Upshaw runs as Independent Conservative

  • Apr. 6, 2011 7:00 p.m.

The race to replace Conservative Stockwell Day as the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla in Ottawa has its first declared independent candidate, except for the fact that the person running  does not consider himself to be an independent.

Sean Upshaw said he instead considers himself to be an “Independent Conservative” in announcing that he would join the local race.

 It currently features Summerland resident David Finnis running for the New Democrats, former Summerland resident  Dan Bouchard running for the Greens, Ashcroft resident John Kidder running for the  Liberals and controversially, at least from Upshaw’s perspective, Penticton entrepreneur Dan Albas running for the federal Conservatives.   

Upshaw belongs to a trio of Conservative party members who have claimed that the process to nominate Albas suffered from serious flaws that in their opinion threaten democracy and the integrity of the party. 

While Albas and others around him including Day himself have denied charges that party insiders had rigged the nomination process, the accusations have led to the public resignation of local Conservative fundraiser Mischa Popoff as well as national media coverage. 

Upshaw, a long-time real estate agent, said what he called “party insiders” prevented local party members from holding an open nomination process. 

Constitutions, on the other hand, deserve “honest” representation in Ottawa, said Upshaw in explaining his decision to run as an independent. 

Had the nomination process unfolded in an “ethical manner,” Upshaw believes he would have a legitimate chance in representing the party during the federal election underway.

Much of the criticism coming from Upshaw and the other would-be candidates centres on what they consider to be a deliberate lack of information from local party officials in charge of the nomination process.

Upshaw claims on his website that party officials left him and others with the impression that they could simply submit their documents to the riding president by the afternoon of Thursday, March 17. 

“They were left with the impression that this was all that was required to fulfill the (application) process,” Upshaw writes. 

Nowhere did the package mention that nomination applications along with other documents had to have arrived in Ottawa by 2 p.m. Friday, March 18, said Upshaw, thus leaving him and others scrambling to get the documents in on time. 

According to his website, Upshaw actually considered flying the documents to Ottawa himself. 

Upshaw acknowledged “some truth” to the suggestion that the process was bound to feature difficulties in light of Day’s sudden announcement that he would step from elected politics on the eve of a federal election. 

But Upshaw insists that he is not a sore loser who is running out of spite.

The process leading to Albas nomination was “obviously flawed,” something he was not willing to accept in light of his personal principles, said Upshaw.

“If the process was flawed, the candidate was flawed,” he said.

As for specific positions, Upshaw promised that he would support the Conservative agenda as outlined by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, if elected to Ottawa, as he remains a Conservative, if he might not run under the banner of the party.

“I have a (Conservative) message and I would like to be that messenger who takes it to Ottawa,” he said.

 

Nor does he think that his run would split the right of centre vote. “Dan Albas should be more concerned about splitting the vote,” he said.