Taft chosen by Columbia River Revelstoke NDP

Gerry Taft, NDP, and Doug Clovechok, BC Liberal, go right after each other

Columbia River Revelstoke BC Liberal candidate Doug Clovechok

It’s off to the races in Columbia River Revelstoke as the NDP have chosen Gerry Taft, current District of Invermere Mayor, to represent them in the coming provincial election.

And Taft wasted no time in going after his opponent, Doug Clovechok of the BC Liberals, prompting Clovechok to liken his opponent to Donald Trump.

Taft’s candidacy was confirmed at a constituency meeting in Golden this past weekend. He was endorsed by current MLA Norm Macdonald, and defeated Spring Hawes of Invermere.

“I am very grateful for the support I received from members across the constituency,” said Taft following the announcement of the vote count. “And I am thankful to my nominators and endorsers for the faith they have shown in me. We have a lot of work ahead of us as we build our campaign team across the region, and that work starts today.”

At the meeting Taft reminded members of service and facility cuts the last time a BC Liberal represented the riding (Wendy McMahon from 2001 to 2005).

“Mr. Clovechok is going to take another run at it, and he’s even said that he learned a lot of lessons from the last election campaign. He believes that he will now be a better candidate. But I’ve seen absolutely no change in Mr. Clovechok since 2013,” said Taft.

“Everything Mr. Clovechok says is straight out of the BC Liberal playbook. A look at his Facebook and Twitter shows a mindless series of BC Liberal retweets and government press releases. That’s not what the people in this region want to hear. We get enough of that propaganda through government advertising.

“Voters in Columbia River Revelstoke want a representative who puts them first. They want to elect an MLA who will listen and speak on their behalf. Mr. Clovechok has always sided with the BC Liberals over the people he claims to want to represent.”

Taft said that Clovechok was in support of the HST and the Jumbo development, while he himself had been a vigorous opponent of both.

Clovechok responded that it is disappointing that Mr. Taft’s first public communication to constituents involved “Donald Trump style personal attacks”.

“He clearly does not understand this tactic is not what the people of our riding want from those asking to be hired in the next provincial election.

“In Mr. Taft’s press release he criticizes me because I have not changed my principles or my Party. Mr. Taft is a professional politician and has supported many political parties so far in his young life. He sat on the federal Conservative Party of Canada Board of Directors for Columbia Kootenay, was a member of the BC Liberal Party, a member of the BC First Party and now he claims to support the NDP.

“I would never switch political parties just because I figured it would get me elected. Even after being unsuccessful in the 2013 election, I stuck to the values of free enterprise and fiscal responsibility while advocating relentlessly to give Columbia River Revelstoke residents a voice on issues that matter to them and their families.”

The Green Party has not yet announced a candidate for Columbia River Revelstoke.