We always say most Canadians are NDP supporters, they just don’t know it yet, claims Richard Cannings, the New Democrat candidate for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay (SOWK).
With current NDP MP Alex Atamanenko in the Netherlands to observe the country’s 70th anniversary of liberation, the Trail Times asked Cannings, who was in Trail Wednesday, for some insight about the NDP’s historic toppling of the Progressive Conservatives in Alberta’s provincial election.
In the newly formed SOWK, the Okanagan region that Cannings hails from has been traditionally Conservative. Which leads to the question, could an orange wave wash through the West Kootenay and Okanagan region during October’s federal election?
“I think it (Alberta’s election) bodes well for NDP across the country simply because it opens people’s minds to realize we could have an NDP government,” he said. “They told us we couldn’t win in Quebec, but we won in Quebec in the last federal election. They also told us we could never win Alberta and look what happened.”
He said the NDP is positioned better than it ever has been to form the federal government, now being the official opposition with over 100 MPs in Parliament.
“Again in Alberta, the NDP were way back in third place and Albertans realized they were the best choice for their government,” noted Cannings. “And I think that’s really opened a lot of people’s eyes.”
Cannings, an Okanagan based biologist and ecologist, was knocking on doors in the Silver City Wednesday afternoon and meeting the riding’s new constituents.
“I am well known in the Okanagan where I grew up and have been spending a lot of time there,” he said, noting the region’s Conservative history. “But I am confident we can break through.”
He mentioned his run in the provincial election when the NDP increased party votes significantly, tying with the Liberals.
“If we can repeat that performance, we have a very good chance of victory in the fall in this new riding,” Cannings continued.
“But that also depends on getting our vote in the West Kootenay, which is a friendly part of the riding for the NDP. That’s why I want to talk to ask many people as possible, so they can get to know me and will get out and vote come October.”