Maple Ridge Coun. Craig Speirs will be trying to go from the local stage to the national one after winning the NDP nomination Sunday.
And his competitor, Elizabeth Rosenau, who he just defeated in a 55-43 vote, wants to help him every step of the way.
“I see the federal venue as a very different thing. He’s going to need some education in that area,” Rosenau said of the municipal councillor.
“When it comes to federal politics, I was just a little more in the loop with that and with what Craig has been doing.
“It’s not that his experience won’t be relevant – but I do think he has a lot of adapting to do.”
Speirs, an outspoken and longstanding NDPer on Maple Ridge council for more than a decade, will now challenge Conservative Randy Kamp in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission in the next federal election.
Rosenau said she has gained experience in federal politics after she spent eight months campaigning and lobbying federal politicians to call a public inquiry into police action at the G-20 protests in Toronto last summer. Her daughter Natalie Gray was shot with rubber bullets, arrested and jailed, with charges later dropped. She is now suing Toronto police.
Rosenau says with Canada now having a minority Conservative government, the opposition Liberals, NDP and Bloc have to learn to work together and federal politicians can’t be “hyper partisan.”
“A more conciliatory approach will take Craig further in the federal arena.”
If a federal election happens this spring and Speirs wins the seat, there could be a vacancy on Maple Ridge council.
That has Rosenau, a Maple Ridge pharmacist, considering either local or B.C. politics. But that will depend on what other people tell her and, for now, she wants to focus on federal politics and help Speirs become the “best possible candidate.”
“We have to take the Conservative numbers way down so the opposition has more power,” she said.
Kamp has defeated the previous NDP candidate, Mike Bocking, in three elections – 2004, 2006 and 2008.
In the 2008 election, Kamp’s margin of victory was substantial – earning 26,512 votes to NDP Mike Bocking’s 16,894.
The party turnout at St. Andrew’s United Church on Sunday was encouraging for Rosenau.
“It was an incredible day because a lot of people who were blasts from the past,” showed up.
Former NDP MLAs Bill Hartley and Dennis Streifel, from Mission, showed up, as well as Mission school trustee Randy Cairns and former Maple Ridge councillor Candace Gordon.
“This was a really positive event from the point of view of the NDP,” and kicking off the campaign, Rosenau said.
Speirs was unavailable for comment.