B.C. election 2017: Vernon Monashee riding

In 2013: BC Liberal incumbent Eric Foster defeated his NDP opponent 46 per cent to 34 per cent.

In 2009: BC Liberal Eric Foster defeated NDP candidate Mark Olsen by over 1,000 votes, 37-32 per cent. Green Party candidate Huguette Allen received 4,029, the second most out of anyone in her party.

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History & Geography: Created for the 1991 election, Vernon-Monashee consists of the city of Vernon and the many small towns to the east along Highway 6, including Coldstream, Lumby, and Cherryville. It, like the entire northern Okanagan, has never voted for an NDP candidate provincially. The Liberals do best in the suburbs and outskirts of Vernon, while the NDP are traditionally competitive in the city centre.

Candidates

Liberals – Eric Foster: The government whip, Foster was first elected in 2009. He was mayor of Lumby, a small town east of Vernon, from 2005 to 2008, and a city councillor for 12 years before that. He was also a director of the North Okanagan Regional District. Outside of politics, Foster has worked in the forest industry and as a volunteer policeman.

NDP – Barry Dorval: A high school english teacher, Dorval has been involved in the Vernon Teachers’ Association for years and is active with the Trinity United Church.

Greens – Keli Westgate: Sales and Marketing Manager for Spa Hills Compost, a commercial organic food waste composting company. Westgate is a director for the non-profit Sustainable Environment Network Society.

Libertarian Party – Don Jefcoat: The Libertarian party is running 30 candidates, four times as many as in 2013. They have been running candidates in B.C. since 1986, but have never come close to winning a seat.

2017 Stats: Vernon-Monashee

Population (2014): 62,106 (3rd)
Population Deviation from Average: 16.9 per cent
Area: 5,035 sq km (23rd)
Pop Density: 12.3 (65th)
Average Age: 46.5 years (17th)
English as Second Language: 11.02 per cent (65th)

Top 3 Second Languages:
German – 3.04 per cent
Dutch – 0.85 per cent
Panjabi (Punjabi) – 0.83 per cent

Watch Below: Four candidates are squaring off in the north Okanagan. They are all hoping to be the next MLA for Vernon Monashee. While they have very different positions, the major players all agree on one thing: housing is a challenge in the riding. Megan Turcato has more on how the candidates plan to address that issue.