Cindy Derkaz has been selected as the Liberal candidate and part of Team Trudeau for the 2019 election.
The North Okanagan-Shuswap Liberal candidate came in a relatively close second in the last election, about 17,000 votes compared to the Conservatives’ 22,000. She has always been interested in politics but had never been a member of any political party – until 2012, “when (Stephen) Harper and the Conservatives decided to take Canada in a direction we didn’t feel represented the Canada we love.”
Derkaz says she and husband, Don Derby, decided that rather than sitting around complaining, they would get involved.
“We both decided to get active and the Liberal Party is really aligned with our views – inclusive, plays on the world scene, is a party that supports small business and business in general, but with a social conscience,” she says, noting she researched all the parties. “We decided to stick with it; we don’t want to see the real change that has happened with the Liberal government turned back.”
Derkaz, a retired lawyer, studied political science at UBC and has been involved in a number of environmental issues on the local front. She was appointed to three appeal tribunals including the Environmental Appeal Board for BC where she served a term as vice-chair.
Nominations for the local Liberal riding opened in late June and by the time they closed in late September, Derkaz was the standalone candidate.
“I have had amazing support; my team never quit working,” she says of her decision to run again, something she pondered following the last election.
“I have been listening to Canadians, what they think of the government, what they think the issues are and keeping a presence by going to a number of events,” she says, noting the big issues she has heard are housing, homelessness and the opioid crisis, both of which she believes can be linked to a lack of affordable housing. “The Liberal government is putting $40 billion into housing in Canada over the next 10 years and I want to be advocating to get some of that money here.”
Derkaz says other issues that people have raised with her are education for children and both sides of the pipeline debate.
“Much of the province isn’t invested in the federal election right now,” she says, noting she has the energy and drive to make a run for Ottawa next year. “The team has stuck around and really does want to go again; we’ve had lots of encouragement and we’ve learned a lot.”
Derkaz has lived almost her entire life in the riding. She is a passionate community supporter that includes over a decade as a founder and president of the Shuswap Community Foundation. She was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her life-long commitment to volunteerism and service.