Election signs are appearing around Summerland as the Sept. 20 federal election approaches. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Looking back at Penticton’s federal voting history

Prior to 2015 election Penticton had been a Conservative stronghold at the federal level

Since 2015, Penticton has been represented by a New Democratic Party Member of Parliament, but in the past, the city has often had Conservatives or other right-of-centre representatives in the House of Commons.

The city is now part of the South Okanagan—West Kootenay riding. This riding was established in 2013 and has twice elected NDP candidate Richard Cannings as its MP. In 2015, Cannings received 37.28 per cent of the vote, defeating Conservative candidate Marshall Neufeld and Liberal candidate Connie Denesiuk, who were both slightly below 30 per cent support. Green Party candidate Samantha Troy and Independent candidate Brian Gray were also on the ballot.

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In 2019, Cannings received 36.4 per cent of the vote, narrowly defeating Conservative candidate Helena Konanz, with 35.2 per cent voter support. There were six candidates in this election.

In the upcoming election Sept. 20, Konanz and Canning have both confirmed they are running.

Before the South Okanagan—West Kootenay riding was formed, Penticton had right-of-centre MPs over its history, with few exceptions.

Prior to the election of Cannings, the last time a New Democrat represented Penticton was in the 1988 federal election, when Jack Whittaker defeated incumbent Progressive Conservative Fred King.

Whittaker served one term as MP for the former Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt riding. In 1993, Jim Hart of the former Reform Party won the seat.

From then until 2015, the city was represented by Reform, Alliance or Conservative MPs. All three are or were right-of-centre federal parties.

From 1958 until 1988, the Progressive Conservative Party won all but one election. That election was in 1968, when Liberal candidate Bruce Howard defeated Progressive Conservative incumbent David Vaughan Pugh.

The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, the forerunner of today’s New Democratic Party, represented the area beginning in a by-election in 1948 until the 1957 election when the right-leaning Social Credit Party briefly represented the area.

From 1872 to 1948, Conservatives won or were acclaimed in every election or by-election except 1896, 1900 and 1904 when Liberal candidates were elected.

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