Helena Konanz biography:
Helena graduated from UCLA and travelled the world as a professional tennis player, achieving a top 100 world ranking. After finishing her tennis career, Helena went on to work for NIKE at their world headquarters in Portland Oregon, where she met her future husband, Adam. They married and eventually moved to Penticton where they raised their children, Zakary and Zoe.
Their business, Konanz Chiropractic Centre, recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Helena was elected to Penticton City Council from 2011-2018. Helena represented the city on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS), the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA), the Southern Interior Municipal Employers Association (SIMEA), and was council liaison to many organizations including the Penticton Industrial Development Association and the Penticton Chamber of Commerce.
Helena attained her master’s degree at UBC Okanagan in Political Science in Fall, 2018. She has since worked as a small business coach. She has won seven national Canadian masters tennis championships and has spent nearly a decade volunteering as a coach for the Penticton Secondary School Tennis Team.
Given the size of the riding, and substantial differences in priorities among the communities, how will you balance and represent all your constituents?
We live in the most beautiful riding in the country. But it also is one of the most difficult to travel through with all the mountains and waterways. I commit to representing all the people in this riding by making sure I am available to them, something that hasn’t happened in the last 6 years under our former MP. To service this riding, I will have two permanent offices, one located in the Kootenays and in one in Penticton. I will also have “pop up” offices throughout the riding so I have a presence and I am available to constituents on a regular basis.
How will you address concerns by community members about how they see a revolving door in the judicial system benefiting prolific offenders? Do you feel there is a need for judicial reform and what will your party do to address need?
Penticton has one of the highest rates of crime in the province, while the rate of crime is rising in every other community in this riding. Our RCMP tell us most of the crimes are committed by the same few criminals, over and over again. They know who they are, and there is nothing they can do to keep these perpetrators behind bars. We need to revamp the judicial system so that the public is kept safe by incarcerating them longer while making both addiction and mental health services available while behind bars.
If there is a bill that is supported by other members of your party, but is one that you feel will be detrimental to your constituents, will you vote your conscience against it?
I will always listen to the voices of my constituents and will never support a bill that would be detrimental to the people of this riding.
How do you plan to lead this riding out of the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you support the implementation of a proof of vaccination program or mandatory vaccinations?
Vaccines are part of an entire tool kit to fight Covid-19, including rapid testing, masks and social distancing. Vaccines are the most important tool in the fight against COVID-19 and I encourage everyone to be vaccinated in this riding, as I have and so has my entire family. It is also important to point out that vaccination passport restrictions are set by the Provincial Government. I would also like to add that I would support exemptions for those with health-related situations that prevent vaccinations. Currently there are no exemptions.
What do you feel is the most important issue in your riding, and how would you address it?
All levels of government need to work together in this riding to address the opioid crisis. For example, Penticton has one of the highest rate of overdoses in the province, and drug addiction can be witnessed in almost every community. Canada’s Conservatives have a plan to invest in Mental health and drug addiction treatment, including investing $325 million over the next three years to create 1,000 residential drug treatment beds and build 50 recovery community centres across the country. Non-profit organizations like Pathways who provide services to those with substance abuse issues should not be forced to close due to lack of funding.