Laurie Throness was kept very busy throughout the 2012 Chilliwack-Hope byelection.
As the Liberal candidate, he had the full support of Premier Christy Clark. So much so, the duo hit the campaign trail together, meeting and greeting business owners throughout the riding, including Agassiz.
Throness shook hands, posed for photo ops and sat through interview after interview. He even saddled up for one leg of the campaign, going door-to-door via a black Fresian light draft horse. Following that, he took part in the annual Chilliwack Thresherman’s Ploughing Match.
And as election day drew nearer, the whole province was watching this riding to see if the Liberals could hold on to their seat in the legislature. In the end, they didn’t. Gwen O’Mahoney won the by-election, filling the place left by retired Liberal MLA Barry Penner.
“It was a high pressure campaign,” Throness said, looking back to that time during a sit down interview at the Observer. And so he’s feeling “quite relaxed” by comparison about the upcoming election, May 14.
He’ll once again be running for the Chilliwack-Hope seat, alongside fellow Liberal candidate John Martin running for John Les’ Chilliwack riding. Les, also a Liberal, has recently announced that he is not going to run in the next election.
While Throness doesn’t consider himself a “partisan person”, he said it’s an exciting time for the Liberal party.
He has been staying active with the party, attending functions and provincial policy sessions, along with multiple meetings around the riding.
But it was the Liberal convention in October where he sensed a “movement” making the party stronger. He used the example of Martin, who moved to the Liberal party from the Conservatives last year.
“That signals a change,” he said. “A deep political change, and that’s going to continue.”
He said the convention is a “bellwether for the election” and that there was a “very good sense coming out” of it.
While he is more relaxed about this election, he is prepared to fight for the seat.
“I don’t intend to lay low,” he said. “I’m out here (Agassiz) quite regularly, and I’m going to get out and meet the people.”
He and Martin will be working together in the joining ridings to promote the party, and its platform. Besides the obvious similarities, the two candidates have something else in common, as well.
They both are former University of the Fraser Valley criminology professors, working in the same department. Joining them on the campaign trail is UFV crim department’s Darryl Plecas, running as a Liberal candidate in Abbotsford South.
“Three people in that same department are running,” he said.
He said the volunteer bank has grown since last election, too.
“We have a bigger team than we did last time,” he said. But despite all the positive things, he is remaining conservative about his prospects.
“I’m preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best,” he said.
He is also confident in the party leader, premier Christy Clark.
“I found the premier to be extremely personable and insightful, and an intelligent person,” he said. “She is a great campaigner, and she’s good on policy. She has a certain humility about her, and is not condescending in any way.”