The writ officially dropped on Aug. 2, ushering in the start of an unprecedented 11-week election campaign, and four candidates — incumbent Dan Albas (Conservative), Karley Scott (Liberal), Angelique Wood (NDP) and Robert Mellalieu (green Party) — are vying for your vote come Oct. 19 to be the Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola member of parliament.
The election campaign will be more than twice as long as the 2011 federal election and the longest since 1926.
Candidates and political parties can spend twice as much as they were permitted to under a traditional 37-day campaign.
The expense limit for Similkameen-Nicola candidates is set at $237,136.
The candidates can recoup up to 60 per cent of eligible expenses via taxpayer-funded rebates and political parties can do the same for up to half of eligible expenses.
The electoral boundary Merritt is in has been reconfigured and the number of ridings in this year’s election increases to 338 from the 308 in 2011.
Previously, the local riding was called Okanagan-Coquihalla and included the towns of Merritt, Logan Lake, Peachland, Penticton, West Kelowna and Summerland.
The new riding stretches to the U.S. border and incorporates the towns of Princeton and Keremeos, and parts of the City of Kelowna, but excludes Penticton, which has changed ridings.
When Parliament was dissolved earlier this month, the Conservatives had 159 seats, the NDP had 95, the Liberal Party had 36, independents held eight, four were vacant and the Green Party, Bloc Quebecois and Forces et Democrats party each had two seats.