Radium resident, Progressive Conservative Dale Shudra has hopes to eventually take the Member of Parliament seat that NDP, Wayne Stetski is currently in. First, he needs to win the Conservative nomination, a contest which should be held this year.
Our previous MP was David Wilks who was a member of the Conservative Party, but lost out to Stetski in 2015, which was the first time an NDP took the seat since 1998. Stetski won by a mere 285 votes over Wilks, a very close race. Shudra has a goal to win the Conservative nomination and then take that seat in the 2019 election and has a determined, yet relaxed approach to his campaigning across the Kootenay Columbia riding.
When asked how he feels Stetski has done since he has taken the seat from Wilks, Shudra stated that he wasn’t certain what he has accomplished.
“I do see him having open houses, listening and talking to constituents, but what he is delivering on the ground, I don’t follow that closely or see much evidence of things I can name that he has accomplished. In fairness, when you are in opposition, you are limited in what you can do.”
Shudra explained that he feels the Conservative Party has a strong chance of taking the seat back in 2019. There was a strong Liberal support in the past election that historically was not there. Also, Nelson was added to the riding which did have an effect on the outcome of the election as it has a tendency to be the left side of the political spectrum.
“Sometimes you get swept up in things, many voters simply felt it was time for a change and that was how they voted. Once you get that change, you reconsider and think, ‘maybe that wasn’t the best choice’. I think there was that wave against the Conservatives across the country, and I think a lot of that vote is going to come back in 2019.”
For some the general image of the Conservative Party is still that negative Stephen Harper image. Shudra does share that he feels that the Conservative Party does have some work ahead of itself to be more inviting to the younger generation. Historically, it is the older generation that are interested in politics and have been known to vote. There is a rise in interest with the younger generation; however, the Conservative Party does have an image of being ‘Old Guard.’ An effort needs to be made to change this.
“Some people are too slow to acknowledge change. Sometimes you just need to acknowledge that a ship has sailed and it is time to move on. You also must be sensitive to the mood of the Country.
Shudra says he is also frustrated with some parties always acting like they have the moral high ground. “At times, to me, they (the Progressives) are the intolerant ones while claiming everyone else is intolerant. A good place to start the image change is with our new leader, Andrew Scheer, who is eighth years younger than the Prime Minister. He has to become better known and create new interest in the Conservative Party.”
The Federal Liberals have been supportive of legalizing Marijuana and that will be happening in the summer. The Conservatives have been hesitant on legalizing it, however, it could be one way to reach that younger generation that are hopeful and are excited for the legalization.
“I think there is great potential with medicinal marijuana, it’s quite interesting. Recreationally, I am not terribly supportive. That is just a personal thing. Economically, I don’t think it is going to be the gold mine that people think. There are already growth and distribution channels. I just don’t know, economically, how this is going to turn out. This is going to get rammed through and my fears are more about the young people and addiction issues, trying to police it, and work-related issues. So much is unclear and will not be clear for some time.
Overall, Shudra is looking forward to the next challenge and he is confident that the Conservatives can win the seat in 2019 as long as broaden their support base.
“The party in the later Harper years was, unfairly at times, viewed as uncaring. If the Conservatives can take strengths, such as financial responsibly, and combine it with the zest and social ideals of younger voters, that could be the sweet spot.”