned that the federal election might be called earlier than the planned Oct. 19, 2015 voting day.

“We are interested in getting it done fairly soon. We have to think in terms of there being a spring election rather than a fall election,” he said.

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