As federal party leaders exchange barbs at the national level, the election is gearing up in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.
The Green Party announced its candidate this week – Peter Tam – while the Liberal and Conservative parties are now into the nomination process.
Tam asserts that any Green MPs could have influence on government because, in his opinion, the Oct. 19 election is unlikely to result in a majority government.
“The numbers are so close, right across the country,” said Tam. “A couple of Green MPs could work with any of the parties.”
He said Green Party leader Elizabeth May has said she will not whip Green MPs on votes, and they will be given free reign to work for their constituents, taking an objective view of legislation. They are the people’s representatives to government, as opposed to being the government’s representative to the people, said Tam.
One of the key issues locally is homelessness, and the Green Party’s plan to censure a guaranteed livable income is part of the solution, said Tam.
“Everyone is finger-pointing. We don’t want to finger-point. We want to fix the system.”
Tam and his team are organizing an event to launch his campaign on Aug. 11, from 7-9 p.m. at the Open Door Hall, (11391 Dartford St.) in Maple Ridge. He will be joined by Claire Martin, a former CBC meteorologist and Green Party Candidate for North Vancouver.
An experienced campaigner, Tam ran for the Green party in the last federal election, earning about five per cent of the vote, behind the Liberals, NDP and Conservatives.
Kamp won with 54 per cent of the vote, followed by Craig Speirs of the NDP with 36 per cent.
Tam has volunteered as a Scout area commissioner, and is on the board with the Maple Ridge Art Council and local festivals.
He works as an aviation technical data systems professional with Nav Canada. Tam has been married for 27 years and has three children in high school and post secondary education.
The Green Party’s popular support nationally has ranged from three to 14 per cent, and it has had just two MPs at once.
The local Liberal party is in the final stages of its nomination process, said riding association president Ian Sas.
The party has scheduled the candidate selection meeting for “mid next week,” he said, and will announce a candidate by the end of next week.
“I am very excited about our local Liberal Party of Canada riding association’s progress with volunteers coming forward, new members and solid fund raising,” said Sas.
The riding’s Conservatives are also in the process of nominating a candidate. Mark Bogdanovich, chair of the nominating committee, confirmed that the only nominees to have come forward are MLA Marc Dalton and MP Randy Kamp’s executive assistant, Mike Murray. The nomination period ends this week, then a date will be set for local Conservatives to vote for their candidate.
The NDP nominated Bob D’Eith as its candidate in May.