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.”
Stay tuned for live updates on the 2019 federal election in the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding! First we hear from Liberal candidate Cindy Derkaz’ campaign team in Salmon Arm. #CanadaElection2019 #CanadaVotes pic.twitter.com/PtqWnDMqBR
— Salmon Arm Observer (@SalmonArm) October 22, 2019
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.”
North Okanagan-Shuswap NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu's daughter Jasreen, 12, has the job of posting election night poll results at mom's Vernon campaign office. pic.twitter.com/EnpyYZnP3F
— Vernon Morning Star (@VernonNews) October 22, 2019
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.
Marc Reinarz thanks his supporters while announcing his intentions to run as the Green candidate next time around. During his campaign he says he’s learned what to do, and what not to do, for next time. @VernonNews @SalmonArm #elxn43 pic.twitter.com/dPLhNzgX2u
— Brendan Shykora (@brendanshykora) October 22, 2019
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.”
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.