Kamloops teacher running for Liberals in local riding

New candidate likes direction of party, which 'hit rock bottom' in 2011

Steve Powrie is running for the Liberal Party in the federal riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.

Steve Powrie is running for the Liberal Party in the federal riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.

The Liberal party’s new candidate for the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo figures the party has “hit rock bottom,” so there’s nowhere to go but up.

Steve Powrie, a Kamloops teacher, says he sees a resurgence movement in the party, which suffered its worst federal election defeat in history in 2011, finishing third behind the governing Conservative Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party.

“Being at the back of the pack for the last four years, it had to do some retooling,” Powrie says of the Liberals.

“I think they’ve come out a much stronger party. I think they’ve come out with a leader [Justin Trudeau] who is the antithesis of Stephen Harper.”

Powrie talks about the Liberals’ centrist approach to governing. He says the party offers a broader range of perspectives, with less of the “black-white thinking we get with the Conservatives.”

However, the Liberals, with former candidate Murray Todd, only garnered about five per cent of the vote in this Interior British Columbia riding in 2011.

Conservative incumbent Cathy McLeod won her seat easily with 52 per cent of the vote, while former NDP candidate Michael Crawford took nearly 37 per cent.

While the numbers suggest there’s a huge hill to climb, Powrie says it’s possible we’ll see a Liberal comeback in the next federal election, scheduled in October 2015.

“What’s realistic about it is there’s a difference in tone and in the dynamic of the political environment. I think people are getting a little bit tired of holding their nose and voting for Conservatives.”

Powrie is well known in Kamloops as an educator and musician. He was nominated in early October and is in the process of assembling a campaign team and scheduling trips to meet with voters outside of Kamloops in rural communities like 100 Mile House.