With just three days until general voting day, candidates are making final pitches to voters and preparing to gather on Monday to watch the poll results. from Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo and across the country.
KTW reached out to the seven local candidates in the final days of the campaign and asked for their thoughts on the campaign, projections about who will win and any final words they have for voters.
KIRA CHEESEBOROUGH (ANIMAL PROTECTION):
Kira Cheeseborough is honest about her chances on election night, conceding she does not expect to win.
However, the youngest local candidate called her campaign “very successful,” noting she held her own in debates and turned the heads of those initially skeptical of her fringe party during speaking events on the campaign trail.
Whatever happens on Monday, however, it likely won’t be the last Kamloops residents see of the social work student in the political realm.
Cheeseborough said she plans to run in municipal, provincial and/or federal elections in the future, for which she has picked up tips since the beginning of this campaign. Next time, she said, she will start earlier and advertise.
“I think for my very first experience doing anything election-wise, it was great,” Cheeseborough said. “I learned so much since the start of the campaign. I know for next time things I could do better and things that I didn’t do at all.”
Most important to her during this election and, in the final days of the campaign, has been providing another perspective and pushing the issue of climate change.
Despite her odds, she is still asking voters to place an X beside her name on Monday.
“Make sure you’re voting for the future,” Cheeseborough said. “Not just now, not just what you’re used to. Vote for what you think will be lasting change.”
IAIN CURRIE (GREEN):
Iain Currie was gobbling up a 2 p.m. lunch on Wednesday between door-knocking when he was reached by KTW for his take on the campaign.
“It’s still going, but it’s going remarkably well, actually,” he said.
Currie predicted the Greens will place in the top two positions in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding, based on the continued energy of volunteers and those with whom he speaks while door-knocking.
As for the campaign nationwide, Currie said he has been disappointed by the focus on the leaders’ personalities — not issues. He thinks too much focus was spent on dissecting the “real” Justin Trudeau and who will win certain parts of Quebec.
“It’s been about the horse race,” Currie said.
He will be watching the results on Monday night at Red Collar downtown. Until then, he’s pushing his final message:
“We have a chance to do something remarkable in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo,” Currie said.
“To send a message that we’re tired of politics as usual. We’re tired of the same old half-measures and half-truths. We want real action on climate change.”
CYNTHIA EGLI (NDP):
NDP candidate Cynthia Egli said she she is thankful for her team and hope people see her as a progressive candidate they can believe in. She also said she was surprised that some candidates feel they have to attack others and tell “untruths” to win, but is grateful to have had this experience.
In retrospect, she would have preferred an earlier start to the campaign. Egli stepped up to the plate after two other NDP candidates resigned.
With an earlier start, she said she would have read more, talked to more people and attended special events across the riding during the summer.
“It was a real challenge jumping in at the last moment, but I really felt I had no choice if my daughters and their friends were to have a progressive candidate to vote for,” Egli said via email.
Egli plans to do more door-knocking this weekend and squeeze in some down time with her family and pet dogs.
Asked why voters should cast their ballot for her, Egli mentioned she is the only candidate with a master’s degree in leadership and has more than 1,000 hours of mediating disputes for the Ministry of the Attorney General. She added that the NDP is the only party that has a platform that truly covers a triple bottom line of social justice, the economy and the environment.
She said the NDP will bring in a Green New Deal, fair taxation and programs to make life better for ordinary Canadians, while arguing the Conservatives will cut services and the Liberals will delay on climate action.
KEN FINLAYSON (PEOPLE’S PARTY):
Ken Finlayson said it was a struggle to get exposure on the campaign trail, but overall, he felt it went well.
“But I have to say the community of Kamloops has been pretty fair,” he said.
Finlayson expressed his frustration and regret when looking back on a couple of infamous moments during the campaign — one in which he shared a controversial meme depicting climate change activist Greta Thunberg next to images of Nazi youth and campaign signs in Kamloops being spray painted with the letters “PPC.”
He said it was distressing that people thought he was making a moral equivalency between climate change activists and Nazis, noting his intention was that children should be protected from climate change alarmism.
He said he viewed the spray painting as a “juvenile ploy” by “some mental midget that’s trying to smear the PPC” and doesn’t think it hurt the campaign.
