A former city councillor who pledged a smaller a provincial government won the B.C. Conservative party’s nomination in Kamloops-South Thompson.
Officials said Peter Sharp picked up 80 per cent of the 46 votes cast at the meeting as well as mail-in ballots. He defeated Maria Dobi, who represented the party in the last election.
In his nomination speech, Sharp took aim at what he said is a trend of growing debt and bigger government under NDP and Liberal governments of the past two decades.
“We need to have smaller government. We need to encourage free enterprise.”
Both candidates noted the provincial debt has doubled under the B.C. Liberals.
While Sharp stuck to taking shots at the governing Liberals and Opposition NDP, Dobi veered in the philosophical and moral. Her targets included teachers, who she said are instructing students to become socialists.
If you ask children graduation from school their preferred politics “they’ll say socialism,” Dobi claimed
“It’s been taught in our schools.”
While Dobi said in her nomination speech “of course you can’t legislate morality” she said added that those who have lost their morals end up homeless and in jail.
“Freedom and free enterprise can’t function without morality,” she said.
Dobi, who told a story about her father escaping from Hungary in 1956, raised the spectre of communism. She quoted from a book, The Naked Communist, which promotes treating homosexuality as a norm in order to break down society, she said.
In an interview with reporters after announcement of the ballots, Sharp said “I don’t necessarily feel that way and I don’t think the party feels that way.”
The only debate of the evening between the two came on a question of whether candidates favour nominal user fees for doctor visits.
Saying user fees “are something we should consider” Dobi added parents abuse the system, giving as a supposed example parents who drop off children at the emergency ward, claiming they have a stomachache.
“They went to party for the evening,” she said.
But Sharp, a retired Mountie, said he visited RIH’s emergency room frequently while on duty.
“They don’t babysit. They won’t babysit. . . . You don’t get frontline staff babysitting kids.”
Several Conservatives said Sharp’s experience on council will help him in the campaign.
“It’s great experience,” said Wolfgang Orlowksi. “He’s straightforward and has common-sense.”
Fellow member John Folk said Sharp “will hold his own” in debate with Liberal Todd Stone and New Democrat Tom Friedman.
Local Conservative party executive Alan Forseth said the party expects to name a candidate by Monday for the Kamloops-North Thompson riding.
“There’s another one (potential nominee) I’ve heard about,” he added.
The party also expects to soon name a candidate in Fraser-Nicola, now held by New Democrat Harry Lali.