BC Liberals candidate Tom Shypitka (left) and NDP candidate Wayne Stetski (right) are running for Kootenay East in the 2020 BC election. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

BC Liberals candidate Tom Shypitka (left) and NDP candidate Wayne Stetski (right) are running for Kootenay East in the 2020 BC election. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

NDP, BC Liberal Candidates tour through Elk Valley

Shypitka and Stetski were in Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford to get their election pitches across to voters today

The NDP and BC Liberal candidates hit the ground in the Elk Valley today and yesterday to speak to locals in Elkford, Sparwood and Fernie.

BC Liberals candidate Shypitka, who spent Wednesday in Elkford and Sparwood and took time to speak to folks in Fernie on Thursday said his main goal on his visit was to see how businesses were doing with the pandemic, and get a “temperature check” on how they were faring.

“I’ve been encouraged to hear some of the reports that we’re weathering the storm. I think its largely because of the diversity that the Elk Valley has developed over the years. … Fernie and the Elk Valley has really branched out into tourism and diversified.

“I was expecting a lot more stories of doom and gloom, and there is certainly those that are not making ends meet during this troubling time, but there’s many that are doing well, and some that are actually doing better than ever.”

The NDP’s Wayne Stetski visited Fernie and Sparwood on Thursday, telling The Free Press that voters had been talking to him about COVID-19 and the need to keep everyone safe – especially in schools.

“We have to monitor whats happening in classrooms quite closely.”

Both candidates touched on the Elk Valley’s relationship with the land and wildlife, with Stetski saying voters were concerned about how to increase wildlife numbers, and Shypitka talking about land access.

Stetski said that “hunting and fishing is who we are, and that will always be a priority for the people in the Elk Valley and Cranbrook,” with Shypitka saying the same for folks up and around Elkford, where he said locals were concerned about land access so they could live the lifestyle they wanted.

‘They’re seeing a lot of land closures that are prohibiting them from doing what they like to do,” he said, explaining that he had been told there were example of “arbitrary and” unexplained land closures in the area.

“From what I understand its all localized decision making, and that’s unfortunate because we’ve got some good people working in our local offices, but they really have to do the diligence that is required to really communicate with the stakeholders of the land.,” he said.

Finally, both candidates touched on the difficulties and challenges of campaigning during a pandemic.

“Normally I’d be door-knocking,” said Shypitka, “but I didn’t want to be insensitive to anyone’s beliefs. We’ve changed our way of doing campaigning this year.”

Stetski said that the campaign was “weird”.

“It’s very different. Normally you do a lot of personal contact, but under COVID, you really don’t want to have face-to-face interactions that could negatively impact either you or the people that you’re with.”

Shypitka said his way around the challenges were to have meetings out in the open and speak to as many locals as possible that way, while Stetski said his campaign would be focusing on social media and getting his message out there that way.

Both Shypitka and Stetski along with BC Greens candidate, and Fernie local Kerri Wall will be taking part in an all-candidate forum for the Elk Valley on October 15.

READ MORE: Fernie Chamber to host all-candidates forum



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The winners of the boys virtual moguls competition with the Freestyle club. (Contributed by Troy Nixon)
Fernie Freestyle Club carves up FAR

The club has been undeterred by the challenges of the season

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

Fernie man dies in avalanche

The 35-year-old man was caught in an avalanche near Valemount

Sylvain Fabi, Canada’s chief negotiator for the Columbia River Treaty, joined a number of government and Indigenous government stakeholders for a virtual town hall on Feb. 24, 2021, to update the state of the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. Trevor Crawley photo/Zoom screenshot
Indigenous input key to Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Ecosystem function included in negotiations along with flood management and power generation priorities

The area of the East Kootenay under a special avalanche warning. Submitted
Avalanche Canada issues special warning for southern Rockies

Northern Rockies also under special avalanche warning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: B.C. teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Most Read