Liberal challenger Greg Garbula says the voters of Nelson-Creston have spoken clearly, but he’s concerned they will not get the representation they deserve over the next four years.
“I’m not bitter, but I really do feel sad for the communities and people that are really asking for help,” Garbula told the Star shortly after it became clear NDP Michelle Mungall had easily taken the Tuesday race for the local riding.
“They have not been getting representation, they have not been getting emails or phone calls answered. Maybe she’s [Mungall] learned from that. Maybe she will come to the point where she will pay more attention to the people of this riding. Really it is about the MLA right now and her political aspirations versus what is best for the riding.”
Garbula came into the election race with virtually no political experience on his resume. The Nelson resident, who has spent most of his life in the hospitality and tourism industry, was put on the ballot late in the process.
The former manager of Kokanee Springs Golf Resort said he ran a campaign that was more grassroots than his main opponent.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” he said of the decisive loss that saw Mungall take 50 per cent of the vote and the Liberals only 29 per cent. “We didn’t pander ourselves or showboat, that’s not what we wanted to do. People tell you that in politics you are supposed to go out and hang off the windows or stand on the sidewalk and wave your sign. That’s not my style. I just wanted to help the people of this riding, it wasn’t about me.
“If this is the way people feel, then good luck with it and I really hope it works out for this riding.”
Garbula said he purposely kept a careful eye on what kind of pledges he made to residents of the Nelson-Creston riding.
“We didn’t want to lie and over-promise,” he said. “We didn’t want to tell people that we would be giving them $100 million dollars for education and health, we didn’t want to tell people we would fix all the problems in the riding. We wanted to tell people that we would represent them and fight for their cause.”
Though disappointed he won’t be heading to Victoria to represent Nelson-Creston, Garbula was happy with the results province-wide.
“I’m very pleased,” he said about the Liberal’s fourth victory in a row. “Our biggest goal in all of this was to help win enough seats in the province to make sure we had a strong provincial presence. It’s a fabulous result and it’s too bad we couldn’t ride on that whole wave.”
As for Liberal leader Christy Clark, Garbula said she must continue to lead the party over the next four years.
“I think that Christy Clark is a strong leader, I think the Liberal party has a great platform and overall philosophy,” said Garbula. “The vision for the province is a good one and we will be in better shape for that.”
Regarding his own future, Garbula is not sure if his entrance into politics will also be his exit.
“I have no way to predict that,” he said. “I have my family to take care of and my life to get on with.”