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Nomination meeting set for federal NDP

Larry Koopman one of two potential nominees



Back in May, incumbent Conservative Party MP for the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country John Weston — with no one coming forward to challenge him — announced he would once again seek office in the 2015 federal election.

And soon he'll have a better idea of who will be challenging him for his seat.

Larry Koopman, current NDP riding association president, would like to be that candidate.

Koopman announced he would seek the nomination for the riding at the NDP nomination meeting to be held August 16.

"Some of the things I'm passionate about — and this may sound strange coming from a New Democrat — but one of my key issues is jobs and the economy. That's something that the Conservatives don't own," Koopman said with a laugh.

But where Koopman differs from his Conservative competition is where he plans to find those jobs.

"The jobs and the economy that I see, that I really believe in, is an economy that's going to really benefit all members of society (and) an economy that's really built on sustainable growth," Koopman said.

"That's unlike the Conservative sort of 'rip it and ship it' kind of approach."

Koopman's approach would focus on the research and development of green technologies — including incentives for business — and energy conservation.

"I'm deeply concerned about the negative effects of climate change, the degradation of our fragile ecosystem," Koopman said.

"I don't see any real leadership or vision from the Conservatives, and I think what's desperately required is action and strong leadership to protect our environment."

But Koopman has his work cut out for him in a riding that has never been held by a member of the NDP — a fact he's well aware of.

"I have no illusions about the battle ahead," he said, adding that while the NDP did increase its vote in the last federal election, it was still a ways back of Weston.

In terms of issues facing the Sea to Sky riding, Koopman listed the proposed LNG Woodfibre plant and food security along the coast as some of the issues he's concerned about.

Koopman has been involved with the NDP riding association for more than 10 years, and president for two.

His love of politics, however, has gone on much longer.

"My background has always been the political science student with a history major, so I've always been interested and involved in politics in some fashion," he said.

"And so as far as where I'm at right now, I'm very keen to further that education, let's put it that way."

The other potential nominee for the NDP is Elizabeth Nordlund of Gibsons.

Last month, the Liberal Party announced that its candidate in the riding would be former West Vancouver mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones.

The next federal election is tentatively set for October 2015.


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