ELECTION PROFILE: Shari Lukens

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford: Overcoming loss on the road to Ottawa, tragedy moulded Conservative candidate

Born and raised on the Prairies, Shari Lukens, grew up in the wheat fields of Alberta. When she wasn’t working the golden fields on the family’s grain farm, she spent her time carving her own path on the ice. She even landed a spot at the prestigious Mariposa School of Skating.

“My goal was to be world champion and that’s what I was training for,” Lukens said. But at 16, her skating dreams were ended by a drunk driver.

While she could no longer compete professionally, her passion led her to coaching, and eventually Denmark, where she not only taught other skaters but was also asked to teach power skating to the Danish men’s national hockey team.

“The Canadian-Danish Hockey team I used to call them.” She laughed, at the time their roster including a large number of other Canadians.

After returning to Canada, Lukens shifted careers, while continuing to teach skating on the side, her focus was now in broadcast journalism.

“I’d always wanted to do broadcasting,” she said. After training in B.C. her career led her across the province and back to the Prairies.

It was while working on an award winning documentary that Lukens was set up on a blind date with the man that would eventually become her husband.

“We were married eight months to the day later,” she said. The couple lived on the mainland for a while but in 2005, they could no longer resist the draw of the Island. Her husband was originally from the Duncan area, so the Cowichan Valley seemed like a perfect fit.

“We were avid fishermen so it was fabulous.”

But their Island life together was short-lived. In 2006, Lukens’ husband was killed in a helicopter crash.

“It really takes the wind out of your sails,” she sighed. Her father had been a pilot and she knew the risks of the profession, they had even talked about it being a possibility but she said you never imagine something like that ever happening.

It was a dark time, one that was made worse by court proceedings five years later. Although she did not initiate them, she was still forced to go through the discovery process and relive those horrific events. It pushed her into a deep place and she was diagnosed with PDST. She attributes her ability to move forward to her support team and network. And at the time the Conservative party was bringing in a victim’s rights bill, which really resonated with her.

“In my heart I knew what he wanted.”

So in 2009, “I decided I needed to take care of Shari,” she said.

In August of that year she moved to Colwood, a place that had years before left her awestruck by its beauty. She had told herself that “If I ever get the opportunity to move down here I would.”

That love of the West Shore drew her into the area and she became highly engaged in its communities, eventually running for Colwood City council in 2011 and serving until 2014.

But tragedy struck again and just as she was preparing to run for another term her mother was diagnosed with cancer. She was forced to make what she refers to as a “life choice” and not knowing what kind of treatment her mother would need, she decided not to run. She said she didn’t want any absences caused by her taking care of her mother in Alberta to force a by-election and cost tax payers more money.

Now, she is onto what she calls “plan B” and has put her travel plans on hold with the hopes of representing her electoral riding in Ottawa.

When she’s not out campaigning she’s at home with her 11-year-old English springer spaniel named Maestro.

“He’s Mr. Personality,” she said of her beloved dog, who originally belonged to her husband and is her “last real connection” with him.

While she doesn’t get out on the ice as much as she’d like to in more recent years she still holds onto her skates. She said getting out on the ice, “that’s where I really feel freedom and passion.” She said skating has taught her to get back up when you fall.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: Friday night fire outside Saanich Staples

Witness says two employees helped put out blaze

Victoria non-profit empowers women escaping abusive homes with a fresh start

Organization’s gift certificate program helped around 400 women last year

VIDEO: Royal Bay Secondary students take flight in ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’

Play tells the story of the orphan who becomes Peter Pan

Sidney designer showing killer collection at Van Fashion Week

A young Sidney designer is showing her 14 piece collection Obsidian Nights at Vancouver Fashion Week

Support group helps Victoria parents navigate issues with children

Parents and caregivers offered “free, safe, non-judgmental, confidential” support

VIDEO: Iconic ‘snow cone’ takes shape at B.C. park near Clearwater

Snow cone forming at Wells Gray Provincial Park one that would make Disney’s Queen Elsa proud

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

B.C.-based ‘Team Tardi’ brings home gold in junior curling worlds

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

Most Read