Daniel Hayduk - May 2, 2011 / 11:40 pm | Story: 61799
Independent Conservative Sean Upshaw
Okanagan-Coquihalla Independent Conservative Sean Upshaw says thanks to his supporters and congratulates Conservative winner Dan Albas.
"It would be safe to say that the voters have spoken, and at the end of the day, even though the process for which you gained your ridership or your opportunity to represent the constituents here is certainly still questionable, I do give you my support and I wish you well."
Upshaw says he is thankful for voters who supported him.
"You can never lose when you stand up for that which is right."
Daniel Hayduk - May 2, 2011 / 10:40 pm | Story: 61797
Ron Cannan may have taken nearly 57 per cent of the vote in Kelowna-Lake Country, but his opponents feel they have achieved their own victories as well.
NDP Tisha Kalmanovitch says an orange surge locally translated into a major victory for the party nationally.
Despite the win for Cannan, voters in Kelowna showed they wanted change, says Kalmanovitch.
"Even in Kelowna there are enough people that are ready to stand up and say they want change."
Kalmanovitch says hoping for a majority government would have been a bit far-fetched and while working with Prime Minister Stephen Harper may be difficult, the opposition NDP will provide a much needed balance.
"I'm very sad that Mr. Harper is going to be the Prime Minister for another four years, but now that we have the NDP we will be able to provide a very, very strong counter balance to the direction that Mr. Harper wants to take. People want to see more social justice and they want to see more environmental justice," says Kalmanovitch.
Green Party candidate Alice Hooper says the votes for the NDP hurt the Green Party's chances.
"I think some people are voting strategically to try get Conservatives out," says Hooper.
Hooper finished in fourth place in Kelowna-Lake Country with 5,265 votes.
It was Hooper's first time in the political arena -- an experience she says was nerve wracking, but rewarding.
"I've been stretched beyond what I thought I was capable of. I'm a politician now I guess, it's been a great experience."
Nikki Inouye meets volunteers in Vernon Sunday night
A pair of first time candidates finished two-three in the North Okanagan-Shuswap.
The NDP's Nikki Inouye had hoped to ride the wave of orange that swept the country, but instead finished as the runner-up to Colin Mayes, the same position Alice Brown ended in back in 2008 for the NDP.
Inouye though was ecstatic that her party has become the official opposition in a very historical outcome to this election.
"Very, very happy with the results, obviously locally I would have liked to be elected, but otherwise very happy. A big part of it had to do with Jack Layton. He was always very positive, he had the same message of helping families across Canada and I think that message took off."
Inouye said trying to overcome the very Conservative stronghold that exists in the Okanagan was her toughest battle.
"It was challenge, yes. It was a challenge because I was an unknown, I was a brand new candidate. So to earn peoples trust takes time, but I think people were ready for a change."
Inouye's political career had really just begun, and now that she has some name recognition in the riding, she believes she may stick around to see if she can beat Colin Mayes and the Conservatives in the next election.
"I hope so. I still believe in what the NDP policies stand for, I still believe in Jack Layton and the NDP, so yes, I may run again, but you can't predict the future. It was a great positive experience though."
Photo: Contributed - Ron Manz
Greig Crockett looks at results in Vernon Sunday night
Retired lawyer Grieg Crockett failed to improve on the third place showing Huguette Allen posted in 2008. He finished third behind Mayes as well, blaming the national media for not helping the Greens get their message across to voters.
"We had good coverage in our riding but I do think the corporate media is afraid of the Green policies and it made a difference. They took Elizabeth May out of the leader's debate right from day one and the general media did not include the Green message in any of its reporting. They have not brought the polices and context to the public. They should have enlarged the content information around the policies and they failed to do that taking the other party's slogans instead."
Crockett said he found a lot of Green supporters in the riding actually were taking their votes elsewhere this time.
"There were many voters here that were very sympathic to the Green movement, but the vote count doesn't count that sympathy vote. Many Green voters felt they had to vote strategically with the National movement. I've had several apologies from those who lean to Green who said they were sorry but they blew over to another side and were quite apologetic for that. because they felt they had to to avoid a Harper majority."
It was Crockett's first attempt at Federal politics, and it looks like it might have been his last.
"If another election happened next month for sure, but its not going to be for another five years, so that's a long way off. There'll be lots of new blood by then.
It was all smiles and hugs at the Vernon campaign headquarters for Conservative Colin Mayes as he retained his seat in government for the third straight election.
Mayes easily defeated the NDP's Nikkie Inouye, the Green's Greig Crockett and the Liberals Janna Francis.
The former mayor of Salmon Arm and Dawson City, Yukon says the drive for a Conservative majority in Canada was not a surprise to him.
"Canadians decided they had enough of these elections and are willing to take a chance on Stephen Harper and give him the mandate and let him go forward for four years, then they can make that decision whether they want to keep supporting him."
Mayes says its important now for his party to use this strong mandate they have been given and lead Canada for the next four years.
"Our government has to continue our economic action plan. We've proven we can handle the economy. We've got more things to get that deficit down and balance our buget. We have more things we'd like to do as far as innovation technology. We have to lead the world as far as the economy and of course the new global economy is high tech, and we need to make sure we have strategic investments in those areas."
The collapse of the federal Liberal party and the surge from the NDP caught most Canadians by surprise including Mayes.
"The interesting thing for me is what happened to the Liberal party. The NDP picked up their votes from the Bloc and the Liberals and we are winning some of those major seats in Toronto. We've always had a pretty good hold on the west but to see Ontario swing and see the strength of the NDP in Quebec and in Atlantic Canada was quite surprising."
Now Mayes says the ball is in the NDP's court to show they can be a solid opposition.
"A good opposition is good for democracy. I think it's great we have our majority. We have to prove ourselves, but I think its important to have a strong opposition and obviously Canadians were ready to see the NDP take on that task. I will be interesting to see how they perform now that they are the official opposition. They can't just criticize everything and know that your never going to be government. Now you have to look at the budget before you criticize it. I think it's important for the NDP, they have some things to prove to Canadians and as a majority government, we do too!"