As expected, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Gov. Gen. Mary Simon on Sunday and she granted his request to dissolve Parliament, a decision that kickstarted a 36-day election campaign, with voters going to the polls on Sept. 20.
It will be the first federal election held during a pandemic — with the 17-month ordeal seeing cases rising, mainly among the unvaccinated, due to the delta variant — although five provinces, including B.C., and the Yukon have gone to polls amid this pandemic.
At dissolution, the governing Liberals held 155 seats, followed by the Conservatives with 119, the Bloc Quebecois with 32, the NDP with 24, the Greens with two. Five seats were held by independents and one seat was vacant.
In Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, four-term MP Cathy McLeod has decided against seeking re-election, with Frank Caputo winning a four-person race to succeed her as Conservative nominee.
Other confirmed candidates are Bill Sundhu for the NDP, Corraly Delwo for the People’s Party of Canada, Jesse McCormick for the Liberals and Iain Currie for the Greens.
Four of the five confirmed candidates to date — Caputo, Currie, McCormick and Sundhu — are lawyers.
On Aug. 7, the Liberals announced that George Petel had been acclaimed as their candidate locally, but he withdrew four days later, citing a desire to focus on work and family.
Caputo has cited local priorities such as safe streets, accountability and transparency in his bid to be MP, arguing Trudeau’s Liberal government has long ignored the area covered by the Kamloops- Thompson-Cariboo riding.
Caputo served as president of the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding association until he stepped down to seek the nomination.
Delwo won a two-person battle for the nomination and said she is committed to representing urban and rural residents of the riding, along with forming partnerships with, and being an advocate for, First Nations in the riding.
McCormick cited the need for a thriving economy, while ensuring there is environmental protection and climate action.
He was director of rights implementation at the office of the minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada from December 2019 to June of this year.
Prior to that, he spent almost four years with the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change. In his role as the department’s director of Indigenous relations and regulatory affairs, McCormick visited Kamloops in 2016 as part of the Ajax mine proposal, which was later rejected by the provincial and federal governments.
Sundhu was the first candidate to be confirmed in the riding, having been acclaimed by the NDP on April 8.
Sundhu said his post-pandemic recovery focus will be on better incomes and jobs, health care and making life more affordable, such as housing, child care, student debt and protecting the environment.
He was the NDP candidate in the 2015 federal election, finishing second to incumbent Conservative MP Cathy McLeod, who won by about 3,000 votes.
Sundhu earned a master’s degree in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University and is counsel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands.
He also serves on the University of British Columbia board of governors.
Currie was also the Green candidate in 2019. He said he ran then to address the climate crisis and to push for reform of Canada’s economy and political systems. Today, Currie said, those issues are even more urgent .
Currie is running even though he has labelled the election “foolish and unnecessary,” called “for purely selfish political gain at a time when our community is on fire, battling a fourth wave of COVID-19 and struggling to come to terms with the horror of hundreds of unmarked graves of children at the residential school.”
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
Watch for candidate profiles contact information and election forum details in future print editions of KTW and online at kamloopsthisweek.com.