Vets’ issue, Tory nomination opens election campaign here

New Democratic candidate Gwen O'Mahony scored TV airtime last week talking about her Conservative rival's "tainted" nomination, and followed it up with a show of support from military veterans in Chillwack "ignored" by retiring Tory MP Chuck Strahl.

New Democratic candidate Gwen O’Mahony scored TV airtime last week talking about her Conservative rival’s “tainted” nomination, and followed it up with a show of support from military veterans in Chillwack “ignored” by retiring Tory MP Chuck Strahl.

But Mark Strahl, the Conservative candidate, who was unavailable to the TV reporters last week, countered by saying that O’Mahony was “acclaimed” rather than nominated as the NDP candidate, and “has a lot to say about what is really an internal Conservative matter.”

He agreed there are party members unhappy with the nomination process, but he said most understand once the reasons for the short nomination period are explained, and the party is “not going to be distracted” in the campaign to return a Conservative MP in the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding.

His said his opponents’ “soft-on-crime” stand and “high taxes” would be the real issues.

Strahl also said his father had “pre-existing commitments” last November when the military veterans rallied outside his Chilliwack office, but added he was sure that if his father “had it to do over again,” he would make sure a representative was on hand to receive the vets’ petition.

“There are some people who have taken a very personal approach to this issue,” Strahl said. “But I’ve said it before, I’m likely to inherit half (his father’s) friends and all his enemies.”

O’Mahony said TV reporters called her for comment on the Tory nomination when they couldn’t get in touch with Strahl.

But O’Mahony said she only reported the mood of voters during her own door-knocking campaign.

“I already know I have a few Conservatives who want NDP lawn signs,” she said, because of anger over the nomination, but she also found party “die-hards” who will “hold their nose and vote Conservative.”

“Then there are others who are so disgusted, they’re not even going to vote,” she said.

O’Mahony said she marched with veterans to Strahl’s office last November as a “quiet supporter” only because “I believed in the cause, I didn’t do it for votes.”

“I didn’t want to make it a political issue,” she said.

But retired Master Warrant Officer Joe Beauchesne, an organizer of the vets’ rally, said he was so angry at Strahl for “choosing to sing in a choir for a Conservative fundraiser in Langley” instead of meeting with vets, that he would change his vote from Conservative to NDP this election, and urge others to do the same.

“Not one politician except for Gwen O’Mahony stood shoulder to shoulder with the veterans at the protest rally,” he said.

Veteran Claude Latulippe, said he would also change his vote to support the NDP for the first time, although he expected there was “slim” chance O’Mahony could win the strongly conservative riding.

“However, the vets community is a large one, and if we all voted NDP, we could make a difference,” he said.

Strahl said he would argue the Conservative government is “very supportive” of the military, and has made “positive changes” to the new Veterans’ Charter.

But Latulippe called those changes “band-aid fixes” that fall short of vets’ expectations.

 

“The Conservatives are the issue,” he insisted. “They have been ignoring the plight of the vets.”

 

 

Just Posted

Young Hope man with autism wants understanding, end to taunts

Brayden Duplessis, Grace 10 student at Hope Secondary, shares his story

New welding equipment for Hope Secondary

More time on welders for Hope high school students, thanks to new gear

Hope teens headed to BC Winter Games

Julius Brysch, 14, and Danielle Bacon, 13, are in Kamloops this weekend

UPDATE: 10-20 cm of snow expected Friday in Lower Mainland

Snowfall warning in effect from North Shore mountains out to Hope

Parents cross over painting job on 6 Ave. crosswalks

Crosswalks, not painted since September, are a safety concern for two parents

VIDEO: Mixed bonspiel weekend at Hope Curling Club

The all-weekend tournament is the group’s final event of the season

The way government learn someone has died is getting a digital overhaul

Governments in Canada turned to private consultants 2 years ago to offer blueprint

Bobsleigh team misses Olympic medal finish

Canadian team finishes four-man event 0.84 seconds behind first place, 0.31 seconds from podium

B.C. Games: Athletes talk Team Canada at PyeongChang 2018

From Andi Naudie to Evan McEachran there’s an Olympian for every athlete to look up to

Snowboarders sliding into fresh territory at B.C. Games

Athletes hit the slopes for first appearance as an event at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops

Cariboo woman raises funds for Seizure Investigation Unit beds at VGH

VGH Foundation gets VCH approval to begin fundraising for SIU beds; local efforts are paying off

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

BCHL Today: Cowichan Caps play spoiler and Nanaimo wins 10th straight game

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Most Read