Tech wizard and rocker to represent Tories against Premier

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail

Duane Nickull, left, speaks to reporters at an event introducing him as the B.C. Conservatives’ candidate for Vancouver-Point Grey on Feb. 28, 2013. (Andrea Woo/The Globe and Mail)

The B.C. Conservative Party has nominated a software entrepreneur and musician as its candidate to take on Liberal Leader Christy Clark and NDP challenger David Eby in the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey.

Party Leader John Cummins introduced provincial politics newcomer Duane Nickull at a media event on Thursday, saying he believed the indie rocker and tech wizard will bring some excitement to the campaign leading up to the May 14 provincial election.

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Mr. Nickull, a self-proclaimed “data geek,” was co-founder and CEO of Yellow Dragon Software Inc., which he sold to software giant Adobe Systems in 2003. He continued working at Adobe until 2011, when he launched Technoracle Advanced Systems Inc.

Mr. Nickull represented Canada at the United Nations in the Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business Plenary Bureau in Geneva between 2003 to 2006, winning election as vice-chair, according to a news release issued by the party. In his spare time, he also plays in a band called 22nd Century, in which he goes by the nickname Duane Chaos.

He is passionate about environmental sustainability, education and technology.

“Duane is not just another candidate,” Mr. Cummins said. “He is a man of considerable talent and he is also a very accomplished guitarist in a band. He is a man for all seasons, you might say. With the selection of Duane, the ante is upped here. It is a three-way race.”

While Mr. Nickull says his parents and grandparents were actively involved with the NDP and Greenpeace, he relates most to the B.C. Conservative Party.

“I looked at the policies of this party and it attracted me,” Mr. Nickull said. “I agree with the policies and I think, out of all the parties, this one has the best chance of changing this province for the better.”

He lives in Kitsilano with his wife, Bettina, and has three children.

The riding is currently held by the Premier and has traditionally been a battleground for the B.C. Liberals and the NDP. The 2011 by-election proved to be a tight race, with Mr. Eby, the outspoken Downtown Eastside activist and former executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, coming within 564 votes of upsetting Ms. Clark.

Mr. Eby has said he found the by-election results encouraging and is looking forward to the rematch.

Françoise Raunet will also return as the Green Party of B.C. candidate.

Mr. Nickull is the B.C. Conservative Party’s 30th nominated candidate. The party intends to run a full slate less Delta-South, which is currently represented by independent MLA Vicki Huntington.