Former Kootenay-Columbia MP, Wayne Stetski has his hat back in the ring to be the NDP’s candidate for the riding should a federal election be called in 2021.
Stetski, who was the MP for the riding between 2015 and 2019 before being ousted by current Conservative MP Rob Morrison, said that the local branch of the party had forwarded his name to the federal NDP for vetting.
As the former MP and the NDP candidate for the provincial riding of Kootenay East in last year’s B.C. election, Stetski has an advantage as someone that’s already been heavily vetted.
“I know my (Federal Parliament) colleagues would like to see me back,” he said.
Stetski said the federal NDP has plans to have up to 240 candidates lined up by the end of March for any potential election to be held this year, and if he is among them he already has a lot on his agenda.
Stetski said that while there was a lot of discussion among pundits that a Spring election could be around the corner, he wasn’t so sure.
“I think given the way things have gone for the Liberal government in the last few weeks – the Governor General, the vaccine issues, KeystoneXL – I’m thinking now it will more likely be a Fall election.”
He took a swing at the current MP’s performance without saying as much, implying that he believed he was in a strong position going by his own track record.
“The folks living in Kootenay-Columbia will decide on what kind of a job they think the current MP is doing – that’s very important, and a decision that the people living in the riding ultimately will make,” he said.
Besides that, he said that as a possible NDP candidate, he’d want to bring together progressive voters from all parties.
“By progressive I mean people who believe we should be fighting climate change, we should support proportional representation voting, and that social justice is important.”
Stetski said that the federal NDP was in a strong position for an election, saying that voters could look to what the party had achieved for Canadians through the pandemic given the minority Liberal government needed their support for many policies which had proven popular – such as the CERB, the 75 per cent wage subsidy, paid sick leave, better rent support and other measures that were designed to lighten the impact of COVID-19.
“The party has been able to get a lot of things for people right across Canada including here in the Kootenays.”
Beyond the pandemic, Stetski said he was keen for the NDP to push forward with priorities around tackling climate changed, campaigning for proportional representation and increasing discussion on how Canada can shift to a green economy.
“(There) hasn’t really been provincial or national conversation on how do we get (to a green economy) and protect peoples livelihoods and protect their jobs within the industries that they’re currently involved in,” he said.
Whether Stetski has been selected as the NDP’s pick for Kootenay Columbia will be revealed in the near future.
At the Jan. 30 AGM for the Kootenay-Columbia NDP, members approved four resolutions to forward to the NDP convention: Declaring a climate and environmental emergency, encouraging NDP and Green Party collaboration, providing income support for election candidates in order to encourage political involvement of the financially disadvantaged, and enabling job sharing for members of parliament to make it easier for parents with children to work as MPs.
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