Conservative Party members in the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding will vote for a candidate to replace retiring MP Chuck Strahl tonight at the Coast Hotel in downtown Chilliwack.
Two men are vying for the job, 42-year-old Ernie Charlton, a pilot and long-time party member; and 32-year-old Mark Strahl, who stepped down as the president of the riding association to run for the nomination.
He is also the son of the retiring MP, which raised some questions about the fairness of the nomination process, given the one-week time frame candidates had to prepare for the vote.
But Charlton was not among the critics, saying the process was a “challenge,” but not unfair.
“I’ve known (the Strahl family) for 15 years, and to my knowledge Mark had the exact same nomination period that I have,” he said in an earlier interview.
The drastically shortened nomination period – from the usual six to eight weeks – was also seen in two other B.C. ridings where Conservative MPs announced they would not seek re-election.
The change comes as an election call could be made this week, if the new federal budget is defeated, and the Conservative Party wants a full slate of candidates ready to go.
The Chilliwack nomination meeting starts at 6 p.m. with the vote scheduled to open at 7 p.m. and close at 9 p.m. The vote results are expected at 9:30 p.m.
Watch this website to see who will lead the Conservatives of this riding in the next federal election.