Liberal Stephen Fuhr says he saw nastiness during election

'Nastiness' during campaign

With the 40-day federal election campaign now behind us, the ousted incumbent MP for Kelowna-Lake Country says he saw plenty of “nastiness” locally.

Stephen Fuhr surprised many in 2015 when he took the riding, historically a Conservative stronghold, from three-term Conservative MP Ron Cannan, riding a Liberal surge seen across the nation.

Fuhr was ultimately beaten this time around by Conservative candidate Tracy Gray, a former Kelowna city councillor, and in an election that saw its fair share of nastiness on the national level, Fuhr says that spilled over to the local level.

“I saw some nastiness ... it wasn't pleasant, but the majority of it was positive and people care, it's a very caring community, but there was some unpleasantness at times,” he said following his loss Monday night. “I never got too ground down on it, I don't think it really affected the outcome.”

One very public instance occurred early on in the 40-day campaign, when several of Fuhr's election signs were defaced, after someone coloured in Fuhr's face with black marker.

Several of Fuhr's volunteers said their election signs across the riding had been destroyed or just disappeared all together throughout the entire campaign period.

Fuhr places some of the blame for the nastiness in the election on the Conservative Party.

“I just think there was this big wave of not necessarily good sentiment that was revved up in this campaign by the Conservative Party, and Ontario Proud and B.C. Proud and Canada Proud and these guys,” he said.

“When I was knocking on doors, there was a lot of gratitude and a lot of support but the doors I did hit that weren't necessarily happy with the direction of the country, the reasons they cited that they weren't happy weren't actually real or true. That was a concern for me and obviously it affected more people than I thought it would.”

While the job itself was “harder than it was fun most of the times,” Fuhr says it was very rewarding, and he has no regrets.

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