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Federal Liberal Party convention wraps up in Kelowna

Hundreds of people headed to Kelowna's Delta Grand Hotel this weekend for the federal Liberal B.C. convention. Jules Knox reports.

Hundreds of people gathered for the federal Liberal Party convention held in Kelowna over the weekend.

The B.C. convention is held once every two years, according to Braeden Caley, senior communications director for the Liberal Party of Canada.

“Kelowna has been a real incredible source for the Liberal movement over the last few years,” Caley said.

“We’ve seen that with the election of Stephen Fuhr, the Liberal MP in this riding. We’ve seen it with Justin Trudeau bringing the whole national caucus to meet in Kelowna last summer,” he added.

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The convention offers an opportunity for the party to start crafting its election platform for 2019 and a chance for B.C. residents to speak up.

“Housing is a big issue, clearly,” said keynote speaker and infrastructure minister Francois-Philippe Champagne. “I think B.C. has been leading the way on the environment so making sure that whilst we create economic growth, we take care of the environment.”

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Another topic that is front of mind for many voters is the proportional representation referendum currently underway in B.C.

Although the federal Liberals campaigned on electoral reform, many people now consider it a broken promise after the party backtracked.

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“We explained to Canadians our position, and we’ve moved on,” Champagne said. “I think for us, this issue has been settled. The prime minister has spoken about it, and obviously we’re going to be looking at what B.C. is doing with interest.”

More than 400 people attended the three-day event. Caley estimated at least half of them had never been to a convention before.

It’s free to join the Liberal Party, but general attendance at the convention costs about $365, according to the website.

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On Saturday, postal workers held a rally outside the Liberal convention voicing concerns that they might be legislated back to work.