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Federal Election 2015  

Fuhr: Tory no more

Castanet is featuring profiles on all the Okanagan candidates in the upcoming federal election.

Steven Fuhr, Liberal – Kelowna- Lake Country

It's amazing how one announcement can make you rethink everything you thought you knew.

Take Steven Fuhr, the Liberal hopeful in Kelowna-Lake Country.

Fuhr spent 20 years in the Air Force, knew the ins and outs of the country's F-18 fleet.

The Conservative government announcement in 2010 that it was replacing the fleet with F-35s didn't sit well with him. He managed the fleet, knew the plans, internal and external.

"I know what our requirements are, and all the reasons they were justifying why Canada had to have this airplane were incorrect," said Fuhr.

He said all the best evidence then, and now, supports the fact Canadians can't afford the F-35.

"So, why the heck would we commit ourselves to a plane that doesn't work with our defence priorities, doesn't work with our infrastructure, and we have no clue how much it's going to cost.

"It bothered me enough that my logical conclusion was, if these folks are mismanaging this file so irresponsibly, what the heck else are they doing?"

Fuhr said he had voted Conservative all his life, but couldn't support this.

"It bothered me enough that I wanted to do something about it."

That led him to seek and win the Liberal nomination for the riding.

Fuhr was born in Edmonton but moved to Kamloops when he was five, going through the school system there until leaving for Ontario for a year to make money for university. He went on to Trinity Western University in Langley, earning a commercial pilot's licence and multi-engine endorsement.

During his time in University, Fuhr was accepted into a pilot program that fast-tracked pilots into the military. That got him a job in the Air Force.

"My first assignment was to teach the course I had just flown on. Basically, I was an instructor on primary and advanced jet training in Moose Jaw."

The closest Fuhr saw to military action while in the Air Force was flying defence missions after 9/11.

"When that happened so surprisingly and alarmingly, we had to jump in our airplanes and police the skies and make sure everything was safe.

"It was surreal to think of the worst case scenario. It wasn't a pleasant thought."

During his formative years, nothing suggested politics was an avenue Fuhr would ever pursue, but he said he doesn't regret a minute of it.

"I know it's the right thing to do," he said, adding it's forced him to look at things and consider things he's never had to before.

"I get emails and phone calls from people with all sorts of concerns I wasn't even aware of."

"I have my sphere of things I care about and I'm interested in ... but then there are a lot of folks out there, and they all have different problems and different things that are important to them."

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