B.C. Conservative Kelowna-Mission candidate Chuck Hardy.

B.C. Conservative Kelowna-Mission candidate Chuck Hardy.

B.C. Conservatives pick Kelowna-Mission candidate

Chuck Hardy, a former Kelowna mayoral candidate, will challenge incumbent Steve Thomson.

The B.C. Conservative Party has chosen a candidate to run in Kelowna-Mission.

Chuck Hardy will try and unset two-term B.C. Liberal incumbent Steve Thomson, the province’s forests, lands and natural resource operations minister.

Hardy, a life-long resident of Kelowna who traces his family’s roots in the area back to his grandfather’s arrival on horseback in 1891, worked for City of Kelowna for 22 years before retiring.

His previous political experience was an unsuccessful run for mayor of Kelowna in 2014 in which he emphasized how he felt the city could do more to facilitate growth and development.

“I come from a background in which relationship-building is key,” wrote Hardy on the B.C. Conservatives website, noting his many years volunteering for the International Order of Job’s Daughters and helping to fund and build social housing projects in Mexico. He is also an instructor of hunting safety and safe handling of firearms.

“My purpose in life has been to always focus on being of service to others and that will continue to be the cornerstone of my work as a Member of the Legislative Assembly if the citizens of the Kelowna area were to elect me on May 9,” he said.

“We really need to shake up the province,” said Hardy, promising to conduct a spirited campaign. “I feel a responsibility to do what is best for this great area, this great province and our great country,”

Hardy is the third candidate announced by the B.C. Conservatives, who are currently without a party leader following the dismissal of two-time leader Dan Brooks, won was forced to step down because of a technicality associated with his leadership.

Hardy said he feels constituents of Kelowna-Mission know which problems take precedence and know that a dedicated team is needed for the next political term, adding he feels it’s time for a new governing party in Victoria, one he predicts will do a better job of keeping jobs in the province while respecting workers, protecting the environment and growing the economy.

“We have to start showing better respect for the workers of our province without whom it would not be as successful as it is today,” said Hardy, promising to listen to the concerns of all constituents, “not only those who make large donations in the expectation of receiving favours from government.”

In 2013, Thomson was re-elected in Kelowna Mission with just 56.8 per cent of the vote after winning it for the first time in 2009 with just under 54 per cent of the vote.