Candidates Make Last Pitch As Campaign Enters Final Week
Candidates in Boundary-Similkameen are making their last pitch to voters as the provincial election campaign enters its final week.
Voters who aren’t voting in advance will cast their ballots on Tuesday, May 14. Most voters in Osoyoos, except those in institutions like Mariposa Gardens, will vote at the Sonora Community Centre from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Advance voting is being held this week from Wednesday, May 8 to Saturday, May 11 at six locations throughout the electoral district including the Sonora Community Centre in Osoyoos.
Voters may vote at any polling station in the province by absentee ballot regardless of where they live.
Additionally, any voter can cast a ballot at the Elections B.C. office in Osoyoos any time during office hours from now until election day. That office is located at 8322 Main St. next to MacDonald Realty.
Candidates for the two major parties both say they’ve been busy knocking on doors, and both say the issue they’re hearing about the most is FortisBC rate increases.
Liberal candidate Linda Larson said she was planning to knock on doors in Grand Forks and Christina Lake Tuesday before spending the remainder of the campaign focusing on Osoyoos and Oliver.
Most people have been very polite at the doors, she said, although she doesn’t press residents to say whether or not they are supporting her.
NDP candidate Sam Hancheroff said he was encountering apathy earlier in the campaign, but recently voters have been more engaged as they get down to choosing.
He expected to receive strong support in the Grand Forks area, but says he’s also had a positive reception in the Okanagan Valley once people realize that he’s a school trustee who is also a board member of the irrigation district.
The other candidates admit they’ve done less door knocking, although former Conservative Mischa Popoff, now running as an independent, says he’s been going around to farms.
Green Party candidate John Kwasnica says he’s done some door canvassing, although he’s working in a full-time job during the campaign and was busy last week with candidates’ forums and with a visit by family members.
Independent candidate Doug Pederson said he hasn’t been knocking on many doors, but instead has been posting to the internet videos of himself speaking at candidates’ forums.
He has also spent a lot of time talking politics and about local issues with patrons of Jojo’s Café in Osoyoos.
While canvassing is a necessary part of any election campaign, Larson acknowledges that many people already have their minds made up.
“If I’ve turned some, I would think it’s a small amount because I think people really have their politics pretty much in order in their heads,” she said.
“If we’ve been able to say something that’s made them change their minds, great, but there’s not a lot of fence sitters.”
There may be more on the fence this time than usual, she added, because of upheaval in government generally.
Kwasnica said he’s encountered a lot of dissatisfaction at the door.
“Mostly people aren’t very satisfied with the status quo right now, the way the government is and people are a little fed up with what’s going on,” the Green candidate said. “They do want a change, and they’re not really sure if the Green party is the change they’re looking for. I’m hopeful we’ll get some votes from people who want the Liberals out and aren’t really fans of the NDP.”
Hancheroff said that in addition to FortisBC rates, a number of people are also raising concerns about neglect of agriculture.
He tells them the NDP is supporting agriculture in its platform with plans to encourage the sale and purchase of B.C. produce.
The NDP candidate said he’s been inundated with complaints about FortisBC rates with calls to his home, emails and comments at the doorstep.
He said he’s written a letter to the B.C. Utilities Commission asking them to review the rate structure, but he hasn’t yet heard back.
As temperatures topped 30 C, Larson said it’s been a little hot for door canvassing lately, although she keeps at it. People are almost invariably polite at the doors, she said, suggesting this may in part be because she’s a woman.
Not everyone is polite though. She notes that one man abruptly shut the door on her.
“He also had Adrian Dix’s flyer at the door which he was using as a floor mat, so I don’t think he was too fussy about anybody,” she said.