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CANADA VOTES: With majority of results in, NDP leading in South Okanagan West Kootenay

Richard Cannings and Helena Konanz are once again neck-and-neck
With the first polls reporting, a narrow race has once again emerged between Conservative candidate Helena Konanz and NDP incumbent Richard Cannings in the South Okanagan - West Kootenay riding in the 2021 general election.

After a long night and a short 36-day campaign, Richard Cannings is in the lead to be re-elected as the NDP representative for the South Okanagan West Kootenay riding.

Cannings led the vote with 22,584 votes or 41 per cent of valid votes cast in the election.

Those votes included advance votes and in-person votes on election day but not the special ballots which were to be. There were 7,593 special ballots that were issued for mail-in voting that will be counted on Tuesday, Sept. 21.

The count was made with 90 per cent of polling stations reporting on election night, or 262 out of 289 as of 11 p.m. on Sept. 20.

Despite numerous attempts to contact Cannings through the evening, he wasn’t available for comment.

Conservative candidate Helena Konanz came in second place to Cannings, with 19,337 or 35.1 per cent of the votes cast as of Monday night.

Konanz said she was surprised by the results, but that she wouldn’t change how she campaigned with the team of volunteers and the support of her family.

“That’s what politics is all about sometimes, you just don’t know where the cards will lie at the end,” said Konanz who spoke to the Western News outside the Brexit pub where she gathered with her family and a few supporters on election night.

Despite the results ending up further apart than the 2019 election, Konanz is grateful to all who supported her and the Conservatives.

“We’re so lucky we live in a place where we can practice our democratic rights, we’re blessed, said Konanz. “Thank you to all those who supported me, but now we need to get behind our member of parliament here and get our community and our country back on its feet, and there are a lot people hurting that we need to reach out and make sure that everyone is a healthy community again.”

Part of the surprise that Konanz felt was with the issues that she was hearing while she and her team heard while campaigning.

“What I heard mostly at the doors was that people were angry an election was called at all, but as you can see as a country they continue to support Justin Trudeau, so there’s something in that,” said Konanz. “I guess they weren’t as angry as we thought. “

Early on in the evening, Konanz and Cannings were neck-and-neck, switching lead positions several times before Cannings began to pull away around 9 p.m.

The Liberals candidate, Ken Roberston, brought in 6,788 votes, or 12.3 per cent of the votes to take third place.

Robertson spent election night at Penticton’s Barking Parrot with a small group of supporters where he said he was trying to stay optimistic.

Robertson was especially pleased that the Liberal party won the federal election.

“The Liberal’s predicted win gives a good barometer to how Canadians feel and what platforms they believe in,” he said.

Knocking on doors through this election, the number one issue that came up in SOWK was affordable housing, said Robertson. He also saw jobs and health care at top issues around the riding as well as Indigenous issues.

Green party candidate Tara Howse brought in 2,153 votes, or 3.9 per cent. Howse told Black Press that she was watching the polls when contacted earlier in the evening.

Howse also expressed her concern about health being made political when she was asked what she felt had been the most salient voting issue in the riding.

“Vaccines and vaccine passports became a political issue and that’s disappointing because these are really medical health issues that shouldn’t be decided by politicians,” she said.

The People’s Party of Canada candidate Sean Taylor pulled in 4,199 votes to finish fourth with 7.6 per cent of the vote. Taylor was contacted for comment but did not respond before publishing.

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