The field appears to be set, with six challengers vying to be the member of Parliament from Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo in Canada’s 43rd federal election, which will be held on Oct. 21.
Incumbent Conservative MP Cathy McLeod is seeking her fourth term, noting unfinished business for her, including the building of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and continued work on First Nations files, as she is her party’s Indigenous Affairs critic.
Looking to unseat the longstanding MP is political heavyweight Terry Lake, who, after months of speculation, was acclaimed as the federal Liberal candidate.
The former Kamloops mayor and B.C. minister of health said he chose to enter the race because he feels there’s more work to be done combatting the opioid crisis.
He said he also wants to help maintain the progress he has seen the Liberal government make in areas such as climate change, Indigenous reconciliation and the economy.
Care-aide worker Gina Myhill-Jones, who is from the 100 Mile House area, was acclaimed by the New Democratic Party.
She said too many people have been left behind and ignored by the Conservatives and the Liberals, opining that Canadians need a government that is fair, transparent and honest.
Kamloops lawyer Iain Currie, who has worked on a number of prominent homicide cases, was acclaimed as the Green candidate. He said environmental issues spurred him to enter the race.
Maxime Bernier’s fledging People’s Party of Canada acclaimed Lac la Hache rancher Ken Finlayson as its candidate.
Finlayson cited “division, uncertainty and suffocating government regulations” as factors in his decision to run as the PPC candidate, noting he agrees with the party’s policies.
Kamloops resident Peter Kerek was acclaimed the Communist Party of Canada’s candidate.
Kerek, a school bus driver in Kamloops, said he decided to run because the other parties support capitalism and believes there needs to be opposition to the capitalist system.
Both men have past political experience — Finlayson ran as an independent candidate in the Saskatchewan riding of Battlefords-Lloydminster in a 2017 byelection and Kerek was the Kamloops-North Thompson Communist candidate in the 2017 provincial election.
The six candidates make it the largest field of candidates vying for the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo seat since the riding was created in 2004 from boundary changes among adjacent constituencies.
The election campaign can begin as early as 50 days and as late as 26 days ahead of the election, which means the writ will drop between Sept. 1 to 15.
To vote in a federal election, a person must be registered on the list of electors. People can register at the polls when they go to vote, but if registered in advance, they will receive a voter information card in the mail when the federal election is called. The voter information card explains when, where and the ways to vote.
To check if they are registered or to update address information, residents can go online to https://ereg.elections.ca/CWelcome.aspx?lang=e.
The Liberals hold a majority government with 177 MPs among the country’s 338 ridings.
The Conservatives are the official opposition with 97 seats in Parliament. The New Democrats are third with 41 seats. The Bloc Quebecois has 10 seats, while the Greens have two seats. People’s Party Leader Bernier holds one seat, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation has one seat, seven seats are held by independents and two seats are vacant.
In the 2015 federal election, McLeod withstood strong campaigns from NDP candidate Bill Sundhu and Liberal candidate Steve Powrie en route to being re-elected.
McLeod received 24,595 votes (35 per cent), compared to Sundhu’s 21,466 (31 per cent) and Powrie’s 21,215 (30 per cent).
Voter turnout was 73 per cent, with 70,000 of the eligible 95,000 voters casting ballots in the riding.