Potential candidates are beginning to line up for the next federal election, which some are speculating could take place later this year.
Erik Oleson has announced he will seek a nomination in the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding with the NDP.
Oleson’s political experience started early, at age 12.
He’s been a part of more than a dozen campaigns in his career; most recently he was the campaign manager for Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu, when she ran in the 2019 federal election.
“Over the last 17 years I have worked 15 campaigns in two provinces and have run for office three times, most recently in 2018 as a Mayoral Candidate in Vernon,” he said in a press release Wednesday, April 28.
Oleson has his sights set on the centrepiece to his party’s platform, Pharmacare for All, as well as taking privatization out of the long-term care industry. He said he’ll also focus on the environment and paid sick days for workers.
On local issues, his focus will be on improving Indigenous relations and “inclusiveness for all.”
“I personally know of people on the OKIB (Okanagan Indian Band) that have been under boil water advisories for years, yet the Liberals continue to break promises by saying one thing and doing another.”
Oleson has a background working in the hospitality industry, but for the past four years he’s been working in community health care as a residential coordinator for four group homes in Vernon. During the pandemic, he’s served as an Interior Health COVID-19 screener at Vernon’s Urgent and Primary Care Centre.
He’s been a volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Walk Chair initiative and is going into his third year as chair of the Vernon Winter Carnival board of directors.
Over the years he’s put his name forward at many different organizations and levels of government but says deciding to run is still never an easy decision.
“It requires a lot of patience, understanding and willingness to bring all individuals together for collective representation.”
According to Oleson, there is a disconnect in the local region with its changing demographics, which “our current MP Mel Arnold seems to be missing and Conservatives across the country.”
Oleson said he wants to focus on building inclusive communities in the region, addressing issues “that affect us here in the North Okanagan-Shuswap.”
“I am excited to be putting my name forward for the nomination for the NDP and look forward to meeting with individuals across the electoral district.”