The three candidates vying for NDP nomination in the upcoming byelection stopped in Hope on Friday to garner support from local party members.
Dennis Adamson, Gwen O’Mahony and Kathleen Stephany discussed a range of topics at Crystal River Court, including the rising cost of living, inequality and government corruption.
“I like to be a s**t disturber,” said Stephany, spelling out the letters.
“If we sit back and complain and are apathetic, then we’re going to have the same thing. Bad government has to stop. We need integrity and we need honesty.”
She criticized the Liberals for not following through on recommendations made in government studies, privatization and leading health care towards a two-tier system.
“The biggest thing we have to fight is the P3,” added Adamson. “(Government) is going to sell out this country.”
Chilliwack will likely decide which party takes office in the byelection, as Hope voted primarily for the NDP in 2009. The party won 18 out of 23 polls in the area, and 33 per cent of the overall vote on election night.
The candidates support running a positive campaign this year explaining how the NDP will address issues.
“It’s easy to get caught up in a mudslinging campaign,” said O’Mahony.
“This is an opportunity to ride the higher plane, but we can’t be doormats. This is going to be the battleground that will forecast what’s going to happen in the next provincial election.”
O’Mahony led the NDP to a second-place finish in Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon during last May’s federal election, and to second-place in the 2009 provincial election.
She said she’s knocked on more than 11,000 doors in her election campaigns, and attended all kinds of public meetings even when no election was at hand.
Adamson believes his experience as regional director for Area B will give him an advantage with non-NDP supporters. As an outspoken critic of “conflict” gravel mines, he has built a reputation as a peoples’ politician.
“Non-members are going to look for someone with experience,” he said.
“Experience always beats no experience.”
Stephany, a nursing ethics professor who ran as the NDP candidate in Langley in the 2009 provincial election, gained a “whistleblower” reputation in 2005 when she was in charge of special investigations at the BC Coroner’s Office.
New Democrats in the Chilliwack-Hope riding will vote for a candidate on Jan. 28 at Mt. Cheam Lions Club Hall in Chilliwack. BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix will be a guest speaker at the nomination meeting.
John Martin is currently the only candidate running for the BC Conservatives. The party nomination meeting is on Jan. 17 at the Best Western in Chilliwack. Party leader John Cummins will be in attendance.
Laurie Throness, a legislative assistant to former Conservative MP Chuck Strahl, announced his intention on Tuesday to run for the B.C. Liberal nomination. He lives in Chilliwack and has served the riding for over 10 years in political office.
No date has been set for the byelection.
– with files from Robert Freeman