Denesiuk to seek federal Liberal role

Former school trustee Connie Denesiuk will seek the nomination as the Liberal candidate in the new South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding.

Former school trustee Connie Denesiuk will seek the nomination as the Liberal candidate in the new South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding.

The newly created riding includes Penticton and communities in the South Okanagan, but not Summerland, where Denesiuk lives.

A former federal Conservative, Denesiuk said she believes the Conservative party has strayed from its roots.

She was concerned after a 400-page omnibus bill was passed by Prime Minister’s majority Conservative government. Because of its size, it did not allow for enough debate and discussion on items within the bill.

The robocall scandal following the last federal election has also disturbed Denesiuk.

“I was outraged that people were sent to the wrong riding to vote,” she said.

Bill 23, the Fair Elections Act, also has Denesiuk concerned.

“The Fair Elections Act is anything but fair,” she said. “I believe that all Canadians should have a fair and democratic vote, in a process that is absent of advantages for any political party.”

In past federal elections, South Okanagan voters have traditionally elected Conservative candidates, but Denesiuk said the outcome of the vote in the new riding is up to the voters.

“This is a chance for people to take a serious look at who they want to represent them.” she said.

Denesiuk said the economy of the region, with an eight per cent unemployment rate, is a priority.

Environmental stewardship and financial accountability are also important to her as a candidate.

Denesiuk was a school trustee with the Summerland School Board and later with the Okanagan Skaha School Board.

She served as board chair for nine of those 19 years and was president of the B.C. School Trustees’ Association and a director of the Canadian School Board Association from 2008 to 2011.

She is vice-chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors, chair of the Trail of the Okanagans steering committee, a director of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce and Summerland Credit Union and on the leadership board at Summerland Baptist Church.

She and her husband Bob have operated a construction business since 1980.

In 2012, she sought the provincial Liberal nomination to represent the riding of Penticton.