Enumerators Wynn Connolly (left) and Tammy Gallamore set up shop in downtown Trail on Saturday to update elector information and register new voters. The next stop is Waneta Plaza this weekend

Enumerators Wynn Connolly (left) and Tammy Gallamore set up shop in downtown Trail on Saturday to update elector information and register new voters. The next stop is Waneta Plaza this weekend

2013 BC Election – Few challengers for Kootenay West

With Election Day on May 14, incumbent Katrine Conroy is the only declared candidate.

It looks like a one-horse race in Kootenay West for the upcoming B.C. Election in mid-May.

The only candidate declared for the general election, 64 days away on May 14, is the current member of the Legislative Assembly for the riding, Katrine Conroy.

When contacted by phone, neither the provincial Liberals, Conservatives or the Green Party had a list of candidate names to release to the public to begin the push for May.

The lack of competition surprised Conroy, who had already begun her campaign for re-election weeks ago. She said there were a couple of her colleagues who did not have any competition either but they were still moving ahead.

“It is a bit odd,” she said about the nearly fallow field of candidates.

“But it doesn’t matter. We are still working hard and we have our campaign team meeting every Wednesday … Locally we are getting     ready.”

Conroy has held the seat since the riding was first created in 2008—and the preceding West Kootenay-Boundary seat since 2005—winning the last election in 2009 with two thirds of the votes (12,126).

In that year it was a four-way race that included Liberal candidate Brenda Binnie (4,072 votes, 22.4 per cent), Andy Morel of the Green Party (1,791 votes, 9.84 per cent) and Zachary Crispin of the Communist Party (204 votes, 1.13 per cent).

In all, there were 18,193 votes cast—with 88 rejected ballots—with a voter turnout of 59.1 per cent.

The electoral district is made up of parts of the regional districts of Central Kootenay and Kootenay Boundary, as well as the communities of Trail, Castlegar and Nakusp.

The B.C. Conservative Party has not yet nominated anyone in Kootenay West, but they do have some people going through the process of nomination, said Kristy Fredericks, the party’s director of policy research and communications.

Conservative candidates have to submit an application that goes through a review committee and once they are approved they can start planning their nomination days.

There was no Conservative candidate in the 2009 election. Fredericks said the party will be running a candidate in the electoral district, and every riding across the province except Delta South where Vicky Huntington holds a seat.

“Vicky Huntington is Conservative all in but name,” she said.

“We made a promise to her early on that we wouldn’t run against her.”

Rebecca Helps, executive director of Green Party, said there still is quite a bit of interest from people wanting to be candidates for Kootenay West.

“It’s hard because we don’t have a lot of members on the ground in that area. So often it is just happen stance when somebody comes forward,” she said.

The party members are “working networks and hoping someone will come forward on their own,” said Helps, and would like to have someone in place by at least April 1 as a final day.

“I doubt that anybody will be coming forward at this point that wants to run a significant campaign because chances are if they are going to do that, they would have already have come forward,” she said.

The B.C. Liberal Party has organizers in the West Kootenay field that are talking to potential candidates, said Sam Oliphant, communications officer for the party.

Once the party is ready to move forward with a candidate, the name will be vetted through the local riding association, then a nomination meeting will be scheduled.

“We want to obviously have our candidates in the field as soon as possible, but we don’t have a specific date set,” Oliphant said.

Conroy said it will be hard for those who are stepping forward right now as a last minute candidate. There is a lot of work beforehand that needs to be done to stage an election campaign before the writ is even dropped.

“It’s not easy to run. For 28 days you are on the go, you are reaching out to people, talking to people, discussing the issues, talking about what your policies will be. You want to be prepared for that,” she said. “And you need the time to do it.”

Elections BC is conducting an enumeration and updating the voters list for the May 2013 Provincial General Election.

Register to vote or update your voter registration with the online voter registration system at https://eregister.electionsbc.gov.bc.ca/ovr/welcome.aspx.

General Voting Day for the next scheduled general election is  May 14. Voters must show identification to receive a ballot.

The types of identification that can be used are one document issued by the Government of B.C. or Canada that contains your name, photograph and residential address, such as a B.C. driver’s licence, B.C. Identification Card (BCID), or B.C. Services Card or two documents that contain the voter’s name. At least one of the documents must also contain the voter’s residential address.