It may be somewhat difficult to fathom but the federal election is looming next year, and riding associations are beginning to think about putting forward candidates.
In the Kootenay Columbia riding, those hoping to represent the Conservative party are beginning to hit the road to introduce themselves to voters.
The first hopeful through Kimberley this week was Dale Shudra, who lives in Radium, who has announced his candidacy for the Conservative nomination in this riding.
Shudra has been on the road this week and last, visiting Revelstoke and Golden last Thursday, Cranbrook and Fernie last Friday and then Kimberley and Creston on Monday. Then it was over to Nelson.
At this stage in the process, he is mainly just introducing himself to potential voters, signing them up to the party if they are not members, and asking for their vote when the time comes.
Shudra hopes that will be later this spring.
“Our riding association wants to get the candidate quickly,” he said, but added that the ultimate decision of when the nominating vote will take place is up to party headquarters in Ottawa.
It involves a 45 day window, he says, with the first three weeks spent vetting candidates and then the last 21 days spent campaigning, and in a riding this size, a traveling ballot box.
There are others who have indicated interest, Shudra says.
“I’ve heard there are one or two in Nelson and one in Cranbrook,” he said. “My plan is to get my name known in the communities as much as I can.”
He expects the Party will announce the window opened sometime in the next couple of months and he plans to be ready.
Shudra has been politically active most of his life, saying he was inspired by seeing Robert Kennedy speak in Calgary in the ‘60s. He did enter the nominating contest in 2011 (when David Wilks won the nod) but had to withdraw because of a death in the family.
“I did not plan to run again but feel compelled and excited to enter the contest this time around,” he said.
“These are difficult times and good, competent people need to step up and lead. While being an effective Member of Parliament has its challenges, it presents unique opportunities to significantly benefit our communities and country.”
Dale and his wife reside in Radium.
His education includes graduating with law and business degrees.
Dale has extensive business/entrepreneurial and legal experience in diverse areas including natural resources, real estate, finance and manufacturing.
He believes that his background, knowledge, analytical skills and strong work ethic will translate into a much-needed political presence for Kootenay Columbia.
Shudra says and believes “that despite social issues getting most of the press, citizens want governments that are fiscally responsible while pursuing social agendas.”
He fears where we are heading economically.
“Missteps have led us down a troubling path and we need to regain our status as a preferred country to do business with and invest in. Some of the current governments are spending more effort apologizing for our resource industries rather than promoting and supporting their responsible development. We will continue to pay an economic price if this is not corrected,” he said.
Shudra also has experience in provincial politics having been president of the BC Liberal riding association in Columbia River Revelstoke and working on Doug Clovechok’s successful campaign.
He believes the Conservatives can win back Kootenay Columbia, which has a long history of electing Conservative candidates.
“I plan to be that capable Conservative candidate,” he said.“Who gets elected and makes a needed difference”.