As the Westside-Kelowna byelection campaign winds down, NDP candidate Carole Gordon is refusing to let the issue of possible B.C. Hydro rate hikes for riding residents disappear.
Gordon rallied 33 of her supporters along Highway 97 in Westbank Monday to publicly demand Liberal candidate, Premier Christy Clark, say if there will be hydro rate hikes for locals or not.
Standing across the road fro Clark’s campaign office, Gordon’s demand elicited a chant of “yes or no,” from her supporters.
“The people need to know—is it yes or is it no,” said Gordon. “And they need to know before the byelection.
The byelection goes Wednesday and is pitting Gordon against Clark and six other challengers. Clark is trying to win the Westside-Kelowna seat that Ben Stewart gave up, after she lost her own Vancouver-Point Grey seat in the May 14 general election while leading her party to another majority government.
Last week, Clark said she was keeping B.C. rate hikes down for B.C. Hydro customers, such as the ones who live on the west side of Okanagan Lake. But just a few days later, her energy minister Bill Bennet appeared to contradict her when he said “everyone” in government knew that there would have to be hydro rate increases because of B.C. Hydro’s debt situation.
Last week, during an all-candidates debate, Gordon repeatedly challenged Clark to directly address the B.C. Hydro rate hike issue but Clark wouldn’t bite.
“I think it shows how disconnected she is with the people of the riding and the people of the province,” said Gordon.
The NDP candidate also returned to her familiar message that a vote for her would be a vote for a “local” representative in Victoria. A vote for Clark on the other hand would be a vote for some who is not from here, won’t be here and in Gordon’s words won’t even have a live person on the other end of the phone if constituents call in to her riding office.
Gordon said if she is elected she will either be in Victoria when needed or back here in the riding-period.
“This is my home. This is where my family is. This is where I live,” she said.
Clark, who lives in Vancouver, has said that if she is elected she will establish a second home here.
Gordon also took credit for forcing Clark to rescind the proposed large pay hikes for government political aides that were announced right after the Liberals won the May 14 election. In reversing her decision, Clark said the increases were a mistake.
With the campaign winding down, Gordon said she plans to keep campaigning to the last possible moment and will work hard to bring out the NDP vote this time. She plans to spend today, the last day of the campaign, talking to as many people as possible trying to win every vote she can.
Gordon ran a distant second to Liberal Ben Stewart in last month’s general election in Westside-Kelowna. But said this time it feels different.
“It’s much more focussed,” she said. “I think we’ll see a different result.”