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Decision BC: Nechako Lakes

Decision BC: Nechako Lakes - image

In 2009: Incumbent Liberal MLA John Rustad defeated NDP candidate Byron Goerz by over 1500 votes, 56-35%

History & Geography: A large rural riding that spans the centre of the province, Nechako Lakes is a descendent of the old Omincea riding, which the Social Credit party held for 40 years, save for the 1972 election. The main corridor of the riding is Highway 16 from Vanderhoof to Houston, but goes as far north as Bulkley House, and far south as Eutsuk Lake. The area between Vanderhoof and Fort St. James has voted for the Liberals by 5-to-1 margins in recent elections, while the NDP has traditionally held support in Burns Lake.

Basic Stats:

  • Population: 27055 (82nd)

  • Size: 73757 km (3rd)

  • Density: 0.4 people/km (82nd)

Odds and Ends?: In 2005 renters spent 20.8% of their income on housing, the lowest number in the province.

Candidates

Liberals-John Rustad: The Parliamentary Secretary for Forestry to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Rustad was first elected in 2005. Before entering politics, he was a school board trustee and worked in the forest industry, owning Western Geographic Information Systems Inc.

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NDP-Susanne Skidmore-Hewlett: A local labour leader, Skidmore-Hewlett is the BCGEU Local Chair for the Prince George region. A longtime NDP volunteer on both provincial and federal campaigns, Skidmore-Hewlett is a court clerk, and is currently a Field Educator for northern BC.

Conservatives-Dan Brooks: A guide outfitter from Vanderhoof, Brooks runs Crystal Lake Resort. Brooks has seven children, including a First Nations daughter they took guardianship when she was three. He also created the Upper Nechako Wilderness Council, promoting tourism and collective land use planning in the region. He joined the Conservatives after Crystal Lake was negatively impacted by a new wildlife harvest allocation policy created by the government in 2011.

Greens-Colin Hamm: An ESL teacher, Hamm tutors ESL students online from Fort St. James. He spent a decade designing children’s playgrounds, and has worked a variety of jobs across British Columbia.

Advocational-Beverly Bird: Bird is one of two candidates running for the BC Advocational Party, which according to its former leader, wants to use a lottery to select MLAs.

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