This riding has gone too long without proper representation, NDP leader Adrian Dix said last Friday.
“The premier should have called a by-election already,” he told The Observer, after meeting with the public for an informal coffee chat session at Oasis Coffee and Bistro in Agassiz.
Despite the lack of a by-election being called, electioneering has been strong in the Chilliwack-Hope riding for weeks. Even Premier Christy Clark has been in Agassiz recently, walking door to door downtown and meeting large manufacturing companies to talk about job creation and the plan for a liquefied natural gas plant. She brought along her Liberal candidate, Laurie Throness, for the campaigning stop. And Dix had NDP candidate Gwen O’Mahoney by his side during his visit.
Dix said the stronghold that Conservatives and Liberals have in this riding can become detrimental to democracy.
“We haven’t had a competitive election here for a long time,” he said. And that can lead to “less turnout and less interest” in the voting process.
“We’re running to win,” he said.
But the public that came out to meet with Dix and O’Mahoney were more interested in what the NDP could offer, from special needs assistance for children to proper access to health care.
O’Mahoney jumped at the chance to talk about special needs care. As a single parent to her niece, the now-seasoned NDP candidate said it was her experiences trying to navigate the system that led her into politics.
“Thankfully I found a nice home within the NDP,” she said.
Dix echoed fears that the premier will be “imposing new rules on reporters,” after she hired Sara McIntyre as her new director of communications. McIntyre was Stephen Harper’s press secretary until last month. Harper has been criticized by national media for not being as open and transparent as previous prime ministers.
“The premier is allowed to hire people to support her,” Dix said. But he added that she’s hiring “a lot more senior people” and conservatives.
“And people need to judge whether that’s authentic or not,” he said.
Dix and O’Mahoney met with people in Hope on Sunday evening, at Papandreas Greek Taverna.