Independent joins race

There will likely be two Conservative party members on the Okanagan Coquihalla ballot.

  • Apr. 5, 2011 2:00 p.m.

There will likely be two Conservative party members on the Okanagan Coquihalla ballot.

West Kelowna real estate agent Sean Upshaw announced Friday that he will compete with the Conservatives’ official candidate Dan Albas and at least three other candidates — David Finnis of the NDP, the Liberals John Kidder and Dan  Bouchard of the Green Party — in the federal election May 2.

Upshaw is one of the local Conservative party members who complained the timeline used to replace outgoing MP Stockwell Day as the Tory candidate excluded someone like him who intended to run but did not meet the deadline.

After close to 11 years as the riding’s member of Parliament, Day announced his retirement March 12. The nomination process to replace him began March 14 with the deadline for the completed application package to be in Ottawa by March 18 at 5 p.m. The nomination vote was held on March 22 with only Albas, Day’s former parliamentary assistant Marshall Neufeld and former association board member Russell “Rusty” Ensign on the ballot.

Upshaw said Albas should have insisted on a “redo.”

“Everyone knows the nomination process for the official Conservative candidate was deeply flawed. This is why I am forced to run as an independent,” Upshaw said in a statement.

“When you look around the riding and see a Conservative sign that says, ‘Vote for Albas,’ realize it could have said, ‘Vote for Upshaw’ if only the process had been fair. This gives you an idea of how much support I really have.”

Upshaw said a vote for him is a vote towards a Conservative majority government.

“I support the Harper government’s low-tax plan for jobs and growth,” he said. “I look forward to shaking Prime Minister Harper’s hand and sitting as (a) Tory member of Parliament. You can bet he will know who I am.”

According to his release, Upshaw founded Richmond’s Praise Christian Fellowship in 1986 and Abbotsford’s The Father’s House in 1997. Upon joining Re/Max Little Oak in Abbotsford in 1992, Upshaw pointed out that he was both the Top Sales Associate and Rookie of the Year. In addition, since moving to West Kelowna in 2002, Upshaw said he has become a member of “the prestigious Re/Max Hall of Fame” and is presently a platinum club member.

“My record is that of a person who is well educated, a real achiever who is not afraid to be innovative and take risks,” said Upshaw. “I am a loyal and committed to what is right. I am unwavering when right is right. As you can see I have been serving people all my adult life. As you can also see, I am not a pawn looking for power. I am a passionate servant of the people, a listener who leads.”