Published: May 09, 2009 12:00 PM Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star
The fate of Vernon-Monashee’s six candidates will soon be in the hands of voters. Polls in Tuesday’s provincial election run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and those individuals listed on the ballot are waiting to see what occurs after a month of intense campaigning. “I don’t know how it will end up. There is a lot of disinterest,” said Green candidate Huguette Allen of what she is hearing from residents. “There seems to have been less in the media but our office has been visible and people are coming in.” Allen is convinced that many Vernon-Monashee voters are receptive to the Green message. “I’d like to win because it would be a third voice in the Legislature that could work with the Liberals or the NDP,” she said.
R.J. Busch admits it took some time to explain what the Refederation Party stands for, but he believes people were open to the platform. “I encourage people to vote for the party they want and don’t just vote NDP because they don’t want the Liberals to get back in,” he said. “If people vote for what they believe in, we can win hands down.”
Independent Gordon Campbell has ran many times before, and he says there was a significant lack of public participation in this election.“Voters are unhappy with the electoral system and the currently party politics,” he said. Campbell continues to push for voter options. “Eventually I want a new ballot with a yes and no beside each candidate’s name and a none-of-the-above at the bottom of the ballot,” he said.
Liberal Eric Foster has been busy over the past month, and he believes residents are looking for consistent government. “We have had great support with the door-knocking and meeting people downtown. I have been talking to a lot of people and they seem to be listening,” he said. Foster says a common theme during his campaigning has been the recession. “The folks here see the concern across the province about the economy and we are the best ones to pull it through,” he said. “The party and the government have done a good job and we are running on that record.”
Mark Olsen, with the NDP, is adamant that the public is getting tired of the Liberal government. “We are getting the message out and people are hearing that we’re trying to get back what we are losing in terms of privatization of rivers and electricity,” he said. And while Olsen hopes to win the election, he admits the actual outcome is uncertain. “It will be very tight across the province and locally. I hope enough people will grab on to our message,” he said.
For Conservative Dean Skoreyko, he has experienced a common trend through the campaign. “People are grateful that there is an alternative to vote for,” he said, adding that there is a possibility that his party could top the polls locally Tuesday. “As the vote break-down happens, there is an opportunity for people to turn away from the Liberals and the NDP. But if we don’t do it this time, next time we’ll be in there.”
Vernon-Monashee polling stations on Tuesday are located at BX Elementary, Cherryville Community Hall, Clarence Fulton Secondary, Coldstream Elementary, Kalamalka Secondary, Lavington Elementary, Mabel Lake Community Hall, Paddlewheel Park Hall, Schubert Centre, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Vernon Japanese Cultural Centre, Vernon Recreation Complex Centre, Vernon Secondary School and the White Valley Community Centre. Voters will also mark the ballot on whether or not the province should adopt a new electoral system - BC-STV.