Carole Gordon is getting a do-over.
The NDP candidate in Westside-Kelowna in the May 14 provincial election may have lost to Liberal incumbent Ben Stewart by more than 6,000 votes and garnered only 30 per cent of the vote, but she says she likes her chances in the same riding just a few weeks later against Premier Christy Clark.
Gordon, who was named Tuesday as the NDP’s candidate in the upcoming byelection in Westside-Kelowna, met with the media in Kelowna and said despite her loss to Stewart—a victory in which he took 58 per cent of the vote— she feels the NDP did pretty well.
“I actually think we did okay,” she said standing beside NDP leader Adrian Dix.
“We did better that in (the) 2009 (provincial election).”
The local elementary school teacher said while the party approached her first about running again, the decision to go for it was “a mutual one.”
The Westside-Kelowna seat became available last week when Stewart announced he would step down to allow Clark to run in order to win a seat in B.C. Legislature. Clark lost herVancouver-Point Grey seat to NDP challenger David Eby on election night.
Dix said Gordon greatest strength heading into the byelection is that she has lived here for more than 40 years, making her a truley local candidate.
“That’s a 40-year head start she has (over Clark),” said DIx.
While neither Clark nor Gordon live in the riding, Gordon said her home is just a five-minute walk outside Westside-Kelowna boundary.
“That’s a five-minute walk verses a five-hour drive,” she said, referring to Clark’s home in Vancouver.
The premier has said that if elected, she will make the riding her “second” home.
As for the campaign, Gordon said she plans to get out and door-knock just as she did prior to the May 14 election and she challenged Clark to debate her about local issues at any and all upcoming all-candidates meetings.
Clark skipped every all-candidate meeting in Vancouver-Point Grey during the provincial campaign last month, instead focussing on campaigning for her party across B.C. She did debate Dix, Green Party leader Jane Sterk and B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins twice, on television and radio, and was considered the strongest debater of the four.
But one of her party’s local organizers noted following Gordon’s announcement Tuesday, no sitting B.C. premier has participated in election or byelection all-candidates debates at the riding level in 30 years in this province. It’s unclear if Clark plans to break that tradition.
Both DIx and Gordon said the upcoming byelection should focus on local issues, such as seniors’ care, health care, road safety and a myriad of other issues that may seem to be provincial in nature but apply to this area, such as government spending using money that could go to pay for local programs and services.
“The local voters need a local representative,” said Dix, adding Gordon will speak up for local industries like fruit growing, wine and spirits, as well as other groups like small business and seniors.
Meanwhile, the B.C. Conservatives have named their candidate for the byelection. Local realtor Sean Upshaw, who ran for the party in Penticton and came third behind Liberal winner Dan Ashton and second-place finisher NDP candidate Dick Cannings, will carry his party’s banner in the Westside-Kelowna vote.
No date has been set yet for the byelection but Clark said last week she expects to call it very soon and voters could be at the polls in Westside-Kelowna by mid-July.