It was an informal gathering at Thelma and Mel Schmidt’s home in Barriere on Feb. 4, where area residents were invited to meet the Kamloops-North Thompson NDP MLA candidate Kathy Kendall, and Norm McDonald, MLA for Columbia Revelstoke. A very nice breakfast was served up by the Schmidts, and was obviously enjoyed by those present.
Kendall and McDonald’s schedule for the day included a visit to Clearwater as well, and they were chauffeured on their trip up the valley by federal NDP candidate Michael Crawford, who is familiar with the area and its residents from previous visits.
McDonald was elected in May 2005 and re-elected in 2009. He is the opposition’s critic for Forestry and chair of the Rural Caucus. He has taught for more than 15 years in the Columbia Valley and also spent six years teaching in Africa. Norm spoke briefly to the people attending and invited questions and comments from them.
In the relaxed atmosphere of a private home, the people felt comfortable taking part in discussions with the politicians, talking about future hopes and concerns for the community, as well as where they wanted to see changes that would make a difference, especially for seniors and rural residents. McDonald addressed those points, saying, “We believe rural areas must retain their decision making rights and a strong voice in Victoria is necessary to achieve that goal; and we want rural residents to have access to all available opportunities in their lives.”
Candidate Kendall stated, “I am very excited to be part of the NDP team, and to be working for the people in the Kamloops-North Thompson. I have been an NDP member for a long time, and the party has the values I do. I am prepared to work hard for my constituents, to bring about the changes that will benefit them.
Kendall is a lawyer in Kamloops, now working only in Legal Aid. “I work on an individual basis with low income people. I know we have to do better and I believe that can be done by working with the NDP toward a better life for all British Columbians, not only for the well to do. We are an effective opposition and we have a group that has worked hard and we are prepared to go forward, to effect needed changes toward a better government.”
After the days touring was completed Kendall said, “I am pleased with this meeting in Barriere, the people are involved in their community. I need to spend more time with people in Barriere to get to know each other, and I will do it the old fashioned way by going door to door.
“I am asking for your help, from the ground up. I spent a great day meeting residents of Barriere and Clearwater. It is pretty clear that Christy Clark is ignoring the needs of the folks in the Kamloops-North Thompson, its time for a government that leaves no one out. It was great to be with people who do the work within the NDP who are doing the work I am aspiring to do.”