Independent won’t abdicate his independence in Ottawa

Sean Upshaw says if he gets elected and sent to Ottawa, he won’t leave his beliefs, outspokenness or “his voice” in the Okanagan-Coquihalla riding.

  • Apr. 13, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Sean Upshaw says if he gets elected and sent to Ottawa, he won’t leave his beliefs, outspokenness or “his voice” in the Okanagan-Coquihalla riding.

The independent candidate, who is running in part because he did not win the Conservative nomination and is upset about how the official Tory candidate Dan Albas won it, says if he is successful he wants to work with the Conservatives as if he was one of them.

To that end, he said he likes the Tory platform that was released last week.

But he is also critical of the former government of Stephen Harper, saying it’s obvious it has “a bit of an ethics issue” over being found in contempt of Parliament for not releasing figures, Opposition MPs had requested, about the cost of new fighter jets and anti-crime programs.

Also, when the election was called, a Conservative cabinet minister, Bev Oda appeared about to be found in contempt of Parliament by a committee for misleading the House of Commons over rejection of funding for a non-profit aid organization. In the end, there was no finding against Oda because of the election call.

“I have some concerns about (the Conservative government’s ethics) too,” Upshaw told the Capital News this week on the campaign trail.

But he said he is willing to work the Tories.

Despite expressing that publicly—something Liberal, NDP and Green candidates have also done— Upshaw said he fully expects to be welcomed by the Tories if elected.

“Unlike (officials party) candidates who have been muzzled, I can say what I want. If they don’t say anything, they can’t make mistakes.”

Upshaw, who calls himself an “independent Conservative,” wanted the Conservative nomination in Okanagan-Coquihalla and has accused the riding association of rigging it in favour of Albas.

The association and outgoing MP Stockwell Day—who publicly announced he would not run again just a few days before the election was called—have both denied there was anything untoward about the nomination process. Day told the Capital News at the time that some candidates were just quicker off the mark than others.

Albas defeated West Kelowna businessman Rusty Ensign for the nomination. Others, including Upshaw, complained that they did not have enough time to get their nomination papers in and approved but Albas and Ensign did.

Upshaw is the only independent currently in the Okanagan-Coquihalla race. He is running against Albas, Liberal John Kidder, David Finns of the NDP and Dan Bouchard of the Green Party.

Upshaw said if elected he will not “leave (himself) behind,” when he goes to Ottawa but rather will make his voice heard in Ottawa.

He even invoked the ghost of the late Chuck Cadman, who, as a Tory, voted against the majority in his party to defeat a Tory private member’s bill motion that would have banned same-sex marriage in Canada. Cadman said he did so because that was the wish of a majority of his constituents.

As for the Tory platform, he said he believes a strong military is important for Canada and likes the focus on the economy and rebalancing the federal budget a year earlier than stated in the last budget.

Upshaw said he shares the same values as the Conservative Party despite his criticism of the former government and could work with it.

A realtor, Upshaw estimates he has already lost close to $40,000 in potential business by turning his attention towards the campaign and the effect it has had on gaining potential real estate clients.

But he said it is worth it as a matter of principle.


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