Kelowna Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr. —Image: Capital News file

Kelowna-Lake Country Liberal MP acclaimed for his party’s nomination

Stephen Fuhr runs unopposed as the party’s standard-bearer for the next federal election

Kelowna-Lake Country Liberal MP Stephen Fuhr has been acclaimed as his party’s candidate for the next federal election.

Fuhr, who ran unopposed for the nomination, said he is thrilled at the opportunity to run again in Kelowna-Lake Country. The next federal election is expected to be held in the fall of 2019.

Fuhr’s won the riding in 2015, defeating long-time Conservative Ron Cannan. By winning, he became the first federal Liberal to represent Kelowna-Lake Country in nearly 50 years.

Following news of his acclamation, he said he has been happy with the level of federal visibility and federal investment in the riding, as well as his office’s effectiveness in resolving individual casework

“I’m confident running on my record,” he said of his chances next year’s federal election.

His Conservative Party opponent has yet to be selected. Kelowna city Coun. Tracy Gray and local developer Renee Wasylyk have both announced they will seek the party’s nomination.

According to Fuhr, there is little doubt in his mind the riding continues to have Ottawa’s attention, noting both the Pacific and national Liberal MP caucus meetings were held in the riding, as well as pre-budget consultations, stakeholder meetings with ministers and parliamentary secretaries, and even a visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their first trip to Canada with their children.

“I very much appreciate my colleagues support. It makes it easier for me to advocate for the things this community needs and cares about,” he said.

As for tangible local deliverables, Fuhr said he is pleased with the amount of federal investment in Kelowna-Lake Country over the past three years, calling it “substantial,” and targeted to areas the community wanted. He listed support from Ottawa for the re-opening of the Veterans Affairs office, major investments in water infrastructure, UBCO and Okanagan College, support for the Okanagan Rail Trail, local invasive species prevention and a new community centre in Lake Country.

Support was also provided to local arts and culture organizations, small business through an enhanced Canada Summer Jobs program, research and development support for the wine industry, and new market access to Japan for cherry farmers, which will increase the profitability of local fruit growers.

With regard to resolving constituents’ issues with the federal government, Fuhr says interventions by his local office have also produced results.

“We’ve had good success helping constituents on a case by case basis. Most of the time we have positive outcomes and I am grateful to a knowledgeable and caring staff. If it can be done, we get it done.”

Fuhr said he thinks the federal Liberal government will be judged mainly on its fiscal record in the next election, pointing to the fact economic and wage growth is up, unemployment is down, debt to GDP is on the decline and foreign direct investment in Canada was twice what is was in 2017 by the first half of 2018.

Fuhr currently also serves as the chairman of the National Defence Committee.

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