LeadNow targets local ridings in Kootenay-Columbia and South Okanagan West Kootenay
Kootenay-Columbia and South Okanagan West Kootenay have become key focus ridings for the voting advocacy group LeadNow.
According to the website, LeadNow is an independent advocacy organization that runs campaigns on the major issues of our time, engages people in participatory decision-making, and organizes in communities across Canada.
Lyndsay Poaps, the Executive Director for LeadNow, explained that the organization’s current initiative looks at 72 ridings across the country that they consider Conservative swing ridings, where the Conservatives won with less than 50% of the vote.
“We did this because in the last federal election the conservatives only won with 39% of the vote, yet they walked away with the majority of the seats,” Poaps explains.
“So we understand that it’s important to vote together and we acknowledge that South Okanagan and West Kootenay and Kootenay-Columbia are very important ridings in that fight.”
LeadNow is politically independent body, but sways mostly to the left while the sitting Conservative government is more to the right persepective.
Some of the current and past campaigns by LeadNow include opposition to Bill C-51 (the Anti-Terrorism Act), support for large oil companies, construction of pipelines.
LeadNow does not yet have a team on the ground in the Kootenay-Columbia or South Okanagan West Kootenay ridings, but is following the campaigns in both ridings closely.
LeadNow’s campaign asks people to sign a pledge to “vote together” and become part of a system that will run a recommendation process around which candidate is likely to be the most successful.
If pledge numbers surpass 500, LeadNow will offer those who pledged the chance to crowd fund for local polling in that riding.
“It’s very difficult to get local polling, most people are just subjected to national polling. We would help you crowd fund for that,” Poaps said.
She continued, saying, “we will encourage people in that riding to participate in a voting recommendation process where the community will get a survey around which candidate will be the best to defeat the conservatives.”
Recently, pledge numbers in the Kootenay-Columbia riding have surpassed the initial goal of 500, reaching 791 as of today.
On the other side of the battle is David Wilks, the Conservative MP for Kootenay-Columbia.
Wilks said that while he is aware of groups like LeadNow, he doesn’t feel threatened by their efforts.
“I understand that there are special interest groups that are concerned about things the Conservative government has done, but I’m not concerned about it at all.”
On whether or not he sees a threat in the restructuring of the ridings, Wilks said that the changes make for a more diverse riding, and that “any candidate, regardless of their party, that thinks they have a slam dunk is in for a rude awakening.”
Wilks said that he is looking forward to the debates this fall in which he will be participating, and meeting with constituents on the ground throughout the riding.
For more information on LeadNow, check out the website .