The local New Democrat Party wants to hit the campaign trail in preparation for the Oct. 19 federal election now that it has a candidate.
Bob D’Eith was named the New Democratic candidate Sunday after winning the contest against retired educator Jack Emberly.
“People are ready for change,” said D’Eith, executive-director of Music B.C.
The Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge riding has always been a see-saw battle between the Conservatives and NDP federally.
“This has always been a swing riding,” D’Eith said.
Now, it’s time to swing back, he added.
The nomination took place at the Hammond Community Centre and drew about 100 people, although the riding association membership totals about 240.
The NDP wouldn’t release the results of the vote, for historical reasons to preserve unity in the campaign.
“It’s about respect for the other guy,” D’Eith said.
Conservative MP Randy Kamp won’t be seeking re-election. Current MLA Marc Dalton and Mike Murray, Kamp’s executive assistant, are seeking the Conservative nomination.
Whoever wins it, D’Eith said, will “represent Ottawa – and [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper’s Ottawa. It’s been Harper’s Ottawa that’s been represented.”
Instead, he said MPs should represent their constituencies.
However, party discipline and the parliamentary system make it difficult for any MP to speak out against policies of their party.
D’Eith said if the NDP wins the federal election, “I can’t see Tom Mulcair being as much of a dictator as Harper, to be honest.”
D’Eith said one of the major issues he’ll raise is the anti-terrorism bill, C-51.
Some of the aims of the bill are to prevent terrorism suspects from traveling and to allow CSIS agents to disrupt an attack instead of just observing one.
But according to an open letter signed by the dozens of law professors, the bill is a “dangerous piece of legislation.”
The bill lists nine “activities that undermine the security of Canada,” while only “lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression” are excluded in the bill.
Both Conservative candidates, Dalton and Murray, have said they support the bill.
The environment is another issue for D’Eith.
The spill this year of bunker oil in Vancouver harbour is a concern. The NDP wants the government to reopen the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base and the marine communications centre in Ucluelet.
“We’re getting in the way of [efforts to reduce] climate change.”
Canada is falling behind in its role as an international peackeeping force, he added.
“There are so many issues, it seems, with Harper.”
Murray said no date has been set for the local Conservative Party nomination. The federal election is in October.
“I can only surmise it’s not going to be a long time,” Murray said. “Certainly, you want to have it completed and have a team.”