Federal New Democratic Party members in the riding of South Okanagan West Kootenay are set to select their representative for the next election in mid-November. Two people are vying to fill the void left by Alex Atamanenko.
Margaret Maximenko has lived in Christina Lake for 35 years. She has been involved in politics and political activism in varying roles for 29 years and has also served as Rural Director of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Area C and as the Local Government Spokesperson on the Premiers Commission on Resources and the Environment. Mrs. Maximenko has 23 years of business experience ranging from retail and manufacturing to the service industry. Her political interests and the stage of her life influenced her decision to run, “Democracy is very important to me and that is one of the main reasons I am running. I feel this is the most productive time of my life, with the fewest distractions. In looking around for meaningful work, this opportunity popped up at the right time.”
Mrs. Maximenko states the four key points of her platform as the need to work to restore Canada’s standing in the world, the need to focus and coordinate our efforts on behalf of the environment with an emphasis on water, addressing the issues of growing inequality and her passion about the representational voice or role involved in being a political representative.
“There has never been a more important time for citizens of this country to stand up and be counted,” says Maximenko. “It’s time for Canadians to stand up and take our country back.”
Richard “Dick” Cannings was born and raised in the Okanagan Valley. He has had a successful career as a biologist and has written many books on birds and nature. The Association of Professional Biologists of BC named him Biologist of the Year in 1996. He previously ran for the provincial NDP seat in Penticton; though unsuccessful, he received the highest percentage of votes in that constituency for the NDP since 1998. Mr. Cannings has served on the BC Environmental Appeal Board and the BC Forest Appeals Commission. He is also a board member of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
One of Mr. Cannings’ goals is to retain the riding for the NDP. “I’m a long-time supporter of the NDP,” Cannings told the Castlegar News. “I think as an NDP MP I would serve the riding very well. I know the region well. My goal is representing the riding well and being a good MP.” He believes his previous experience and profile from running in the provincial election would help the NDP win the seat.
Mr. Cannings’ passion for environmental issues was a driving force behind his decision to enter the race. “I’m an ecologist,” he says. “I am concerned at the current government’s real disdain for science, for the environment. It’s really taking Canada in the wrong direction. That is really one reason why I wanted to get involved as deeply and personally as I could. Somebody has to show some leadership and take Canada in another direction.”