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Trio forms coalition in bid for Kamloops council seats

Dennis Giesbrecht, Caroline King and Darpan Sharma are pooling their resources
Giesbrecht King Sharma

A trio of councillor candidates has created an informal coalition.

Dennis Giesbrecht, Caroline King and Darpan Sharma have launched joint campaign advertising and will soon release a platform on which they intend to vote together, should they be elected in the Oct. 15 municipal election.

The trio is not registering as an official political party with Elections BC, but instead will remain primarily independent. Giesbrecht said the candidates would not vote together on every issue.

“We have some pretty vigorous discussions already on things that we see a little differently,” he said, adding a half-dozen “common sense ideas” they think the city needs would be jointly voted upon.

“After that, it’s not a coalition. It’s every person for themselves and they absolutely have to vote with their conscience.”

Giesbrecht, a 52-year-old semi-retired industrial inspector who has run unsuccessfully for the BC Conservative Party and council in the past, said he met King growing up in Logan Lake in the 1980s and has been friends with Sharma for the past four years, having run in similar circles.

Sharma — a 41-year-old rental property owner who has never run for politics — has worked behind the scenes for the Conservative Party of Canada and has helped on campaigns for former MP Cathy McLeod, as well as Giesbrecht’s previous council campaign.

Sharma said the trio shares desire to see increased accountability, fiscal responsibility, ethics and transparency at city hall. Although their platform will not be released until early September, street issues, city hall spending and in-camera meetings were cited as concerns.

Sharma said the three candidates are also vowing to serve on council for a maximum of two terms. He said he has had bad experiences with incumbents who have served for too long and criticized what he called “career politicians” at the municipal level.

“Maybe a second term, but that’s it,” he said. “Then we want to move on with our life.”

King, 53, also ran unsuccessfully in the past for council. She said there are problems she would like to see addressed, including street issues.

King said she volunteers her time, working with street people and seniors, and with her husband operates a mobile repair business serving the agricultural industry throughout the Interior.

King said it made sense to share costs between the three candidates for advertising and she believes teaming up shows the public the trio is serious when it comes to fiscal responsibility. The cost of advertisements currently seen on BC Transit buses in Kamloops, for example, was split three ways.

“There’s not really a better way to show fiscal responsibility than starting right out of the gate, right?” King said. “And it really reduces the costs, holy smokes.”