Campaign off to an early start in Boundary Similkameen

Three all-candidates forums booked for next week in the South Okanagan

Voters in the Boundary Similkameen riding have an early start on getting to know their candidates for the upcoming provincial election.

Voting day is May 9, with the writ scheduled to be dropped on April 11, but the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce has the first of three forums planned for March 21 in Okanagan Falls.

Colleen Ross, the NDP candidate for the riding, admitted she was a little surprised to see them starting so early. She has already been out knocking on doors, and said that will form part of her conversation at the forums, along with sticking to the facts and talking about the performance of the Liberals and the NDP.

“I have a lot of confidence in John Horgan and the NDP. I also have a lot of confidence in our communities, they know what their real needs are,” said Ross.

Linda Larson, the incumbent Liberal candidate, said she was happy to see the forums getting underway, considering the number she is expecting to do in communities around the Boundary Similkameen.

“I am thrilled that we are getting some of them done,” said Larson. “There are 18 separate communities and in the past four years, I have logged more kilometres than I care to mention.”

Ross said she spent a lot of time traveling the riding aw well, enjoying the recreational activities and most recently, knocking on doors and chatting with people about the election. She wasn’t looking forward to the door knocking phase, but now finds herself enjoying it, making connections and engage with people — listening to their concerns and sharing her own.

“I think a lot of people share my values and my stance,” said Ross. “I have met a lot of really nice people. I’m looking forward to meeting more people in this large, large riding.”

Larson said that until she has gone through the first forum, she isn’t sure what information people are looking for.

“For the first one, I will go with what I’ve always said, that I am a strong believer in free enterprise, jobs and low taxes. That’s where I start from,” said Larson. “It is only once I hear what the questions are and what is coming that I would add into that more specifics.”

Ross said she doesn’t like to use the world excited when talking about the campaign gearing up.

“I just take it one bite at a time. I am very pragmatic,” Ross said. “I am not feeling nervous, I am not feeling excited, I am feeling this is the business that we have to do as a province. I am just doing the work.”

No forums have been formally announced for the Penticton riding, but the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce is planning a forum for their members on the evening of April 25.

Forums are set up for March 21 in Okanagan Falls in the Recreation Centre, 1141 Cedar St.; Oliver on March 22 in Frank Venables Theatre, 6100 Gala St; March 23 in Osoyoos at the Sonora Community Centre, 8505 68th Ave.

Start time for all three forums is 7 p.m., and questions can be sent in beforehand. Send your question and which location you will be attending to advocacy@sochamber.ca, or drop it off at the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce, 6237 MainSt., Oliver.

Deadline for submitting questions is 9 a.m. on March 20.

Related: Green party still searching for candidate

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