Park Place Lodge

Wayne Stetski, the former Kootenay-Columbia MP and Cranbrook mayor, will be running in Kootenay East for the BC NDP in the coming election.

He says while he has been away from politics and largely removed from the public eye since the 2019 federal election, he still has a passion for government and helping people.

“That of course has come from my past work as a mayor and as a Member of Parliament, helping people was one of the most satisfactory things that I’ve had the opportunity to do in life,” Stetski says. “I also still have a strong desire to make a better province and a country, and being an MLA is certainly one way to do that.”

Stetski says the Kootenay East is facing a number of issues such as a lack of family physicians, dwindling wildlife populations, food production and replacing old or overcrowded schools like Cranbrook’s Mount Baker Secondary School and Fernie’s Isabella Dicken Elementary.

Prior to his political career, Stetski was the Kootenay Regional Manager for the B.C. Ministry of Environment for 35 years, a position he feels would help him if he was to be elected as the MLA for Kootenay East.

“Wildlife populations in the Kootenays are way down from when I was the regional manager. Having been regional manager, I believe in the science, I believe I know how to help bring the populations back up and part of it is certainly getting local involvement, local control back to making the regulations around wildlife.”

Wildlife populations was one of Stetski’s major priorities entering the election, noting that as the former Kootenay Regional Manager, he will “always be there” for those who hunt and fish, noting that it is a significant way of life for many in the Kootenays.

Education was another key issue on Stetski’s radar, wanting to address safety and capacity in schools.

“Long-term, it is about getting a new middle school in Fernie to handle all of those kids that are coming out of elementary and to finally renovate Mount Baker Senior Secondary School in Cranbrook, which has been a long-time coming,” said the BC NDP candidate. “We need secure funding for teachers and EAs (Educational Assistants) going forward, but we also need to advance the infrastructure aspect of schools in our riding.”

He decided to run after meeting then-Premier John Horgan at an NDP convention, he says he was impressed with Horgan and hopes to work with him when the next provincial government is decided.

“I want to work with John Horgan, I think he’s been a great Premier,” commented Stetski. “The people of Kootenay East have heard many times over the years how important it is to have an MLA that is part of government. John Horgan will continue as Premier, I am confident of that and I really want to be part of John’s team so that the voices of the people of Kootenay East will have a direct line into the Premier’s office.”

He will be running against incumbent Tom Shypitka of the BC Liberals and Kerri Wall of the Green Party.

The Elk Valley Provincial Candidate Forum is taking place Virtually, read more here.

See the details on how to get out and vote in the 2020 Provincial General Election here in Fernie

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