UPDATE: 9:00 p.m.
After a day of voting, the next candidate for BC United in the Kelowna-Lake Country-Coldstream riding has been decided. To thunderous applause, businessman Pavneet Singh beat out three other candidates and will now work hard towards election day next year.
“Definitely, definitely excited, but the job is not done, it just started. I won the nomination. I’m a candidate for MLA, but I’m not an MLA yet. Our MLA is Norm Letnick, and I’m going to work hard with the local city and with everybody in my riding, talking to people, hearing the issues and we’ll go from there,” said Singh.
Current MLA Norm Letnick will hold the position for the next year as these nomination candidates will now be important teammates as they work together towards the next election.
“A house divided never gets elected, so it’s really important. I have experience being on the losing end of a nomination race. It’s not fun, but after a few hours you lick your wounds and move on. I hope by tomorrow, whoever doesn’t win, calls the winning candidate and says OK, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and help you get elected in the next election. It’s the right thing to do,” said Letnick.
Singh will be discussing future steps of action with long-running MLA Norm Letnick and team, but believes addressing public safety is a top priority in the Okanagan.
“All the candidates worked really hard. I’d like to thank you, everybody, Binny Boparai, Amanda and Bal Grewal, they worked really hard as well, so now it’s time to work together. As a team we will definitely try our best to go and listen to what people want to have changed in their ridings and make our Kelowna and our families a safer place and we want our streets to be as safe to walk for everybody,” said Singh.
UPDATE: 7:57 p.m.
The vote for the next BC United candidate has come to a close and a winner has been announced.
To much applause, businessman Pavneet Singh brought home the most votes and will now be the candidate for BC United for the Kelowna-Lake Country-Coldstream riding.
Singh is the owner of multiple Pita Pit and Freshslice franchises in Kelowna.
He says he will take the night to enjoy the victory with friends and family but says the hard work starts tomorrow.
ORIGINAL: 10:10 A.M.
Hundreds of people were lined up at Kelowna’s Best Western hotel Saturday morning to cast their vote for the next BC United candidate in the Kelowna-Lake Country-Coldstream riding.
The MLA for BC United, which was previously the BC Liberals, was hosting Saturday morning’s nomination event that saw the four candidates make brief speeches about who they are and what they stand for. Those speeches can be seen above.
“Your job doesn’t end today,” Letnick said to the four candidates. “If you lose, and three of them are not going to make it to the front of the ballot, then your job is to join with whoever is at the front of the ballot at the end of the day and bring the team together and make sure we win this riding again.
“Let’s get going tomorrow to make sure that whoever wins today becomes the MLA and [BC United leader] Kevin Falcon is the next premier of B.C.”
Voting by BC United party members will continue throughout the day at the Best Western, with results expected to come in by about 6:30 p.m.
Saturday morning, hundreds of people waited in a long, winding lineup through the hotel’s hallways, waiting to cast their vote.
The winner of Saturday’s nomination process will go on to represent the riding for BC United during next fall’s provincial election, after Letnick retires from provincial politics.
While Renee Merrifield will be seeking re-election in the Kelowna-Mission riding, Ben Stewart has also said he will not be running again in the Kelowna West riding. BC United candidates have yet to be chosen for that riding, along with the newly formed Kelowna Centre riding.