The public and party supporters had a chance to meet Conservative candidate Mark Strahl at a meet and greet last week at the Hope arena. Strahl fielded a number of questions on his background, support for veterans, and reviewed the party platform.
About 21 people, mostly party supporters, attended the event, Thursday, April 7.
Mark Strahl is campaigning to take over for his father, Chuck Strahl, as MP for the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding. And although name recognition may fair well for the younger Strahl, concerns over his father’s actions are also dogging him in the campaign.
With 27 years of service in the Canadian Armed Forces and as a director on the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association, Lee Naylor questioned the candidate on his commitment to supporting vets.
Recently when the veterans marched on MP Chuck Strahl’s Chilliwack office to deliver a petition in protest of cuts to veterans services, “he did not attend; he was apparently at a fundraiser,” said Naylor. “The NDP candidate marched alongside the vets and now there are those, who are calling on all veterans to vote NDP, added Naylor. “Veterans Affairs is very dysfunctional and is something has to be addressed. What are you going to do for the veterans?”
“If he had it to do all over again, he would have had someone there to accept the petition,” said Mark Strahl, calling his father’s absence from the event an unfortunate “mix-up” and “oversight”.
“I have great respect for the veterans, and they need to be given the tools they need to do a difficult job, and the support they need when they come home.”
If elected, “I certainly commit in front of all these people” to voicing the concerns of veterans in Ottawa, added Strahl.
Asked about his lack of public political experience, Strahl recounted his early political history in joining the Reform party at the age of 14, serving as an intern in Preston Manning’s office, working for Dewdney-Alouette MP Grant McNalley and most recently as officer manager for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Randy Kamp.
“My work has given me the experience to see how government can affect people both good and bad,” said Strahl. “I have helped single mom’s get the emergency help they need, and small business owners cut through red tape… I have the experience needed to hit the ground running.”
Strahl continued his week of campaigning throughout the Fraser Canyon on a riding tour and announced today that he will not be attending tomorrow’s all-candidates meeting in Hope. He is expected to be campaigning in the Pemberton region, Tuesday, April 12.
NDP candidate Gwen O’Mahoney was also out on the road this week, knocking on voters’ doors from Hope to Spuzzum. She is expected to be in attendance at the Tuesday meeting, 7 p.m. at C.E. Barry school. Other candidates in the race for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding are: Green party candidate Jamie Hoskins, Liberal party candidate Diane Janzen, and Marxist Leninist candidate Dorothy Jean O’ Donnell.