Shan Lavell, the new federal Liberal candidate for BC Southern Interior, made a stop in Castlegar on Tuesday to check out the area.
Lavell, who lives in Kelowna, was asked to become the candidate in the riding last week after failing to secure the seat in her home riding of Okanagan/Coquihalla.
“I am just getting connected to the communities,” Lavell said.
The riding of BC Southern Interior encompasses Princeton to Kaslo.
With a nursing degree and a master’s degree in counselling psychology, Lavell said she’s passionate about children and families as well as business and environmental matters.
While campaigning, she’s researching as much as she can about the area, including the Columbia River Treaty.
She said housing is an important issue that she hopes can be addressed.
“When we get those survival and fear issues dealt with we are a much more compassionate community,” she said.
Lavell is also a grandmother and foster parent for hard-to-house youth.
“My campaign will be with and for my children,” she said.
Running for the first time, Lavell said she was inspired to join politics so that by the time her grandchildren are ready to go to school “our communities [will be] ready for all our babies.”
Lavell also spent a number of years as a patient family counsellor for the BC Cancer Agency.
“I am not new to families in crisis,” she said, adding we need to make communities better for seniors and children.
“It’s way too expensive to run it this way where people get left behind,” she said.
Lavell said the campaign isn’t about good guys and bad guys, but rather everyone working together.
She said Conservative attack ads against Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff are off-base and it isn’t right for the governing party to attack him for spending time in the United States.
“Have you ever left your hometown and come back? That’s what we do as Canadians.”
As for the prospect of a spring election, Lavell said she’s prepared.
“I’m in election mode now. I’m ready to go.”