Helena Konanz named as Conservative federal candidate for South Okanagan-West Kootenay

Konanz chosen to run

After nominations closed last week for a Conservative candidate for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding in the next federal election, Helena Konanz was chosen to run again.

Konanz ran in 2019 against incumbent NDP Richard Cannings, who took the spot with 36.4 per cent of the vote. Konanz earned 35.3 percent.

“A little over 1 per cent, not that I'm counting, but 796 votes short,” Konanz said. “It speaks to the community. Many of them want a change and I think after what happened in the last year-and-a-half, there are a lot more people that will want change in the next election, more representation for this riding.”

Back in October, at the South Okanagan-West Kootenay Conservative Association virtual AGM, Konanz told the membership she intended to seek the nomination, whenever the election was to be called.

“I'm honoured to have been nominated as a conservative candidate for the South Okanagan- West Kootenay riding in the next federal election, which I hope does not happen too soon because I think it would be irresponsible for anyone to call an election right now given the circumstances we're all under,” Konanz said.

“But I'm honoured and we're ready if it is called and I'm excited to run in the next election.”

Cannings was the first candidate to be announced to represent the NDP in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay once again in the next Federal election.

And Konanz acknowledges that it is challenging to beat an incumbent.

“Many times it takes two elections to happen. You can ask Richard Cannings, it took him two elections to get into the upper levels of government. It takes a lot of work and we still have our team in place which will help us quite a bit,” she said.

But Konanz believes that her eight years on Penticton city council and time with the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen board are a big asset for understanding the community, along with being a small business owner, business coach and retired tennis professional.

“[I] worked hard for the people of Penticton and the South Okanagan during that time...I know how to work hard and I will represent this community, this riding, with a lot of hard work and determination.”

During the months leading up to the federal election in 2019, Konanz and her team knocked on over 40,000 doors.

“Even if for some reason there is an election called during this pandemic, we were able to talk to so many people throughout the riding, in just a year and a half ago so we feel like we're ready if one is called.”

Although there is no confirmation of a snap election being called this year, Konanz said that chatter in the media and hints from the Prime Minister lead that it might happen.

“He (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) expected the vaccine rollout would be smoother, which again would make for a really irresponsible decision if he decides to do this when many people in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay don't feel comfortable leaving their homes.”

COVID-19 recovery is the main focus of her platform

“There are very diverse communities but obviously, the main focus is going to be on COVID, getting people back to work, getting businesses back open. Making sure that people feel safe leaving their homes,” Konanz explained.

“I think there's been real damage to mental health throughout the country that we need to address from the pandemic and the lockdown so I think people need strong leadership.”

The federal electoral district of South Okanagan – West Kootenay is a riding that consists of the South Okanagan-Similkameen, Kootenay Boundary, and Central Kootenay regions. The District includes the communities of Penticton, Oliver, Osoyoos, Grand Forks, Rossland, Trail, Castlegar, Slocan, Silverton, and Nakusp.

The Liberals and Green party candidates have yet to be confirmed for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding.

To contact Konanz, email her at [email protected]

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