Wayne Stetski, the federal NDP candidate for Kootenay Columbia, is confident about his chances of winning the general election in October.
The former mayor of Cranbrook said that a mix of long-term support from this riding’s constituents and the help of an unlikely ally will win him a job as a Member of Parliament over incumbent Conservative MP David Wilks.
“I worked with Justin (Trudeau) when his brother Michel died in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park,” Stetski said. “I was the district manager of the park and I helped raise $1.1 million with the Trudeau family to build a public cabin in honour of Michel and the 12 others who died in the avalanche.”
Stetski said he hopes Trudeau will endorse him, despite representing different parties. He said the similarities in what the Liberal Party and the NDP are proposing would make Trudeau’s endorsement legitimate.
“When you actually sit down and look at the party positions, there is a lot of focus on middle-class families,” Stestki said. “There is a lot of overlap in the platforms.”
Though Stetski has not reached out to Trudeau yet, he plans to call or email before the October election.
The Liberal Party has yet to select a candidate for the riding, leaving the door open for Stetski.
Despite losing the 2013 municipal election in Cranbrook, Stetski said he still feels a lot of support in the federal race.
“I actually increased in votes between 2011 and 2013, so I actually kept my loyal voters,” Stetski said, noting that a split vote in 2011 allowed him to initially win the mayorship.
Stetski said his approach to being an MP would be similar to how he treated his role as mayor. He defined his style of governing as “holistic.”
“The arts and culture, multiculturalism, people with disabilities, youth and seniors, were all as important as some of the traditional aspects of being mayor, which are infrastructure, potholes and economic development,” Stetski said.
Stetski acknowledged the election will be close. Wilks earned 55.9 per cent of the vote in 2011, whereas NDP candidate Mark Shmigelsky only got 33.2 per cent. However, he still likes his chances to reunite with his old friend come October.
“I am really looking forward to seeing Justin again when I am in Ottawa after the October election,” Stetski said.