Growing up in Victoria, David Finnis learned early the importance of giving.
“Yes, I came by it very honestly,” said the New Democratic Party candidate in the upcoming federal election for the riding of Okanagan Coquihalla. “My mom and dad were both extremely active in all sorts of things from community organizations to church groups.
“I was raised in a family where people volunteered and where we had that ability and could afford to volunteer, and that was a really positive thing.”
The former Summerland councillor who served three terms at the municipal level was acclaimed to the NDP candidacy in late March.
The University of Victoria graduate is currently employed at the West Kelowna branch of Okanagan Regional Library where he has worked for 11 years.
Finnis and wife Kathy have five grown children between them.
When he’s not out cross-country skiing, cycling, hiking or working in the garden on a sunny day, the 53-year-old is busy with his other interests including the local arts council or doing fundraising work for the cancer society and the heart and stroke foundation.
“I’ve done a number of different things to try to improve life in the community,” he said. “It’s always just been part of my being.”
His interest in politics actually began at a very early age, in fact he was still in high school when he first decided to get involved.
“I’ve participated in campaigns before I could vote,” said Finnis. “But being involved is more than just the X on the ballot. There’s many different things you can do even before you’re eligible to vote.
“It’s just really important that people get involved in various ways.”
That was the motivating factor in why he first decided to run for council in Summerland.
“I just thought you can go and ask them for this and hope that something happens or you can be on the other side of the table and be able to bring it forward,” he said. “I found it far more effective to be in the place and put your ideas forth. I try to be there and present something different, new ways of looking at things.”
Finnis is a believer in co-operation between elected members of any government body, and during his time on council found it to be the most beneficial way of getting things done for the benefit of all citizens.
“We can agree to disagree,” said Finnis. “You have to know when to disagree but also know when to work together — know when to stick up for what you really believe in and know when to keep quiet.”
The aspect of family support is also important to him and is the reason he counts on the support of his wife who his a significant part of his current campaign.
Along with her evaluation and general overview of the issues, Kathy’s professional involvement in the medical field helps bring critical issues home on a more personal level.
That also applies to having children who are still directly part of the education system.
Finnis likes to work with young people as much as possible and feels it is vital to get them involved as early as possible.
“I think often kids these days get a bum wrap,” he said. “There’s a lot of misconceptions about young people. I work with younger kids at library and go out and talk to post-secondary students and a lot of them are very, very positive. There are a lot of wonderful kids out there.”
A large part of what motivated the Summerland resident to run federally were the scandals involving Liberals and Conservatives during their most recent terms in power.
But true to character, he wants to be able to make an improvement to quality of life in the constituency the way he did during his time in municipal office.
“I can look back at some wonderful things that have been done in Summerland collectively in terms of roundabouts, water treatment plants, to small things like bicycle racks on Main Street,” he said. “I like to be able to say, ‘hey I helped do that.’
“It’s a real feeling of satisfaction and progress.”