The electoral area may be called Kelowna-Lake Country, but, politically, the riding has been BC Liberal country.
And Liberal candidate Norm Letnick is again seeking re-election, along with a fourth term, as the riding’s MLA.
A veteran of 12 elections, four of them provincially, campaigning is extremely familiar territory for the Liberal incumbent.
“Always, always, first and foremost is taking care of my local constituents,” Letnick told Global News.
This election cycle, Letnick took his camper van on the road, allowing voters to voice their concerns in person.
Letnick says his re-election philosophy is to not let experience breed complacency.
“I go into every election one vote behind,” said Letnick, who has handily won the riding in the last three provincial elections.
The riding of Kelowna-Lake Country has proven to be one of the Liberals’ safest seats in B.C., and Letnick is betting on his track record to send him back to Victoria, victorious.
“Every time I run, my platform is always the same: It’s lots done, more to do,” Letnick said.
Running for the NDP in the riding will be Justin Kulik, a university political science student who’s hoping to dethrone Letnick.
“Our pandemic recovery is absolutely No. 1,” said Kulik.
In 2019, Kulik ran unsuccessfully for the NDP in the federal election.
“My generation goes unrepresented and without a voice,” Kulik told Global News.
But at just 19 years old, Kulik’s battle to break the riding’s Liberal legacy is a David versus Goliath affair.
“We are seeing changing political dynamics across the province,” said Kulik. “Whatever might be considered a stronghold at the end of the day is only a stronghold until it isn’t.”
“I think it’s important that we have strong leadership to come out of this pandemic and to support the services that people are relying on,” Kulik added.
Looking to provide a Green alternative to the Liberals and NDP is John Janmaat.
“Climate change is quite a big issue for me,” Janmaat said.
“The Green Party has an evidenced-based philosophy that I find isn’t quite as strong in some of the other parties,” Janmaat said.
The UBC Okanagan professor says he’s a firm believer in the Green Party’s platform.
“Diversity, participatory democracy, sustainability, learning from nature — those are essential core values at the Green Party,” Janmaat said.
Also running for election is Kyle Geronazzo of the BC Libertarian Party.
“Lower taxes, more choice, real freedom,” Geronazzo said of the party’s platform.
Less is more for Geronazzo, who labels himself a radical centrist, and says his first priority would be loosening the government’s grip on business during the pandemic.
“An end to the lockdown,” Geronazzo explained.
“Really, we would like to see less government regulation in terms of how many people can enter a business and allow for businesses to regulate that themselves.”
Another candidate is Silverado Brooks Socrates, who is running as an independent.
“Just giving a voice to things I’ve felt,” Socrates told Global News.
Socrates is a familiar election face, having run provincially and federally during her almost 40 years in the community.
“Every time I learn something,” said Socrates, adding she has a goal of “working together to have a common vision. It’s not being talked about but that’s what I believe we need.”
With five candidates on the ballot, Kelowna-Lake Country voters have choices when it comes to exercising their democratic right at the polls on Saturday.