Four days after declaring a candidate for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo in the upcoming federal election, the Liberals have switched candidates.
Jesse McCormick, of Kamloops, has been declared the new candidate for the riding, replacing George Petel, 50, who had initially been acclaimed last week, in the race for the seat out of outgoing MP Cathy McLeod in the federal election Sept. 20. Petel has said he wants to focus on work and family.
The Liberals are up against Conservative candidate Frank Caputo, a Crown prosecutor, and the NDP’s Bill Sundu, a lawyer and former provincial court judge.
McCormick called for the public’s support for the Liberals in this election, noting in a media release that “we are facing the unprecedented challenge of keeping our families and communities safe from extreme wildfires during a global pandemic. We have all been impacted and we are all in this together.”
An Anishinaabe who is married with two children, McCormick said he is passionate about building a better Canada – “one that is inclusive, fair and responsive to the needs of the most vulnerable” and continuing to build strong relationships with Indigenous Peoples.
As a lawyer who worked on some of the “largest infrastructure projects in our country including projects in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, McCormick has also worked at the Federal Court of Canada, the United Nations and on Parliament Hill, as well as a labourer, manufacturer, dishwasher and Zamboni driver.
“I know what a hard day of work feels like whether it is in a plant, behind a counter or on endless hours of virtual meetings,” he said in a media release.
“Most importantly, I have worked at the heart of decision making in Ottawa and I know and understand how to make change happen.”
Caputo, 42, has lived most of his life in Kamloops and said he feels privileged to have been born in the riding. When not working as a lawyer, Caputo teaches part-time at TRU’s law school. To help the riding, Caputo said he wants to focus on healthcare and see more federal dollars be put into creating jobs for doctors in rural and smaller communities. While he hasn’t run for office before, Caputo sees this as a plus as it will allow him to bring a fresh new voice to the political stage.
Sundhu, who has spent the past 25 years in Kamloops, calls himself a “son of the Cariboo,” having grown up in Williams Lake, where he also practiced law, and spent much of his youth in Lac La Hache and 100 Mile House, working in lumber mills to pay for his university education. Sundhu previously ran in the riding in 2015, coming in second to McLeod with 21,466 votes.
“I believe we’re at a crucial crossroads in our country,” Sundhu told the Free Press in an interview earlier this year, noting the pandemic has led to inequities across the region in terms of the economy, healthcare and environment. “We feel there’s a good base here but it requires a good candidate and a good team. The decisions we make today will affect us for decades.”
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