The federal Liberals are looking for a new candidate in Okanagan-Shuswap after their flag-bearer resigned. Buffy Baumbrough, who was elected the local candidate in March 2007, has decided to withdraw from the position so she can focus on her private business and Vernon city hall, where she has been a councillor since 2005. As a result, the riding association is looking for a new candidate in preparation for a federal election. “We just don’t know when the writ will be called and we need someone in place,” said Janna Francis, association president. “Already a couple of people have expressed interest and we will meet with them.” Francis is not sure when a nomination meeting may be held.
Baumbrough says resigning the Liberal candidacy was a difficult decision to make. “I still strongly support Stephane Dion and Liberal values and that hasn’t changed,” she said. “This was a personal thing and nothing to do with the Liberals.” The decision was made now because there will be a civic election in November, and a federal election could be called at any time. “It was important to make a clear decision now on whether I stay in local politics or go federal,” said Baumbrough, who is leaning towards seeking another council term. Baumbrough began to question her role in federal politics after attending a sustainable communities conference in Victoria. “If change is going to happen, it will be at the local level, and because sustainability is near and dear to me, if I stay local, I can be involved in effecting change,” she said. Baumbrough believes she has left the Liberal riding association sufficient time to find a new candidate. “I am confident they will have a good candidate and can move forward,” she said. “I want to thank the association and everyone involved. I received tremendous support from them.” According to Francis, she understands the reasons behind Baumbrough’s resignation. “Buffy will remain a member of the Liberal party, and will assist us with her expertise and passion on local issues,” said Francis.The remaining federal candidates in Okanagan-Shuswap are (current MP) Conservative Colin Mayes, Alice Brown with the NDP and Hugette Allen, representing the Green Party.