Incumbent Conservative MP Mel Arnold with spouse Linda celebrate his win in the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding at his Vernon campaign office on election night, Monday, Oct. 21. (Jennifer Smith/Black Press)

Tories take North Okanagan-Shuswap riding with decisive lead

Incumbent Conservative MP Mel Arnold returns to Ottawa, Liberal Cindy Derkaz a distant second

Tradition ruled in the North Okanagan-Shuswap on election night, with a Conservative returned to power.

Preliminary election results showed incumbent Mel Arnold capturing the riding handily, winning close to 49 per cent of the vote.

Arnold is pleased with the strong victory.

“It’s rewarding after four years of work and hearing from the people and seeing the change across the country. The direction of this riding has taken a turn. I hope I can take that as a show of the trust that I’ve built. It’s hard work, it’s nice to see if recognized. But there’s always more to learn.”

Nationally, Arnold said he will wait and see how the final numbers pan out but, in North Okanagan-Shuswap, a win wasn’t unexpected.

“I guess no great surprises in this riding. I felt I had the support. I had a huge volunteer team helping out that just made it possible. Without the volunteers we couldn’t have done all this, so I want to give a great big thank you to them…”

With the Conservatives in Opposition nationally, Arnold, who was first elected in 2015, will remain a back bencher.

The riding has been Conservative, Alliance or Reform since 1993; prior to that election NDP Lyle MacWilliam was MP.

Liberal Cindy Derkaz, running in her second consecutive federal election in the riding and again polling second, was excited about the national outcome. As for the riding, she said the Conservatives won it “fair and square.”

“I wanted to say this whole effort has been all about our community and about our team that has come together.

We have had tremendous support and tremendous effort from volunteers from all over this riding who carried this vision and wanted to see a Liberal MP sitting at this table. But, that is not to be. Fair and square, the Conservatives have once again taken this riding and I acknowledge that. I am going to congratulate Mr. Arnold the second I can get him on the phone.”

To exuberant cheers, Derkaz said the campaign and the volunteers impressed Justin Trudeau.

“I want you to know that Justin Trudeau called me on Friday morning and that was in the fight of his life; he took five minutes of his life to call the candidate in the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding… He called because he said we had the attention of the national party who really saw the hard work and the numbers we’ve done, the 35,000 attempts we made to talk to people and that’s unbelievable. He said the marketing we’ve done was outstanding, the running shoe, the ads – across Canada we got noticed and that’s thanks to you here in this room with us.”

NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu, a newcomer to politics and in third place, said the people have sent a clear message by electing a minority government.

“They want to have their voices heard. A lot of Canadians were hoping for proportional representation, as Trudeau promised in the last election. Polls today show 72 per cent want proportional representation. So I think that’s a clear message being sent.”

Marc Reinarz said the Green Party makes inroads with every election, and he’s pleased with the Liberal minority.

“I think it is good for the country that the Conservatives won’t rule – I think that is a vote against youth and against the future of the planet.”

He said if he can’t win, he’s glad the Liberals “have at least some intention” of battling climate change.

People’s Party candidate Kyle Delfing was happy his party had a chance to share its views.

“The supporters that we had in the beginning compared to now are, I’m going to say, tenfold. Maybe a hundredfold.”

He added that his party is in its infancy and “voters will need time to get to know them.” He also noted that, “if you look at the Conservative platform that came out nine days ago, they have a lot of PPC-like policies.”

Read more: Election 2015: North Okanagan-Shuswap remains Conservative

The vote was a little different in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District. Student voters at Salmon Arm Secondary put narrow support behind Conservative Mel Arnold who was first past the post with 94 votes. He was followed closely by Green Marc Reinarz and NDP Harwinder Sandhu who were neck and neck with 85. Coming in fourth was Liberal Cindy Derkaz with 58 votes followed by Kyle Delfing of the People’s Party with five.

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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Liberal Cindy Derkaz thanks profusely an enthusiastic crowd of supporterrs at her Vernon campaign office on election night, Monday, Oct. 21. (Caitlin Clow/Black Press)

NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu arrives at her campaign office in Vernon on election night, Oct. 21. (Roger Knox/Black Press)

Kyle Delfing spends election night with People’s Party of Canada supporters at Kelly O’Bryan’s resturant in Vernon on Monday, Oct. 21. (Brendan Shykora/Black Press)

Green Party candidate Marc Reinarz and his wife Sietje Reinarz enjoy election night at Sir Winston’s Pub in Vernon on election night, Monday, Oct. 21. (Brendan Shykora/Black Press)

Incumbent MP Mel Arnold and his spouse Linda watch happily as results from the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding show him in the lead. (Jennifer Smith/Black Press)

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