While the two incumbent Conservatives are taking back their seats in Parliament for both Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola (COSN) and Kelowna-Lake Country, the losing candidates are still proud of what they brought to the table.
COSN Federal NDP candidate Joan Phillips is satisfied with her campaign and the results. Phillips spent election night at home with her supporters and planned a Zoom meeting for everyone associated with her campaign.
“I knew it would be a long shot because this area has always been quite Conservative,” she said in an interview with Black Press. “But I don’t think it was a wasted effort.”
Phillips said the party’s stand on climate change, affordable living and increasing taxation for the wealthy resonated with many voters.
“I think people are afraid to change…What we did is that we raised the profile of a lot of issues and history will prove us right.”
COSN Liberal candidate Sarah Eves echoed similar sentiments, saying she is proud that she was able to meet so many new people. “I think my favourite part is advocating for people and finding the resources they need or connecting them to the right people,” she said.
But Eves said it was tough to engage young voters this election season and urges Canadians to work together to achieve real change. She also hopes that a youth council will be formed in the riding.
“If we’re not talking about these issues when it’s not election time, then it’s particularly hard to engage people during an election. I would hope that whoever is MP will start wondering how we can really engage the youth demographic in this very diverse riding,” she said.
Kelowna-Lake Country Green Party candidate Imre Szeman, however, said he is disappointed with the election. While he is proud of his campaign, Szeman said many voters in the riding have been voting strategically instead of what they believe in.
“I think strategic voting is always a mistake. This is why we are bouncing back from Liberal to Conservative and vice versa. I don’t think it gets the electorate that they want,” said Szeman.
But Szeman said that he appreciates the opportunity to get to know the riding. He said he ran not to win but to get his ideas on climate change out there. “I am frustrated by the election, but I hope my campaign has an outcome, which sends some kind of signal that the government has to be more active on a number of issues,” he said.
In his concession speech, Kelowna-Lake Country Liberal candidate Tim Krupa congratulated Conservative Tracy Gray after the hard-fought campaign.
“We knocked on a lot of doors and talked to a lot of residents in the community,” he said.
“They want action on climate change; they want more affordable housing and child care …. so, I know there is an appetite for progressive liberal values and I would have been advocating for them.”