McLeod will carry Conservative flag

The federal Conservative party has once again nominating MP Cathy McLeod election in the fall of 2015.

By Cam Fortems

Kamloops This Week

The federal Conservative party is first out of the gates by once again nominating MP Cathy McLeod before an anticipated election in the fall of 2015.

Opposition parties in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding are in the midst of finding challengers.

The Conservatives said no challenger came forward in a bid to oust McLeod, who has held the seat since 2008.

She has never faced a nomination race, having been appointed by the party prior to her first election and running uncontested in 2011.

Incumbent MPs typically do not face nomination races unless they have run afoul of the party.

McLeod said the Conservatives are focused on governing the country while working in the background to prepare for the next federal election in October 2015.

The Conservatives are in the midst of nominating candidates in each of the country’s 338 ridings, some of them revamped since 2011.

That includes McLeod’s riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, which loses the community of Valemount, but is otherwise little changed.

Perennial NDP challenger Michael Crawford said he has not decided if he will run a fourth time.

The party’s local nomination committee is looking for candidates and is hoping to be given the go-ahead by federal New Democrats to hold a meeting by next month.

“We’d like to get it done before summer,” Crawford said. “The nomination period just opened in B.C.”

Crawford said he’s willing to step aside should a formidable candidate for the party emerge this spring.

“I think if there’s a strong candidate who comes forward that I’ll be happy to support, then I’ll jump on that train and make sure we win in 2015.”

Local Liberals are also seeking a candidate to represent the party in next year’s election and are targeting a nomination meeting by the end of summer.

“I expect there to be a race,” said Tyler Carpentier, president of the Kamloops Liberal riding association. “There’s definitely multiple people (interested) at this point.”

In the last federal election, the Liberal party captured under six per cent of the popular vote, barely besting the Greens.

But, Carpentier said, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has captured the public imagination since then.

“In January [2013], when Justin Trudeau was visiting, we had over 600 people at TRU for a guy who wasn’t even leader at that point,” Carpentier said.

“We’ve seen growth in our activity since then.”

Crawford said he expects the auditor general’s review of each senator’s spending will damage the fortunes of both the Conservatives and Liberals.

“That will come out in early 2015 and will play into the federal election,” he said.