Looking ahead, Finlayson said he is not sure how he’ll do in the polls and, given the current political climate, doesn’t think anyone knows.
Citing election victories of Doug Ford in Ontario and Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. election, Finlayson said populism is on the rise, noting the PPC is a populist party.
“I think we’re in for a surprise,” he said, adding he thinks he can win the riding — and his yardstick for success in the campaign is a victory.
Finlayson said voters should cast a ballot for him because the PPC is “the only real alternative out there.
“The other mainstream parties are all pretty much singing from the same song sheet,” he said.
On election night, Finlayson plans to be at his Kamloops campaign office, downtown at 234 Victoria St. In the final days of the campaign, he will be knocking on doors.
“You got to make the effort,” he said.
PETER KEREK (COMMUNIST):
Peter Kerek predicts not much will change in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding on election night. In fact, he doesn’t believe any candidate has a chance of beating incumbent Conservative MP Cathy McLeod, a situation he called “awful” and one he blamed on the Liberal government’s broken electoral reform promise.
“Conservatives are just as happy with her [McLeod] now as they were in 2015, so I don’t see her base going down and I don’t see them jumping ship to go to the PPC [People’s Party of Canada],” Kerek said.
“Liberals and the Greens and the NDP, for that matter, are kind of fighting for a centrist vote. They’ll split it, like they often do. It probably won’t even be that close here and Cathy McLeod will get in with something like 35 per cent of the popular vote, with most people in this area voting against her, voting for anyone but her, but still getting her.”
For his part, Kerek has tried and said interactions he has had at forums throughout the campaign have been generally positive, with voters receptive to his progressive message. In the final days of the campaign, Kerek will be pounding the pavement in neighbourhoods where his message will be best received.
“Neighbourhoods that are in the lower socioeconomic status and folks who would benefit from the implementation of things like housing policies, food policies, employment policies, all the things that are desperately needed by Canada’s working class,” he said.
Kerek will be working Monday and does not plan to host an election night gathering.
TERRY LAKE (LIBERAL):
Terry Lake said he’s been humbled by the support of his team of volunteers when assessing his first federal campaign.
He said the campaign probably represents the most door-knocking and fundraising activity he has ever done, noting it is rewarding to see the commitment from his supporters.
Lake said he has no projection for how he will fare, but his measure of success is win or bust, noting the reason he ran was to prevent a Conservative government from forming in Ottawa.
“It’s obviously very close nationally and I really, firmly believe this is an election where many people are going to make up their mind just before they vote,” he said.
In the final days of the campaign, Lake said he will be urging supporters to get out and vote as the race looks to be a close one.
“You can’t leave any stone unturned in an election like this,” he said.
On election night, Lake and his supporters will be at the Delta Hotel, downtown on Victoria Street, watching the results come in.
He believes it could come down to B.C. to decide what party will form the next government, predicting a close race in Quebec and Ontario, a red-leaning Maritimes and blue across the Prairies.
Lake said he thinks there’s a good chance of a Liberal minority government or even a slim Grit majority government and hopes voters of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo vote for him as someone who has some influence with the prime minister and key people in the government.
“I think it’s been a while since we’ve had that kind of influence and I hope to be able to make that happen,” Lake said.
CATHY MCLEOD (CONSERVATIVE):
Cathy McLeod praised her team of volunteers, who she said worked their hearts out. She will spend her final days door-knocking and visiting as many seniors’ residences as possible, talking about a “critical election” for the country’s economic future and unity.
“There’s a lot of very difficult conversations that have been polarizing,” McLeod said, adding she is working to ensure Canadians come together.
Asked about the negative tone of this election — such as Conservative Leader Andrew Sheer’s attack of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau during his opening remarks of the English leader’s debate — McLeod objected to those singling out the Conservative Party.
“I take objection to someone saying tactics by Conservatives,” McLeod said. “I would say there have been lots of tactics played by other parties. We’ve had a number of debates together and discussion has been vigorous. For the most part, I think, teams have tried to be respectful of each other on a local basis.”
As for who will win on Monday night, McLeod didn’t want to take a guess. She plans to take in results from her campaign office, downtown on Seymour Street.
“This is in the hands of the voters,” McLeod said.