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Liberal nomination overshadows the rest

September 6, 2016 5:17 P.M.
Peter Milobar and Steven Puhallo.

A NewsKamloops editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

HOW ARE the other parties supposed to generate any excitement in Kamloops-North Thompson when all the focus over the next few weeks will be on the Liberal nomination?

The B.C. Liberals now have two high-profile candidates seeking the nomination in the riding as Mayor Peter Milobar confirmed Monday morning he’ll challenge North Kamloops Business Improvement Association executive director Steven Puhallo.

As an indication of his record on the north side of the river, Milobar made his announcement in the parking lot of the McArthur Island Sports and Events Centre.

Milobar has a name-recognition advantage over Puhallo, but both will claim to have their finger on the pulse of the North River. Puhallo grew up there, and Milobar — though he lives on the South Shore — will point to his experience as a past chair of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

This should prove an interesting battle. Aside from what they each can bring to the table for the riding, they have very different credentials. Milobar has a proven track record in getting elected several times in Kamloops civic politics, but Puhallo has an edge in Liberal pedigree.

His party experience goes back to 2001 when he was a special assistant to the B.C. government whip, then a ministerial assistant, then a regional party organizer in the Interior and North.

That resume, which will have brought him a lot of connections within the party plus an intimate knowledge of provincial campaigning, will stand him in good stead when it comes to selling party memberships.

And memberships are what party nominations are all about. The candidate who sells the most, wins the nomination.

So while Milobar is the more recognizable by the general public, Puhallo should be able to match him in the membership race.

That’s what will make it a hard-fought nomination, and will overshadow the other parties, who can't muster such high-profile candidates for their nominations.

Got an opinion? Leave a comment here or write to letters@newskamloops.com.

Allan Dubbs says:
September 13, 2016 06:20pm

This will be an interesting race to say the least, one can appreciate how much good work Mr. Puhallo has done for Kamloops, especially the North side. How terrific it would be to see someone so in tune with the needs of the average Kamloopsian/British Columbian. Mayor Milobar on the other hand appears extremely lacking in respect to these values. We all remember his attitude after we lost the cancer clinic as well as the Cardiac center. Seems too easy for him to just go along and accept what e lost. In his defense - our hospital parking lot is rather nice though. We need another MLA like Minister Stone, results orientated, not afraid to turn a "no" into a "yes". Hopefully the Liberal party agrees, we need more for Kamloops!

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Allpoints says:
September 8, 2016 01:27pm

So Milobar won't even consider the possibility of paying even a portion of the cost of a by-election for his current council position Even in the event to begin with he gets the nomination for the Liberal party or further becomes the next MLA in that riding. How much does that tell you about a self entitled individual that leaves the city chambers to swim with the bigger fish. Former mayor (Penticton) and current MLA Dan Ashton at least had the courage to step up to the plate when elected MLA and wrote a cheque for 32,000 for cost of a by election. Milobar says he doesn't want to encourage future current city hall candidates to run if they are held responsible for the cost of a by election while still in office. How gracious of him. As much as I am not a Cavers fan at least if he holds his word although his chances of getting elected are slim and his word is that he will pay for a by election Milobar on the other hand is another MLA with short arms and deep pockets.

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Pierre Filisetti says:
September 6, 2016 11:38pm

How are the other parties supposed to generate excitement?
By having well thought out and well articulated policy alternatives.
Not easy, when even the upper echelons do not seem to be able to move past vagueness and platitudes.

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Grouchy 1 says:
September 7, 2016 02:21pm

Actually Pierre, the answer is for the media to actually cover the other parties as much as they fawn over the Liberals. Quite simple in my book.

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