An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
NOW THAT SEVERAL CANDIDATES for the Conservative nomination in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo have declared their intentions, the race for the riding in the next federal election is at least unofficially well underway.
There may be others who would like to succeed Cathy McLeod as the Conservative flag bearer in the riding and, with the seat becoming vacant, there will no doubt be ample interest among the other parties as well. There’s already a declared NDP candidate.
None of the would-be Conservative candidates declared so far can be considered star material but all of them have at least some recognition and a variety of qualifications.
Any one of them would be a strong contender in the general election but much can change between now and whenever Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pulls the plug on his government or has the rug pulled out from under him.
While Trudeau has been taking a beating over slow delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, we can expect that to change quickly as the supply of vaccines ramps up.
Once that supply reaches expected levels, the public and opposition parties will have much less to gripe about. The government’s popularity will bounce back.
Unless Erin O’Toole’s leadership catches fire for the Tories, Trudeau doesn’t have much to worry about. He can cool his jets for a few months until the pandemic response is on solid footing, then force an election.
But even with Andrew Scheer at the Conservative party’s helm, and with a star candidate in Terry Lake running for the Grits, McLeod soared to an almost 13,000-vote victory in the last election.
That fact alone could make it tough for the Liberals to attract name candidates for the next round. At this point, it’s a good bet Kamloops will again be represented by a Conservative while the country goes Liberal.
As I said, much can change but it would take something truly dramatic to alter that outcome.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.