Federal Election 2015  

Scott: optimism abounds

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

Karley Scott, Liberal – Central Okanagan - Similkameen - Nicola

Karley Scott is a mother, wife, lawyer, traveller, outdoor enthusiast, Saskatchewanian, and she is Metis.

She's also now a West Kelowna resident and the Liberal candidate for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

Scott has been with her husband, James, for nearly 20 years and has two young children.

She was raised in Lac la Ronge, a small town in Northern Saskatchewan.

She grew up hunting and trapping, rode a snowmobile to school and lived the aboriginal way of life.

“The first year of my life, I spent in a papoose on my dad's chest while he trapped,” says Scott. “My first vehicle was a snowmobile that was such a piece of crap. I had to carry extra spark plugs with me, because every time I hit a bump, a spark plug would fly out and I would have to replace it.”

Scott's father is Metis, and her mother is of Norwegian decent.

“I say I come from Viking and warrior stock,” she says with a laugh.

“It informs my world view,” says Scott. “I am inherently diverse as a Metis person. By definition, I am indigenous and non-indigenous at the same time. It is a large part of who I am.”

Following high school, Scott headed to Saskatoon, where she completed her bachelor of arts at the University of Saskatchewan.

Early on she had a passion for government and right out of school she jumped into a decade-long career with the federal government throughout Saskatchewan and Alberta.

“My main role there was to collaborate. To bring federal, provincial, municipal and indigenous governments together along with community based organizations so we could invest in things like youth employment, addressing homelessness,” says Scott.

At age 34, she went back to school to get her law degree.

“I loved my work with the federal government, but I felt I could do more,” says Scott. “Especially working with indigenous communities, I wanted to develop a practice in aboriginal law.”

She graduated in 2012 and made the move to West Kelowna.

“I had a bit of a reverse mid-life crisis. I turned 40, I left my job at the law firm and asked my husband to sell his car to pay the mortgage,” says Scott. 

The decision to leave law and pursue the campaign trail was not one she took lightly, but she says it was something she had to do

“I had never been a member of a political party before this campaign,” says Scott. “But, I was becoming increasingly concerned with the direction our country was going in. I wanted to do this for my kids. I wanted to influence the communities we are going to be leaving behind.”

The Okanagan's history of voting Tory blue is not deterring Scott.

“We've been knocking on doors since March. I have never walked away from a door-knocking session thinking this is hopeless. People are open, they are open for change, they want to know, they want to learn about me, who I am and why I want to do this,” says Scott. “I am not frustrated, I am optimistic.”

Scott adds that she desperately hopes young people turn up and vote in this election. “It is imperative,” she says.

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