Al Horning

Al Horning is pictured in a 2019 file photo by The Daily Courier.

Was there ever a politician from the Central Okanagan as popular as Al Horning?

Horning was a Kelowna city councillor (twice), member of Parliament and MLA. Very few politicians in B.C. have done all three.

He was one of the rare guys who you could say: “I don’t like his party (which happened to be the PCs), but I like him.”

Add to this a list of volunteer service to amateur sport, outdoor recreation, the library, the Okanagan Water Basin board, the hospital and cancer care and Horning has given the community a lifetime of service.

This week Horning entered the eighth decade of his life and celebrated his 80th birthday on Tuesday.

To borrow words from The Parliamentary Channel used to describe former premier W.A.C. Bennett, Al Horning was “the man for the ages in a time that could not last.”

During his time in Ottawa, he was a salesman for the Okanagan, once gaining the nickname “Pit Bull” for his tenacity in bringing goodies to his riding.

His greatest accomplishment was securing a military contract for the Kelowna-based Western Star.

The media loved him because he was always accessible.

Of his many achievements, Horning is most proud to be a resident of Rutland.

These days he jumps around from coffee shop to coffee shop and still has his pulse on the community. He’s never lost his sense of humour. He’s also a die-hard sports fan. This week, he’s undoubtedly cheering for the Raptors.

Horning definitely came from a different era when social media wasn’t spewing venom at elected officials. He could shoot from the hip and tell it like it is.

On behalf of the community, we wish Al Horning a happy 80th birthday and thank him for his service to the entire community — Rutland, in particular.

James Miller is managing editor of The Kelowna Daily Courier.