Premier Christy Clark is back the Westside-Kelowna riding today, making a last push for the seat that if she wins, would return her to the B.C. Legislature.
Clark, who lost her former Vancouver-Point Grey seat to the NDP’s David Eby in the May 14 provincial election despite leading her party to a majority government, met with leaders this morning and plans to do some door-knocking and other campigning this afternoon and this evening.
She is trying to with the seat vacated by Liberal Ben Stewart, who easily held it for the Liberals in the May 14 election. Stewart took 58 per cent of the vote.
Despite living in Vancouver, with no immediate plans to move here full time, Clark said she does plan to buy a condo here and set up a second home if she wins the byelection on Wednesday. And, she said, if elected, she plans to run here again in 2017.
Clark took in a Kelowna Falcon’s baseball game Monday night at Elk’s Stadium with her son Hamish and visited the Disney Interactive Studios in Kelowna Tuesday morning. Disney owns the phenomenally popular chilldren’s website Club Penguin, which it bought from its Kelowna founders in 2007. Earlier on Tuesday, the premier took in an exercise class for seniors at the Parkinson Activity Centre.
At Disney, she said she hopes the local animation studio, with its 300 employees, can help develop this area as a high-tech centre.
Talking to reporters, she also reiterated her desire to start planning for a second crossing of Okanagan lake—a project she said could take a decade to complete— improving Westside Road and helping West Kelonwa develop a healthcare centre in the Westbank area.
Asked about the ongoing controversy over her claim she was personally keeping B.C. Hydro rates down only to have her energy minister Bill Bennett appear to contradict here by saying “everyone” in government knew hydro rates will be going up, Clark admitted she does not know if they will go up or not.
“I can’t say if they will go up,” said Clark. “I just don’t know the answer to that.”
Clark’s NDP opponent, Carole Gordon has repeatedly called on Clark to tell Westside residents if hydro rates will go up and to say so before the byelection on Wednesday.
Up to now, Clark has ignored Gordon’s public demand she address the hydro rate issue.
On Saturday, Clark held a outdoor event at the Gellatly Nut Farm that was billed not only as a meet and greet for the community, but also as a thank-you barbecue for her campaign workers, he last public event prior to the byelection.
Meanwhile, her challengers in the byelection race were not letting up either as the campaign winds down.
On Monday, B.C. Conservative candidate Sean Upshaw called for the introduction of tax measures to reduce commissions paid by homeowners when they sell their principle residences.
Upshaw, a realtor, said if he wins the byelection, his first priority will be a to propose a private member’s bill calling for a non-refundable provincial tax credit equal to the commission a homeowner pays a realtor when he or she sells a house or condo.
“I think it’s time someone stood up for our homeowners, especially our retirees, and corrected a situation that has been long overdue for attention,” said Upshaw.
Before GST is factored in, the commission on the sale of a $571,882 home could be as much as $21,156, said Upshaw.
The promise from Upshaw came after he publicly criticized Clark for the campaign promises she has made.
In addition to Clark and Upshaw, and Gordon, B.C. Vision’s Jag Bhandari and three independent candidates, Dayleen Van Ryswyk , John Marks and Korry Zepik are also running.
Polls will remain open until 8 p.m. Wednesday in Westside-Kelowna, which includes West Kelowna and the downtown portion of Kelowna.