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Meet the candidates: Kelowna-Lake Country

Five candidates are looking to represent the riding this fall
Left to right: Brian Rogers (People’s Party), Cade Desjarlais (NDP), Imre Szeman (Green), Tim Krupa (Liberal) and Tracy Gray (Conservative) will be seeking to represent Kelowna-Lake Country in Ottawa this fall. (Contributed)

Unsure who to vote for? Want to know more about your local candidates? Black Press Media has you covered with profiles of all the Kelowna-Lake Country candidates.

Brian Rogers - People’s Party of Canada

Brian Rogers has lived in the Okanagan Valley since the early ’70s and considers the valley his home.

A journeyman electrician, Rogers has worked at Western Star Trucks for 25 years before the company was sold. He has been a People’s Party of Canada (PPC) member since the party’s first meeting in Kelowna and became a founding member of the Kelowna-Lake Country PPC riding association.

He claims that the government is silencing independent news and claims that the mainstream media is a Liberal party propaganda machine.

If elected, Rogers vows to defend Canada from “fringe radicals.” His platform will include building a smaller government, revamping the court system, revamping immigration policies and introducing less taxes. He also promises to fight against censorship and changing the police force to be more proactive instead of reactive.

Cade Desjarlais - NDP

Cade Desjarlais is the youngest candidate in Kelowna-Lake Country this federal election.

Born and raised in Kelowna, Desjarlais has lived in the riding his whole life. He is currently a second-year political science student at UBCO and is a director-at-large for the student union’s board of directors. He was appointed to the finance and oversight committee, where he oversees the union’s spending.

Desjarlais believes that affordability is the most important issue in his riding. He believes that the riding needs more affordable housing, more resources to help unhoused people and more initiatives to help low-income people who call Kelowna-Lake Country home.

He fears that the rising cost of living will price people out of the community. As the youngest candidate, he hopes to bring a new perspective to Parliament Hill as the riding’s representative.

Desjarlais will also prioritize reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. As someone who is Cree-Metis, he will advocate to fulfill all calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate recent findings of unmarked graves at former residential schools in Canada.

Imre Szeman - Green Party

Imre Szeman, Green Party candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country, is passionate about climate change.

Szeman is a professor of environmental communication at the University of Waterloo and has previously held research chairs at McMaster University and the University of Alberta.

According to the Green Party website, his work explores social and cultural transformations required to bring about a transition to sustainable forms of energy.

He has a master’s degree in critical theory from the University of Western Ontario and a Ph.D. in literature from Duke University.

Szeman believes North American daily life is dependent on fossil fuels, and that there needs to be an interdisciplinary approach to creating new sustainable energy forms. He also believes in engaging with people in conversations about climate change, and that the oil industry is inherently tied to late-stage capitalism.

Tim Krupa - Liberal Party

Tim Krupa, the Liberal candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country, believes that the city deserves better, active representation in Ottawa.

Krupa’s family has lived in the city since 1996, and he has been deeply involved in the community since he was a child.

He is also no stranger to federal politics: he previously worked for the prime minister’s office. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. He also graduated from the University of Oxford with a Master of Public Policy and a Master of Business Administration. Now, Krupa is vying to represent Kelowna-Lake Country in Ottawa this fall.

If elected, he will work to deliver sound economic and environmental policies as well as experienced representation for the riding. Krupa said his bachelor’s degree in biology, master’s in public policy and master’s in business administration has taught him how to create policies that will best meet Canadians’ needs.

He also promises to be a proactive ally to marginalized communities in Kelowna by voting on key bills that will make Canada a much inclusive space to live in.

Tracy Gray - Conservative Party

Tracy Gray is the incumbent Conservative Party candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country. She was elected in 2019 after spending one term as a Kelowna city councillor between 2014 and 2018.

Before the writ dropped, Gray served as the official Opposition’s critic for export promotion and international trade, and previously served as the interprovincial trade critic. In Ottawa, Gray says she stood up for small businesses, not-for-profits and free speech while opposing tax and debt increases.

Gray has extensive experience in the Okanagan wine industry, founding Discover Wines wine stores. In that role, she earned accolades from the Kelowna Chamber and was honoured with the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2006.

Over the years, she’s served on the Passenger Transportation Board and Prospera Credit Union board and held positions on several other local boards and committees.

Gray recently made local headlines after voting against Bill C-6, which would ban conversion therapy, in June. She has since refused to apologize for the vote, claiming the bill’s wording makes it appear that having a conversation between parents and their children about sexuality is illegal.

She has since been banned from all Kelowna Pride events and is no longer considered an ally by Kelowna Pride Society.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Sept. 16 with video profiles of each candidate.