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

Two week lock down lifted for Kent Institution

A search at the prison found nearly 26 grams of hashish and a cellphone

Chilliwack prolific offender arrested after four months on the lam

B.C.-wide warrant issued for David Allen Geoghegan in January

Harrison Hot Springs to partner with Sts’ailes for reconciliation event

The event will be funded by a grant meant to build dialogue between cities and local First Nations

Chilliwack vintage shop swings open doors at new location

Marion’s Dressing Room the newest place to shop on Mill Street

Agassiz-Harrison Museum showcases refreshed galleries, exhibits

The museum opened for the season on the May long weekend

VIDEO: Quadriplegic man takes flight over Harrison Mills

Jim Ryan hasn’t moved his arms or legs for three years, but that didn’t stop him from paragliding

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Nevada court orders former Vancouver man to pay back $21.7 million to investors

The commission says Michael Lathigee committed fraud over a decade ago

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

UBC prof says report citing $89B home equity loss a ‘grassroots movement of the rich’

Report says longtime homeowners are being taxed out of their homes by the NDP

RCMP target speeders between Abbotsford and Surrey in month-long blitz

Officers throughout the province launch Swoop campaign

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Most Read