Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of profiles of the candidates for Penticton MLA.
A chance meeting with one of Canada’s best known premiers helped put Sean Upshaw on the track to conservative politics.
“When I was 10 years old, I met Premier Peter Lougheed and I was impressed by his persona,” said the B.C. Conservative candidate for the Penticton riding. “I began at that point gaining an interest in politics.”
His “old school” conservatives values led him to seek the nomination with the B.C. Conservatives.
“I grew up with conservative values. The conservative value system, I believe is what is best for the country and the province as a whole. I am quite comfortable with it, because it allows me to stay true to my own values,” said Upshaw. “What got me interested in it was the common sense approach that if you have a dollar, that’s all you should spend. If you speak, you should tell the truth.”
Upshaw left Alberta for B.C. in 1971, moving to the Okanagan with his wife Heather in 2003.
“We chose the Okanagan because we thought it would be a great place to raise our family,” said Upshaw, who has three children and two grandsons.
The Kelowna resident and real estate agent, however, promises another move, this time to the Penticton riding, should he get elected.
“You can’t serve people if you don’t live amongst them,” said Upshaw, adding that he has a genuine compassion for the riding and for its people.
There are two types of politicians, according to Upshaw. There is the professional politician who sees it as a career path, then there is the passionate politician who sees a need and is driven to act on it.
“At this point they don’t need someone who is trying to fill a role or a position. They need somebody who is willing to listen,” he said. “I am a genuine, caring individual that has the desire and, I believe, the intestinal fortitude to hang in there and be the voice they need, and get it done.”
Upshaw also thinks there is stronger support for his party than is perceived.
“It would be safe to say that B.C. Liberals, ie Christy Clark and for that matter, Stockwell Day, are well aware of the threat that the B.C. Conservative party holds for them,” said Upshaw. “They believe that if they ignore the values and the thrust of the BCC, that it will go away. The general population doesn’t see it that way.”