Local PC hopeful withdraws

Rossland's Stephen Hill withdrew as a nominee last week, leaving only candidates from Penticton and Kelowna seeking Conservative candidacy

With only one West Kootenay hopeful remaining in the nomination race for the next federal election, the region’s interests could end up being represented by a candidate out of the Okanagan.

Rossland’s Stephen Hill, a Conservative candidate in the 2011 election, officially withdrew as a nominee last week, leaving Penticton’s Marshall Neufeld and Jason Cox, and Rick deJong from Kelowna to fight for the PC candidacy in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay (SOWK) riding next month.

Hill thanked supporters and stated the current nomination conflicts with personal obligations.

That leaves Margaret Maximenko, an NDP hopeful from Christina Lake, as the lone representative within 100 km of Greater Trail seeking a candidacy with a federal political party in the upcoming election.

The former regional district director became an NDP potential nominee last November after NDP MP Alex Atamanenko announced he would not seek federal re-election.

Since the NDP officially opened its nomination period May 1, Penticton’s Dick Cannings became the second contender, and either he or Maximenko will be selected as SOWK party candidate within the next few weeks following an NDP nomination meeting.

“We are waiting for coordination of nomination efforts in the rest of the country and especially B.C.,” noted Vince Salvo, NDP riding president. “We hope to hold a nomination meeting…within the next several weeks,” Salvo continued. “The word I have received is that between the four by-elections and an unexpected number of people seeking to run for the NDP that staff has been bogged down.”

Gordon Neish, the Liberal riding association president, said the party has one potential nominee and she is currently undergoing the vetting process.

Each candidate is subject to a national and provincial review of credentials to ensure they are eligible to seek at position within a political party.

Liberal nominee Connie Denesiuk, is a Summerland-based former school trustee with ties to the West Kootenay, according to Neish.

“We are hoping she is through the process this week but she was just visiting in the area of Rossland and Trail a few days ago,” he said.

“We don’t have an actual nomination date just yet,” he added. “But it’ll happen some time this summer.”

The Green Party hasn’t announced a nominee in the SOWK district to date, but riding president Celeste Kitchen said possible future candidates can still step forward.

The 42nd Canadian federal election is tentatively scheduled for October 19, 2015, in accordance with the Canada Election Act which requires that a general election be held on the third Monday of October in the fourth calendar year following polling day for the last general election.