Wayne Stetski (standing) makes his first appearance in Golden after announcing he will be running in the next federal election for the Kootenay Columbia riding. He spoke to a group of locals at Jita’s Cafe on Wednesday afternoon.

Federal representative hopeful addresses group at coffee shop

The federal election is not in full swing yet, but NDP hopeful Wayne Stetski isn’t wasting any time getting his message out to this riding.

The federal election is not in full swing yet, but NDP hopeful Wayne Stetski isn’t wasting any time getting his message out to the Kootenay Columbia riding. He was in Golden last week for an informal meet and greet at Jita’s Cafe.

“If we’re going to get change, we need to get people out to vote,” he said. “If we work really hard, I think we can make a difference in this riding.”

Stetski, describing himself as a fiscally responsible, Liberal-minded, Green NDPer, says he has something to offer everyone in his riding, and does not only appeal to strict NDP supporters.

He also stressed the importance of “strategic” voting in the upcoming election. He believes the NDP have the best chance at winning the election, therefore the best chance at seeing some change in Ottawa.

“Even if you’re normally a Green, I urge you to vote NDP, just this once.”

Stetski has not been happy with the direction in which the country is going, which is one of the reasons he decided to run.

“This election is really about Canada… Democracy is a real concern for me, and I think for a lot of others. If it keeps going this way, I don’t think we’ll recognize Canada anymore,” he said.

As a former mayor, Stetski understands how many provincial and federal responsibilities have downloaded onto local governments.

“Working in that role I was really able to see where the federal government was lacking,” he said.

He did not lay out too many specific priorities, but was instead hoping to hear from the crowd on what they wanted to see in Ottawa. He was also particularly interested in how he could get younger voters out to the polls this year.

“My job is to represent you, so I want to hear from all of you,” he said.