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NDP confirm Wayne Stetski as Kootenay-Columbia candidate

Wayne Stetski has been confirmed as the NDP’s candidate in Kootenay-Columbia should a federal election be called.

A virtual nomination meeting was held by the party on Saturday, where Stetski was nominated and confirmed as the party’s local candidate, hoping to reclaim victory in the riding.

Serving as the Member of Parliament in Kootenay-Columbia from 2015 to 2019, Stetski lost to current Conservative MP Rob Morrison. Stetski then attempted to shift over to provincial politics with the BC NDP but lost to incumbent Liberal MLA Tom Shypitka. The former Mayor of Cranbrook from 2011 to 2014 is now hoping to return to Ottawa to represent constituents across the East and West Kootenays and upper Columbia.

“I live to serve and I have my entire life, I really like helping people who are having issues with the federal government – resolve those issues and we need to continue the work on making a better Canada,” Stetski told following his nomination. “It really was pretty simple, one of the best ways to do that is to once again be the Member of Parliament for Kootenay-Columbia.”

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According to Stetski, the NDP wanted to get a jump on their candidate confirmation in case a federal election is called in the coming weeks.

“The nomination is occurring now because, of course, we may be heading into a federal election as early as late spring. The Liberals are bringing down their first budget in two years on April the 19th,” said Stetski. “Depending on what’s in that budget, can then trigger – especially in a minority government situation of course – the opposition parties to vote against the budget. If that happens then it could trigger an election.”

“We wanted to be ready, it’s too important to leave to the last minute, there are so many things that we need to work on still here in Canada.”

Some of Stetski’s key issues he wants to tackle, if elected, would include the following:

  • COVID-19 pandemic
    • Vaccinations and economic recovery
  • Climate change
  • Proportional representation electoral system
  • Green economy
    • With the support of the energy industry
  • Social justice
    • Fighting racism
  • Seniors support
    • Long-term care
  • Universal pharmacare and dental care
  • Affordability
    • Housing
    • Child care
    • Post-secondary Education
  • Indigenous rights and reconciliation

When asked why he wanted to run again after two failed election cycles in 2019 and 2020 for the federal and provincial NDP, Stetski believes his track record speaks for itself.

“The people of Kootenay-Columbia now have an opportunity to look at our current Member of Parliament in terms of how he has performed around communication,” said Stetski. “I’ve had a number of people come to me asking for help because they weren’t getting it from our current Member of Parliament. There is no office in the West Kootenays yet, there is one constituency office and it’s here in Cranbrook.”

Stetski noted his efforts to help protect the Jumbo Valley (Qat’muk) as an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area, his efforts to secure $25-million in federal funding for Avalanche Canada, implementing the 20 horsepower regulation for boating on the Columbia River wetlands, and his service as Vice Chair of the House of Commons Environment Committee and Chair of the NDP Caucus for British Columbia Members of Parliament.

“There’s lots for the people of Kootenay-Columbia to look at and compare in terms of how they were served from 2015 to 2019, compared to how they’ve been served in the last 16 months.”

If a federal election is called, Wayne Stetski will be back on the ballot for the NDP in Kootenay-Columbia, with current Conservative MP Rob Morrison also slated to run for re-election.

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