Sharp confident after getting Conservative nomination
There's a third name to watch in the battle for Kamloops-South Thompson.
About 60 people turned out to a B.C. Conservative nomination meeting on Feb. 21, with another 20 party members mailing in votes.
Their pick is former city councillor and Mountie Peter Sharp, who scored a decisive victory over Maria Dobi, who ran for the party in 2009.
Sharp said he feels good about his chances against Liberal newcomer Todd Stone and NDP candidate Tom Friedman, who ran unsuccessfully for the party in 2009.
"I think I can compete with the other two candidates with no problem, because there's a number of issues going on with regards to the Liberal Party and its government, and I think people are looking for a change," he said.
"There needs to be something new. And people haven't forgotten what happened when the NDP last got office."
Sharp said both parties have poor fiscal records. The NDP "left the economy in shambles," and the Liberals have only added to the province's deficit.
"They [Liberals] say they've balanced the budget, but in order to do that they've had to sell off some of our assets and raise taxes and even the Medical Services Premiums they've raised by four per cent," Sharp said.
While this iteration of the Conservative party is relatively new on the scene, Sharp said that may be an advantage rather than a handicap this election cycle.
"I think there's an opportunity for a new party that has no baggage to carry to come in and say, 'We need to change things here,'" he said.
And, he added, there is some historical precedent for Conservative success.
"When the Liberals first came to office they were not even in contention, and yet they jumped in with 17 seats first time around," Sharp said, referring to the party's resurgence in 1991.
Sharp said he plans to offer voters increased transparency from their government, and a commitment to reducing the deficit.
"I don't think it's necessarily by cutting, but by spending better and not lavishing it out on the party-politics scene," he said.
While the Conservatives in Kamloops-North Thompson have yet to announce any nomination candidates, regional director Al Forseth said at least one person will step forward once their paperwork is processed.
That could be as soon as Monday, Feb. 25.