Local NDP party members may have a lot of choices when they get to selecting a candidate on Nov. 18 to run in next spring’s provincial election.
There are already two well-known names on the list, Dick Cannings and David Finnis, and Jeanette Wood, the interim riding president, said there are others considering it who haven’t made a final decision yet.
“We’re very excited about it. When you have a competition, there is a lot more interest. In this particular constituency, the actual position of the MLA is very much open as well,” said Wood, referring to the recent announcement by incumbent Liberal MLA Bill Barisoff that he would not be seeking re-election.
“The two that have come forward so far are absolutely excellent candidates. Very articulate, very well known in the community,” continued Wood. “So if others are coming forward as well, that only adds to the interest.”
Finnis is a longtime party member and former president of the riding association, as well as having spent three terms on Summerland council as well as volunteering with a number of local organizations.
He describes his interest in politics as a life-long one, stemming from completing the legislative intern program at the B.C. legislature, after obtaining degrees in history and geography from the University of Victoria.
“We need to be doing more to create good paying and sustainable jobs. Climate change is a financial as well as an environmental issue. Moving towards a greener economy that uses renewable energy makes good financial and environmental sense,” said Finnis. “It is also a health and a quality of life issue for British Columbians and the urgency for intervention can’t be overstated.”
For his part, Dick Cannings has extensive environmental interests as well. A notable birder and naturalist, and author of several books on the subject, Cannings said he had to do some hard thinking after the NDP approached him to run for the nomination.
“This would be a big change in my life, I would have to give up all that I do. I lead a very interesting and, right now, low-stress life. But after a few weeks of consideration I decided I would give it a shot,” said Cannings. “I think I have a lot to offer, both at the constituency level and the provincial level.”
But Cannings said his interest in environmental issues isn’t his only reason for running.
“The environment is close to my heart, as it is for a lot of people who live here. We live in a very special place,” said Cannings, citing his support for a national park in the South Okanagan. “But like every responsible citizen, I have concerns and interests across the spectrum, from the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, the socio-economic conditions in B.C. with the collapsing forest industry.”
Finnis describes himself as a strong supporter of the provincial NDP’s stand on the environment, including opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline, as well as on agricultural and business issues.
“Supporting local farmers and orchardists increases our food security, strengthens the local economy and creates jobs,” said Finnis, adding that as a municipal councillor and member of the arts community, he has worked hard over the years to also strengthen the local tourism and small business sector. “Shopping local and supporting local, independent businesses is a good way to create a healthier economy here in the Okanagan.”
Wood said planning is underway for the local NDP campaign, and once their candidate is selected on Nov. 18, they will be in off and running.
“We’ve started and we’ve a long way to go, but it is something that is achievable and the actual constituency, this is a winnable constituency,” she said. “It’s a good time to be a New Democrat.”