A Summerland councillor is putting her name forward as a provincial New Democratic Party candidate.
“I feel it is time for a change from the B.C. Liberal government and the NDP is the party to make that change,” said Toni Boot. “I would like to offer my contribution to that effort.”
The decision is a departure from an earlier statement by Boot.
In her councillor’s report at the May 9 meeting, she said she was not intending to run for a provincial government role.
“I was elected to fulfill my term here for four years as a councillor of Summerland, and that’s fully what I intend to do,” she said at the time.
She was elected to Summerland’s municipal council in November, 2014. She was elected with 2,819 votes, to lead the 16 candidates in the election.
A total of 4,428 ballots were cast in that election.
Boot said the decision to now put her name forward for a provincial role came in part because of the concerns about the future of Summerland’s elementary schools earlier this year.
“I felt very frustrated with not being able to have a voice in a decision that had a huge impact on our community,” she said.
“There was little I could do to influence a decision about a school closure, resulting from inadequate provincial funding, that was potentially devastating for our community.”
Trout Creek Elementary School in Summerland and West Bench Elementary School were slated for closure in an attempt to trim the Okanagan Skaha School District’s budget.
In late June, the school district was able to keep both schools open as new funding was approved.
Boot said other issues at the provincial level are also relevant locally.
These include the Agricultural Land Reserve and decisions affecting food security, and relations with First Nations in British Columbia.
“The policies and the legislation are set by the provincial government,” she said.
Boot, a Jamberry representative, was also the founder and operator of Grasslands Nursery. Before that, she owned Kettle Valley Dried Fruits in Summerland. She has also taught computer and horticultural courses at Okanagan College.
Boot’s decision to put her name forward does not guarantee her name will be on the ballot in the next provincial election.
The New Democratic Party will make its decision on the candidate late November.