Richard Cannings is in the lead to return as NDP MP as the mail-in ballots wait to be counted for the South Okanagan West Kootenay riding. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Richard Cannings is in the lead to return as NDP MP as the mail-in ballots wait to be counted for the South Okanagan West Kootenay riding. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Cannings ready to get back to work after ‘election we didn’t need’

Climate change, housing, the opioid crisis, Indigenous reconciliation are priorities

With mail-in votes still to be counted, incumbent NDP candidate Richard Cannings has a lead of over 3,000 votes in the 2021 federal election.

Black Press caught up with Cannings outside his campaign office on Tuesday to speak with him on how he felt the election went.

“I’m very happy with how it turned out,” said Cannings. “I didn’t know what to expect to be honest, it’s such a different campaign, a strange campaign in many ways.”

Even after the election has been finished, Cannings still questioned the need for it to be called in the first place, when he and the NDP were working with the Liberal minority, and they could have continued working instead of campaigning.

“Here we are in an election we didn’t need, and we ended up with a Parliament that is nearly the same as where we started, so that’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for Canadians, not just the cost, but we have so many issues like climate change, housing, the opioid crisis, Indigenous reconciliation, and we’re set back four months in parliamentary business.”

READ MORE: With majority of results in, NDP leading in South Okanagan West Kootenay

Cannings noted that many of the issues he heard at the start of the election hadn’t changed, but he also noted that vaccines and vaccine passports had become more of an issue during the campaign.

“We’ve been through a year-and-a-half, almost two years now of COVID, people are tired of it, and we all went to get through it,” said Cannings. “Whether it’s causing us anxiety about health, about our work, how our business is doing, there’s a lot of that.”

He added that he hoped in the coming months the topic would cool as he felt that vaccines are the only way out of the pandemic.

“Some people on the fringes tried to make this about rights and it’s clearly an issue of public health and we have to take care of ourselves and take care of our communities. The way to do that is to get vaccinated,” said Cannings. “If you think that statement is political I disagree with you; it’s just common sense. Let’s stay healthy, keep people alive, keep our hospitals working properly instead of being filled with unvaccinated COVID patients, that’s what we have to work towards.”

On the whole, Cannings felt quite happy with the outcome of the election, both in his personal race, as well as across the country. Prior to the interview, Cannings spent time on a call with a newly elected NDP MP from another riding.

“The NDP gained in British Columbia, the Liberals gained in British Columbia, so on the surface that’s good, especially the NDP gains. I’m looking forward to meeting my caucus colleagues and I think we’ll represent British Columbia well,” said Cannings.

He also recognized the many people who worked on the election for their efforts, both in his campaign and those of his opponents.

“I would like to thank all the voters of the South Okanagan West Kootenay for putting their trust in me again. It’s a real honour and a privilege to run in an election and be successful,” said Cannings. “I would like to thank the candidates, it’s a huge step to put yourself in the public eye and face scrutiny and be questioned day-after-day-after-day.”

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Election 2021