Tara Armstrong advocates two words be attached to her bid to be elected MLA for the Kelowna-Lake Country-Coldstream riding in the next provincial election – common sense.
Armstrong, announced as the BC Conservative Party earlier this week, believes her party is tapping into frustration felt across the province from voters who see those two words as lacking in both the NDP and BC United platforms.
“They (BC United) used to be more of a centre right party, but they really have become a lighter version of the NDP. There really isn’t much difference between them,” said Armstrong, the party’s election readiness committee chair.
“I absolutely feel like there is a groundswell movement for our party, which is the oldest political party in the province, so we have been rejuvenating ourselves.
“It will take some time to build momentum but the wheels are turning now and I am excited to be part of it moving forward.”
Armstrong thinks the economy will be a focal point of next year’s election campaign, saying families have felt the pressure of a higher cost of living without any relief, coupled with excessive taxation, in recent years.
“The government policies have been driving people into poverty and in many cases forcing people to leave the province entirely,” she said.
“People are making decisions to leave because they can’t afford to live here… People are being forced to decide between putting a roof over their heads or put food on the table.”
Along with frustration over the economy, Armstrong says she hears all the time about inefficiency in our health care system, which she says needs reform on a massive scale.
“It is beyond the scope of hiring a few doctors or health care administrators. We have to look at the entire entity of health care and start to determine better what we need and don’t need.
“We need to put money back into the system for people to get the care they need, not for administrative costs and things like that.”
While she sees parental rights advocates perhaps looking to the Conservative Party to represent their views, Armstrong says she remains a strong supporter of parental rights but understands public education issues are not simple to resolve.
“What is required is a lot of thoughtful conversation rather than shouty voices, real discussion around common sense solutions.”
Armstrong is a newcomer to politics, having established herself in the business world when she joined her family’s start-up business, creating the Driving Miss Daisy franchise company in 2006 and expanding it nationally.
She left the business in September 2022 as she and her husband left their jobs and sold their house to embark on a six month “journey of freedom and discovery” in the “free states” of the U.S.
Upon their return to Canada, the couple settled in Kelowna, where they had previously established a Driving Miss Daisy franchise. “We spent a lot of time in Kelowna when we were involved in the business but it’s a bit different to actually be living here. It is a beautiful place to live,” she said.