By Steve Hubrecht

Robin Goldsbury is taking a second kick at the can as Liberal candidate for Kootenay–Columbia. Goldsbury ran as the Liberal candidate in the 2019 federal election and she’s back again.

Although the Liberals historically have a tough time in the riding (usually coming in third, sometimes fourth, for the past decade and a half), Goldsbury told the Pioneer she’s learned a lot from her 2019 campaign and this time she’s gunning to win.

She conceded that she managed to earn a shade under 10 per cent of the vote in 2019, but added “we’re going to push that and make people proud to be Liberal in this riding.” Goldsbury was also forthright about Liberal Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau’s, lack of popularity in some corners of Kootenay–Columbia.

“There is some anti-Justin Trudeau sentiment out there, but this isn’t about Justin Trudeau. This is about getting the best candidate for Kootenay–Columbia in Ottawa, and I stand for Kootenay–Columbia,” she said. “It’s time we brought the focus of government right across the country. So often rural Canada gets left out, but it’s important to put those rural issues on the table.”

Goldsbury is confident that the Liberals will lead the next government, adding that, if she is elected, Kootenay–Columbia would have a representative belonging to the governing party for the first time in almost six years. “We need to have our voice heard. We need the Kootenay–Columbia perspective in government,” she says.

Goldsbury grew up in Alberta and moved to the Kootenay nearly three decades ago, starting in Cranbrook where she ran an in-house ad agency for a publication company. She then started up a value-added forestry products company, sparked by what she called a “bet she couldn’t sell ‘kindling’.”

“We sold our products all over the world,” she tells the Pioneer, adding that her Kootenay Cone Company was the first licensed botanical collector in the province, and employed more than 40 people. She and her partner Reg also owned and ran a motel in Cranbrook.

After more than a decade of being an entrepreneur, Robin decided to head back to school, eventually earning a master’s degree in neuroscience.

“I love to learn, I’ve spent a lot of time in school. For me learning is a lifelong journey that never is done,” she says. “And it never ceases to surprise me how much that approach has helped me in life. For instance, my neuroscience degree has given me enough background in sciences that, since the pandemic started I’ve been able to read, and understand, the studies in academic journals that are being cited by experts. It’s important, I think, to try as much as possible to pay attention to the science on issues, rather than pay attention to what politicians are saying about the science on issues. The scientific method is not perfect, but it’s the best method we have.”

While continuing to be involved in property development in the Cranbrook area, in 2007 the Goldsburys took over the old Docker’s Pub on Kootenay Lake, right beside the Balfour ferry landing, transforming the pub into the well-known timber frame Dock and Duck Resort. “Living on the lake and running the resort has been fantastic. This summer was our fourteenth there and it’s still as fun as it was the first summer,” she tells the Pioneer. 

“My background is pretty varied: I’ve been involved in the forestry industry, the tourism industry, the hospitality industry, and in property development — many of the major industries in the Kootenay, and I’ve done it from the perspective of having to create my own living out of it, rather than being a government employee, as other candidates have. It’s given me deep firsthand knowledge of the major issues facing people here. I know the challenges entrepreneurs and small business operators face. I know the riding.” 

Goldsbury continues to divide her time between Balfour and Cranbrook, working in both places, volunteering for nonprofits, skiing at Kimberley, and spending time with her two grown sons and her four grandkids.

“They are my joy and a big part of why I’m doing this. I want my grandkids to live in a Kootenay–Columbia and in a world that is a better place,” she said. “Green initiatives have been a big part of who I am and what I do, and my grandkids and their future is a big reason why.”

If there’s any spare time beyond that, Goldsbury is out skiing and snowmobiling in winter, or in the summer out on Kootenay lake, hiking in the mountains, or scuba diving. “I love being outside,” she says. If she is forced to be indoors, she said, you’ll find her crocheting or reading.

Goldsbury said voter response to her campaign so far has been good. “We’ve tried the left with the NDP, we’ve tried the right with Conservatives, let’s try the middle, with me,” she says.