New federal riding almost in place -- Maximenko ready to campaign

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
February 22nd, 2014

Margaret Maximenko is getting close to the date when she can officially start campaigning to be Alex Atamanenko’s replacement after he retires.

Atamanenko is the current NDP Member of Parliament for the British Columbia Southern Interior Riding. He announced his retirement in early November of last year and shortly after, Maximenko announced her intent to put her name forward as his replacement.

Nothing is solidified until a March 15th meeting that will make her and fellow (potential) candidate Dick Cannings official nominees. At this meeting, a new riding will be put in place. The West Kootenay – South Okanagan riding will replace the Southern Interior riding with some changes to the electoral boundaries.

Once the new riding is established, all candidates can start campaigning and Maximenko is eager to get started. Only individuals who have been a member in good standing of the NDP for at least 90 days so she encourages anyone that wants to vote, to join the NDP so they can have a voice in who will be the next party leader.

Maximenko says that her main goal is to be a representative voice for the riding. She said it is a tremendous opportunity and that her experience has been leading her in this direction. Since she was a child, she has been interested, if not involved, in politics.

This has made her aware of many issues that are current today. The new election act is currently a hot topic and Maximenko is concerned about  how it will affect citizens. She says the new act is disturbing that some of the changes could potentially disenfranchise up to 120,000 voters because they are eliminating the vouching system. The vouching system allowed people who know each other to vouch for each other at the poll booths should someone forget their identification.

She also said the new act has taken away the chief election officer’s ability to investigate potential fraud.

“All he’s going to do is say when, where and how to vote,” said Maximenko.

Another concern of Maximenko’s is the new riding’s borders. The ridings are renegotiated at least every 10 years but this riding has skirted around major community centres like Nelson and Summerland, which she says it speaks volumes about the new demographic as each community tends to lean one way or another politically.

 However, she feels her own physical location in Christina Lake is ideal because she’s in the middle of the riding and will be able to travel through the region easily.

Maximenko has nothing but respect for Cannings but says they have different strengths. He is more of a “specialist” than she is, meaning he is very knowledgeable in certain areas. Whereas she calls herself a generalist, saying that she knows a fair amount about a wide variety of issues.

“I’ve been a big picture political activist all my life,” she said. “I’ve always strongly advocated for my community and its constituents. I believe in people.”

If Cannings should represent the NDP in their riding, Maximenko said she has the utmost respect for him and would be happy to work with him.

This post was syndicated from https://boundarysentinel.com
Categories: GeneralIssuesPolitics


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