Robert Stupka’s first foray into provincial politics has left him feeling extremely positive and confident of his chances in the Keowna West byelection.
The B.C. Green Party’s candidate said Wednesday he feels he “pulled out all the stops” during the campaign and succeeded in his personal goal of leading important and meaningful conversations about issues that matter.
“People seemed really receptive,” said Stupka, as he spent part of byelection day out with his wife Camille and campaign volunteers main-streeting in Westbank.
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Heading into the campaign, the Green Party wanted to build on the momentum it established by electing three MLAs—largest number yet—in last May’s provincial election and supporting the NDP as it ousted the B.C. Liberals to take power in Victoria.
“We are having an influence on government policy,” said Stupka, adding the clear message he received on the doorsteps of the riding was voters have a desire for a change in leadership. And he feels he can bring that change.
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Aided by several appearances in the riding by party leader Andrew Weaver, Stupka feels his campaign also benefited from the emergence of issues such as the ICBC “bombshell” it is expected to be $1.3 billion in the red this year. The Green Party blamed a large part of that loss on the former Liberal government taking money from ICBC in the past to help balance the provincial books.
Stupka said the news cast doubt on what he called a widespread belief the B.C. Liberals are good stewards of the economy.
Like other candidates, Stupka said affordability is one of the issues he heard the most about on the campaign trail.
In addition to the rising cost of buying a home in the riding, the rental vacancy rate here is one of the lowest in the country and the level of rents is continuing to climb.
Stupka said the message he received from voters during the campaign is they are tired of “big party politics.”
The polls remain open today in Kelowna West until 8 p.m. Kelownacapnews.com will have the results as soon as they are available.