Strahl: ‘We’re a strong, united, Big Blue team’

Conservative candidate Mark Strahl doesn't believe the internal party strife caused by the drastically reduced nomination period here in the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding will dog him into the election campaign.

Conservative candidate Mark Strahl doesn’t believe the internal party strife caused by the drastically reduced nomination period here in the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding will dog him into the election campaign.

There is no split in the party, he said Tuesday, after his Monday night nomination victory, and any anger in the membership is focused at the national level, which imposed the shortened nomination period here and in two other B.C. ridings where Conservative MPs announced they would not seek re-election.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem for us locally,” Strahl said. “We’re a strong, united, Big Blue team.”

“I know the members in the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon are behind me, and now we have a job to do,” he said.

Strahl won the nomination over rival Ernie Charlton by a vote of 144 to 77.

In his nomination speech before the vote, Strahl said there was some “urgency” to select a candidate who can carry the party’s banner in an election campaign that could start “in a matter of days.”

“I believe I am that candidate, and I hope to earn your trust here tonight,” he said.

In contrast, Charlton highlighted his “real life experience” in the private sector, which he believed would resonate with voters in the election campaign as the party’s candidate would surely be “grilled on what qualifies him to deserve their vote.”

“Yes, filling Chuck Strahl’s shoes will be difficult, but we can’t forget these were once the cork boots of a logger,” Charlton said. “It’s these experiences that Chuck Strahl brought to the table when first elected.”

Former Dewdney-Alouette MP Grant McNally introduced Strahl to the packed meeting room at the Coast Hotel, saying the 32-year-old son of retiring MP Chuck Strahl had worked for him for six years in his constituency office.

But he said the candidate had “proved to me he was much more” than just Strahl’s son.

“Mark is his own man with strong and deep roots,” he said.

Strahl promised in his speech, if elected, that he would “get tough on crime” and “put victims’ rights first, every time.”

He also promised to work to get rid of the long gun registry, keep taxes low and continue democratic reforms.

“If elected, I will take these ideals to Ottawa,” he said.

But some party members openly questioned the nine-day nomination period, imposed on the riding by national party officials.

The usual nomination period is six to eight weeks.

“It’s a mockery of democracy,” party member Alexander Moens said. “Our democracy is more important that the (PMO’s) agenda.”

He said the nomination period was not long enough for a “democratic process for people who want to represent the riding to come forward. It weakens our democracy.”

He said it also casts a shadow on MP Strahl’s legacy “because Chuck Strahl has been a member of Parliament with no spots … but this looks like an insider job.”

Party member Brian Coulter said “we are the general membership” and could over-rule the decision of the meeting’s moderator not to have a question and answer period for the candidates before the vote.

“We have a right to ask questions,” Coulter said. “We are the members, we are the people.”

After the meeting, he said with only two candidates for members to choose from, the vote was more like “a coronation” than a nomination convention.

“There should have been more opportunity for other (candidates) to come forward,” he said.

Don Stahl, acting president of the Conservative riding association here, said “with a federal election looming” the local party had little choice but go along with the shortened nomination period.

“That’s just the cards we were dealt, and we went with it,” he said.

And with the strong Conservative hold on this riding, Stahl added, most party members realized they were electing not just a candidate, but the next MP.

“Mark will be the next MP,” he predicted.

NDP candidate Gwen O’Mahony and Green Party candidate Jamie Hoskins have announced their election readiness. Only the federal Liberals have not announced a candidate in Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon.

Just Posted

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

(Unsplash.com)
Protecting our elders: It’s up to all of us to look out for them

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is June 15

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)
Shining a light on brain injury in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Most Read