Hill steps out of nomination race

Candidates for the next federal election are vying for their party's nomination.

The final candidates for the major federal parties are lining up for their respective nomination races in the newly established riding of South Okanagan West Kootenay.

NDP MP Alex Atamanenko, who has announced his intention to return to private life after the next election, currently represents the Boundary.

District of West Kelowna Councillor Rick de Jong announced his candidacy for the Conservative Party of Canada nomination earlier this month at a press conference in Penticton.

Penticton resident and real estate agent Marshall Neufeld is also campaigning for the Conservative nomination in the riding. He officially announced his intention to seek the nomination on Dec. 3, 2013.

With those two in the race, incumbent Conservative candidate Stephen Hill has announced he is dropping out of the race.

“With great sadness, I must withdraw my name for the Conservative nomination,” Hill said. “The timing of the current nomination conflicts with personal obligations,

which are beyond my control.”

Hill garnered over 19,000 votes in the 2011 federal election, coming in second to Atamanenko. “To Marshall Neufeld, and any other prospective candidate who may step forward, I wish you well. I know Marshall would be a fine representative of the Conservative Party.”

In order to vote, memberships to the Conservative Party of Canada must have been purchased by July 3, 2014.

Connie Denesiuk wants to be the federal Liberal candidate. Denesiuk, a former federal Conservative, served 19 years on the Okanagan Skaha school board in addition to holding the office of president of the B.C. School Trustees Association.

Vince Salvo, President of the South Okanagan – West Kootenay NDP Riding Association, said a nomination meeting to select their party’s candidate was also being planned.

“At the current time we have two candidates,” said Salvo. “Richard Cannings from Penticton and Margaret Maximenko from Christina Lake.”

The new electoral boundary of South Okanagan West Kootenay includes Penticton, Oliver, Osoyoos, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Rossland, Trail and Castlegar.