Dick Cannings says the NDP have a good chance of taking the new South Okanagan West Kootenay riding in the next federal election, expected to be in the fall of 2015.
The Penticton-born author and naturalist is making another try at politics, moving from the provincial level to the federal. Cannings was selected by the NDP as their candidate on Oct. 18, the last of the three major federal parties to announce their selection. He will join Liberal Connie Denesiuk and Conservative Marshall Neufeld in the race to take the new riding.
“It’s a hard opportunity to pass by,” said Cannings, who admits it will be a completely different kind of election and different issues than he faced when he ran for Penticton MLA in 2013.
Still, he said, that first experience will help, adding that he saw the 2013 run as very successful.
“We got 3,000 more votes than the previous (provincial) election,” said Cannings, who credits the improvement to hard work on the part of his campaign team.
Cannings was supported in that campaign by Alex Atamanenko, the NDP MP for B.C. Southern Interior, who announced last year that he will be retiring from politics with the 2015 election.
Atamanenko’s current riding makes up the bulk of the SOWK riding, with the inclusion of Penticton and the loss of Kaslo and Nelson. He has committed to again working with Cannings to take the SOWK riding for the NDP.
Cannings said he consulted with Atamanenko about his decision to run federally, adding that the outgoing MP has done a good job holding the riding for the NDP through three terms and has been exemplary MP.
Cannings has his own consulting business and is author of over a dozen books on B.C. He has served on the B.C. Environmental Appeal Board, the B.C. Forest Appeals Commission and the national board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. He can be found online at richardcannings.net.
That background, said NDP leader Tom Mulcair, makes Cannings an ideal replacement for Atamanenko.
“A brilliant mind, Dick’s commitment to his community and the environment are indisputable,” said Mulcair in a release. “Alex is leaving some big shoes to fill but there’s no question the people in this riding will be extremely well served by Dick Cannings.”
Margaret Maximenko, who was also seeking the nomination, moved to make the vote unanimous and joined Cannings in praising the way both campaigns were run throughout the nomination.