Canada election: Tory candidate calls Kelowna-Lake Country a two-horse race, but others disagree

Tracy Gray says the race is between the Conservatives and NDP, but one candidate says “this is a ruse designed to split the vote of her competitors.”. Global News Files

All’s fair in the bloodsport of politics, and Tracy Gray fired a spurning shot at two of her opponents on Wednesday without aiming at them.

In a press release, the incumbent Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country said recent polls in B.C. showed that the Conservatives and NDP are in a “neck-and-neck race.”

Gray said results from 2006, ’08 and ’11 in Kelowna-Lake Country showed a two-person race between the Conservatives and the NDP, and also noted the current NDP provincial government in B.C.

Notably, Gray’s statement excluded results from 2015 and 2019 elections — elections which saw the Liberals do quite well in what’s traditionally considered a blue riding.

It also made no mention of the People’s Party of Canada, which is making inroads on the right of the political spectrum since its founding in 2018.

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Gray’s one-page press release on Wednesday focused on housing, stating, “this has become a two-person race between Conservatives and the NDP in British Columbia, and it’s only Conservatives who are willing to fight to make your life more affordable.”

Click to play video: 'South Okanagan West-Kootenay riding profile'
South Okanagan West-Kootenay riding profile

Gray also claimed that while the NDP has called for more subsidized housing, they have offered nothing that will reduce the price of housing for those looking into enter the market.

“Canada’s Conservatives will reduce red tape, open up 15 per cent of federal lands for housing, and mandate increased density around major transit stations receiving federal funds,” said Gray’s statement.

Six years ago, in the 2015 election, Liberal candidate Stephen Fuhr won the riding of Kelowna-Lake Country with 46.2 per cent of the vote, defeating Conservative incumbent Ron Cannan at 39.8 per cent. The NDP were third at 14.1 per cent.

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Four years later, in 2019, the Conservatives bounced back, with new candidate Gray winning the riding with 45.6 per cent of the vote, and Fuhr placing second at 32.7 per cent.

The NDP were third at 12.1 per cent, the Greens fourth at 7.5 per cent and the PPC fifth at 1.8 per cent.

Click to play video: 'FOCUS BC:  Federal political candidates talk on wildfires and climate change in B.C.'
FOCUS BC: Federal political candidates talk on wildfires and climate change in B.C.

Today, though, polling from one site said that as of Sept. 14, B.C. appears to be a close three-way race between the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP, not two as Gray suggests.

According to the website, the vote projection B.C. is as follows:

  • Conservatives: 30 per cent
  • NDP: 29 per cent
  • Liberals: 28 per cent
  • People’s Party of Canada; 6 per cent
  • Green party: 6 per cent

For Kelowna-Lake Country, its vote projection as of Sept. 15 had the Conservatives in first at 42 per cent, the Liberals second at 34 per cent and the NDP third at 14 per cent.

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The PPC were fourth at 6.6 per cent and the Greens fifth at 3.8 per cent.

The website says its projections are based on polls and demographic data. It also claims to be an independently owned media website, and is run by a professor of physics and astronomy in Montreal. No information is given on margins of error.

Another poll, Ipsos, said there was a three-way tie provincially among the NDP (31 per cent), Liberals (29 per cent) and the Conservatives (28 per cent). It also listed the PPC at 6 per cent and the Greens at 4 per cent.

Click to play video: 'One-on-one with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau'
One-on-one with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

Global News reached out to the Liberals, People’s Party of Canada, the NDP and the Green party regarding Gray’s statements.

In an email to Global News, Liberal candidate Tim Krupa said progressives who want strong leadership on climate, vaccines and inclusion should vote for him.

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“Once again, Tracy Gray is trying to distract us from her poor track record on issues that matter most to our community,” said Krupa.

“She’s been absent on vaccines, absent on anti-vaccination protests, and absent on climate change and forest fires. From all public polling available, there is only one option to defeat Tracy Gray on Monday.”

Click to play video: 'One-on-one with Conservative leader Erin O’Toole'
One-on-one with Conservative leader Erin O’Toole

NDP candidate Cade Desjarlais told Global News, “I’m focusing on my campaign and what I’m hearing from people is that they want something new.

“The NDP has a robust platform to make things better with regards to affordability, the climate crisis and the pandemic — and people recognize that. Jagmeet Singh and I are working for the people of Kelowna-Lake Country to ensure no one gets left behind.”

Global News has yet to hear from PPC candidate Brian Rogers.

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Federal election: Jagmeet Singh one-on-one

The Green party questioned Gray’s statement.

“Without any independent polling data from Kelowna-Lake Country to back it up, her claim strikes me as little more than a political tactic,” said Green party candidate Imre Szeman.

“The fact that there is a competition between two parties province-wide doesn’t mean very much on a riding-to-riding basis. The Liberal Party received almost three times the vote of the NDP in the previous election.

“It would certainly be impressive if the NDP was able to make up that much ground on the Liberals this election, but I doubt it. Tellingly, the press release speaks to results in the 2006, 2008, and 2011 — and not 2015 and 2019. This is a ruse designed to split the vote of her competitors.”

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Chilliwack-Hope in-person debate cancelled due to COVID rules

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