Chilliwack-Kent 2020 provincial election candidates, clockwise from bottom left, Kelli Paddon (NDP), Eli Gagne (Libertarian), Jeff Hammersmark (Green), Jason Lum (Independent), and Laurie Throness, who began the campaign as a BC Liberal but left the party on Oct. 15.

Chilliwack-Kent 2020 provincial election candidates, clockwise from bottom left, Kelli Paddon (NDP), Eli Gagne (Libertarian), Jeff Hammersmark (Green), Jason Lum (Independent), and Laurie Throness, who began the campaign as a BC Liberal but left the party on Oct. 15.

Chilliwack-Kent Green candidate resumes campaigning but still endorses independent

Hammersmark says he still supports Green party but adds ‘I encourage you to vote for Jason Lum’

He was in, then said he was out, and now he’s in again.

Jeff Hammersmark says he continues to run for the BC Green Party, despite a statement made earlier on Facebook that he was withdrawing from campaigning to support independent candidate Jason Lum. Hammersmark and Lum are both candidates in the Chilliwack-Kent riding, and Hammersmark says his main reason for running is to remove incumbent candidate Laurie Throness.

Also in the running in that riding are BC NDP candidate Kelli Paddon, and Libertarian candidate Eli Gagné.

Hammersmark declined to participate in the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce’s online All Candidates Meeting held last week, and did not submit answers to The Progress for inclusion in a special election section featuring all the candidates. His name and photograph was also removed from the BC Greens’ website listing all of their candidates, while his name remains on the ballots as a BC Green candidate.

Then, shortly after Throness’ controversial departure from the BC Liberal party late last week, Hammersmark picked up his campaign again.

He sent in the following statement to The Progress over the weekend:

“Laurie Throness’ insistence on continuing his campaign as an independent is proof that he has no remorse for the controversial comments he has made,” he said. “It is also hypocritical, considering his October 14th attack on Jason Lum during an interview saying ‘as an independent it would be very difficult for [him] to go into the Legislature and command that kind of respect in a caucus where he can’t deal with other people, he’s not part of a team.’ That statement was never true, but it does show us who Laurie really is.”

Throness left the BC Liberal party on Oct. 15, the first day of early voting for the Oct. 24 election. His name will still appear on ballots as a BC Liberal candidate, but if he wins the seat, it will be as an independent.

READ MORE: BC Votes 2020: What happens to former BC Liberal Throness’s votes?

“I want to be very clear about my position, since I know I have caused confusion for many people during this election,” Hammersmark continues. “I am still the candidate for the BC Greens, I will be on the ballot, and a vote for me/the Green Party will be valid. I ran for the Greens because I believe in their vision, and that they will bring BC into an equitable, healthy, prosperous future. The initial motivation for me to put my name forward, however, was to ensure my kids didn’t have to grow up with an MLA that might hurt them with his words and actions, like he has so many, unrepentantly.”

But he continues to endorse Lum.

“To that end, I am asking the voters of Chilliwack-Kent who are thinking of voting for Jason Lum or myself to consider this: If you are passionate about voting Green, and supporting Sonia’s vision for B.C. above all else, please vote for me. The Greens are the future of B.C. politics. If, like for me and my family, this election transcends partisan politics and your main motivation is to see Laurie Throness defeated, I encourage you to vote for Jason Lum. He has the experience, support and momentum necessary to win.”

READ MORE: Chilliwack NDP candidates Kelli Paddon and Dan Coulter weigh in on party’s election platform


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

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