Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called for a federal election on Oct. 21, and it will be a six-way race in the riding of Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge.
Incumbent Liberal MP Dan Ruimy will be challenged by Conservative candidate Marc Dalton, the NDP’s John Mogk, Green candidate Ariane Jaschke, People’s Party of Canada candidate Bryton Cherrier and independent Steve Ranta.
Ruimy took the riding in the 2015 election, after a close three-way race. He won with 17,673 votes, compared to Conservative candidate Mike Murray’s 16,373 and the NDP’s Bob D’Eith with 15,450. D’Eith has since been elected a provincial MLA.
Each of the candidates offered their early impression about what the 2019 election is all about.
Dalton, a high school teacher who has also served two terms and eight years as MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission, lost the 2017 B.C. election to D’Eith in the tightest of races. The two were separated by 120 votes.
Dalton has already been on the campaign trail and said people care about the economy, ethics and crime.
“The number one issue I’m hearing on the doorstep is affordability – families are feeling strapped even when they make a good income.”
He said voters need to elect a government that will leave tax dollars in their pockets.
Dalton said the Liberal government’s blocking the RCMP from investigating the SNC-Lavalin controversy is a serious breach of ethics.
“This is absolutely unheard of. It’s very serious. It’s the rule of law,” he said.
And he said the public is concerned about public safety, crime and illegal drugs.
“Crime is impacting businesses in Maple Ridge, and families are concerned,” he said. “Conservatives are just stronger in the area of criminal justice.”
Ruimy, a businessman who owned a local coffee shop and book store, plans to stand on his record and that of the Liberal government over the past four years.
“I’m going to focus on my accomplishments and the accomplishments of our government and they are many.”
He points to the National Housing Strategy, the Canada Child Benefit and numerous programs to protect the environment.
“Those are all things that need to move forward,” he said. “I don’t want to lose that progress.”
Ruimy said he has worked with local government and the province, and brought funding for numerous projects including an overpass and underpass in Pitt Meadows, four laning the Lougheed Highway between Maple Ridge and Mission, and $1 million to ensure the new Albion Community Centre is wheelchair accessible.
That’s in addition to child care funding and other announcements over the past four years, he said.
“All three levels of government need to work well together to get things done and I can honestly say I work well with all of them,” said Ruimy.
NDP candidate John Mogk said his party wants to help Canadians who are living paycheque to paycheque.
“To me, it’s clear this election is about working for Canadians – having a government that works for the average person, who is struggling to get by.”
Mogk is a mental health and addictions professional, and one of the reasons he is running is to better support these people.
“We seem to be asked to do more with less,” he said.
“For us in Maple Ridge, we need to take better care of our homeless and the homeless problem,” he said, noting it was not long ago that this population could be housed in a facility such as Riverview.
“We’re not taking care of our mental health patients in a way that they can reach their potential,” he said.
Green Party candidate Ariane Jaschke is a Pitt Meadows entrepreneur, who owns a photography business in Osprey Village.
She said there is an environmental crisis that the government is not reacting to in global warming.
“This election for me is about planning for the future. The time is now – We can’t wait any longer,” she said.
Jaschke said her party has been held back in the past by people voting for whichever party is ahead in the polls, but she believes that is changing.
“People are fed up with how things are going. They used to vote strategically, but find that isn’t working,” she said. “People don’t like to be ignored, and find the Green party is not ignoring them.”
Ranta has waded into election campaigns as a voice for change, running as an independent in the 2017 provincial election and the 2015 federal campaign. He has been active with a local chapter of the Extinction Rebellion, which advocates for action on climate change.
“For me this election is about our political system – it has shown it’s not able to deal with issues in a timely way.”
He said climate change is a “life or death issue,” but no serious action is happening.
And, he said the economy stimulates a growing inequality, where the bank accounts of the wealthy grow at a faster rate than the middle class.
He said the party system has shown no ability to deal with these serious problems that demand change.
Cherrier ran for the B.C. Libertarian Party in the 2017 provincial election.
Now joining the federal scene, he said there needs to be a fundamental shift in the dialogue in Canadian politics.
“I’m running to become an MP to force the tough conversation about the costs of cronyism, wasteful spending, aggressive foreign policy, poor healthcare, and hurting the Canadian worker,” he said.
Cherrier does not live in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge currently, but said he has a history with the area with family who lived there.
Though Bryton has never held public office before, he feels the best politicians in history were civilians who were dedicated to do what’s right.
He said he is “throwing his hat into the ring with the most pro-Canadian platform out of any major candidate for this upcoming election.”