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Okanagan's Liberals get election ready

Federal Liberals in the Kelowna-Lake Country riding will meet Feb. 15 to pick their candidate for the next federal election.

Riding association president Islam Mohamed said two “nomination contestants,” Shan Lavell and Kris Stewart, both registered nurses, will compete for the nomination.

Lavell, whose policy interests are listed as health care, women’s issues, democratic reform, child care and education, is a former director of CATCH, a local organization focused on the health of young children.

Stewart, who also holds an MBA, was one of the founders of the private MRI clinic in Kelowna, Image One, and lists her policy interests as health care, women’s issues, seniors and business development, said Mohamed.

While Lavell has been “green lighted” by the party to run for the nomination, Stewart is still awaiting permission to run. But Mohamed said that permission is expected to come soon and the pair will likely be the only two running for the nomination next month.

Kelowna-Lake Country is currently represented by Conservative Ron Cannan, who was first elected in 2006 and who will seek a third term when the next federal election is called.

Speculation has been rising that next month’s federal budget could trigger an election and Mohamed said his riding association wants to be ready whenever the vote is held.

As for winning here in a traditionally strong Conservative riding, the Liberal president said he is optimistic.

“It will be difficult but the potential is there for the local political stripe to move to the centre,” he said.

But to do that, his party has to show it has a credible candidate to present to voters, he added.

To vote at the Feb. 15 nomination meeting, participants must be members of the Liberal riding association as of Jan. 31. The vote will take place at Raymer Elementary from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, in the neighbouring riding of Okanagan-Coquihalla—currently represented by the Conservative MP and federal Treasury Board president Stockwell Day—the Liberals are still searching for a replacement for former Olympic snowboarder Ross Rebagliati. Rebagliati withdrew as the Liberal candidate in November, citing family issues.

In the Okanagan-Shuswap riding to the north, former Kelowna federal Liberal candidate Janna Francis has been nominated to run against incumbent Conservative MP Colin Mayes.

awaters@kelownacapnews.com

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