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For now - fewer candidates in the race, easier to choose

Only five on the election list for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge-Mission
So far only the NDP

In the last provincial election in 2009, with nine candidates running, voters could be excused for confusing their candidates, parties and riding boundaries.

This time around, so far at least, only five have their names on the lists for either the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows or the Maple Ridge-Mission riding.

That could change for the B.C. Green Party, which had candidates in both ridings in 2009.

The party is still in the process of confirming candidates and could have contenders named in time for the April 26 nomination deadline, said a Green party spokesman.

In Maple Ridge-Mission, the contest so far is only between Liberal Marc Dalton and NDP Mike Bocking, a replay of the 2009 election when Bocking lost by 68 votes.

In Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, voters now have at least three choices, Doug Bing for the Liberals, Elizabeth Rosenau for the NDP and Manuel Pratas for the B.C. Conservatives.

Pratas, a construction manager, said he has a chance in the riding, pointing out that both Bing and Rosenau are newcomers.

He’s lived in Maple Ridge for the last 15 years and his son just graduated from Maple Ridge secondary.

“We’re all three brand new.”

Pratas used to live in Ontario and served on that city’s council for three years. “I speak the language that people want to hear. I’m not one of these suit guys that just stands around. I’m a working guy and I’m going to work for them in Victoria. I’m not going to be a suit man, work 39 days and the rest of the days spend on vacation.”

He points out he knows the work schedule of a politician having served in Hamilton.

His top issues are the environment along with transportation and education.

The B.C. Conservatives are proposing tax credits be issued for people’s bridge toll expenses. The party also wants to ditch the carbon tax.

He also wants to get TransLink to bring bus service into Silver Valley.

Pratas said he’s got about 25 people working on his campaign, which is based out of his Silver Valley home office. Former Liberals and NDPers are helping out.

“Because I think Adrian Dix is not telling the truth about everything.”

He didn’t expect the B.C. Conservatives would have a candidate in Maple Ridge-Mission.