Penticton MLA Dan Ashton seeking federal nomination

Penticton MLA Dan Ashton. Global News

A longtime Okanagan politician is leaving the provincial scene and hopes to change three letters to two: MLA to MP.

On Friday, Dan Ashton, the MLA for Penticton, announced that he’s seeking the Conservative Party nomination for the riding of South Okanagan-Similkameen-West Kootenay.

Currently, the NDP own the federal seat, though Richard Cannings announced in September that he won’t be seeking re-election as the area’s MP. He was first elected in 2015, then was re-elected in 2019 and 2021.

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NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh talks cost of living in Penticton

That riding is the only NDP seat in B.C.’s Southern Interior, with Conservatives representing the rest.

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This week’s announcement comes just weeks after Ashton said in December that he was stepping away from provincial politics and wouldn’t seek re-election as Penticton’s MLA.

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He described the move as a “difficult decision,” adding he was grateful to those he’s met along his political run and that the party “accomplished a lot over the years.”

On Friday, Global News spoke to Ashton — who was also a former city council and mayor of Penticton before becoming an MLA in 2013 — about his decision.

Ashton said after 11 years of B.C. politics, he was going to take some time off “and I was deluged by people asking me to consider (running federally).”

Click to play video: 'MP Richard Cannings takes issue with Pierre Poilievre comments'
MP Richard Cannings takes issue with Pierre Poilievre comments

“After some soul-searching and talking to my kids, who are 100 per cent behind me, I thought I’m bringing a lot forward,” said Ashton.

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“After all my years of being involved in local politics — by the way, I really don’t like politics; most people know that I like governance and I like to work with people — I have a good track record of getting things done.”

The next federal election is slated for October 2025.

Ashton said “governments get stale. We all know that. After they get stale, you need new invigoration and new people coming in to try and make those changes. I think the current government has had a good run at things. I think it’s now time to let somebody else come in and try and do something different.”

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