In 2009: Liberal Steve Thomson, replacing longtime MLA Sindi Hawkins, easily won this seat, defeating NDP candidate Tisha Kalmanovich by nearly 6000 votes, 54-26%.
History & Geography: Created in 2001, Kelowna-Mission comprises of virtually all of Kelowna south of Highway 97 (with the exception of a small area near Okanagan Lake), including the Mission. It has changed in size and name as the Okanagan has grown, but has solidly voted for the Social Credit and Liberal parties for decades, never once voting NDP. Kelowna-Lake Country is part of the old Okanagan South riding, which former premiers W.A.C. and Bill Bennett held between them for 45 years.
Population: 58090 (17th)
Size: 172 km (43rd)
Density: 337.7 people/km (42nd)
Odds and Ends: Over 9000 people people over the age of 70 live in this riding – the sixth largest number in the province.
Liberals-Steve Thomson: The Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, Thomson is the former executive director of the BC Agriculture Council, and has been general manager of the BC Fruit Growers Association and the BC Milk Producers Association. He played for the Canadian National Rugby Team, and his still helps to operate his family farm, which was established in 1896.
NDP-Tish Lakes: A non-profit director, Lakes was brought in to run for the NDP after their initial candidate, Dayleen Van Ryswyk, was forced to resign. She ran for the NDP in neighbouring Westside-Kelowna in 2009, but lost by nearly 5000 votes to Liberal Ben Stewart.
Conservatives-Mike McLoughlin: A businessman, McLoughlin is co-owner of the Medi-Kel Clinics, and runs a marketing company in the Okanagan. He was also executive director of the Central Okanagan United Way. A fifth-generation British Columbian, Mike has lived in Kelowna for the past 25 years. He has a Bachelor of Science degree (Geophysics) from the University of California and a MBA from the University of British Columbia.
Independent-Dayleen Van Ryswyk: A businesswoman, Van Ryswyk is the founder of Okanagan Koi, a water garden retail store. She was born in the Yukon and describes herself as an environmental advocate on issues of forestry and agriculture. Van Ryswyk ran for Kelowna council in 2011, but finished 28th out of 40 candidates, with just 1337 votes. She originally was the NDP’s nominee in this riding, but resigned after blog posts critical of First Nations people were found on a local website.