Throness, Martin acclaimed

John Martin and Laurie Throness were acclaimed last week as the B.C. Liberal election candidates in Chilliwack and Chilliwack-Hope.

But no one is suggesting the lack of nomination challengers in those two ridings reveals a lack of faith in the party’s ability to hold onto government after next year’s provincial election.

“Others were considering a bid for the nomination,” Martin said Monday, but for their own reasons decided not to run.

Throness could not be reached for comment, but Martin said he had not heard any negative comments about his former rival’s acclamation in the Chilliwack-Hope riding.

Martin said he also hasn’t had many negative comments from his former colleagues in the B.C. Conservative party about his jump to the B.C. Liberals.

“For the most part, they were supportive and understanding ... a few a little less so,” he said.

Martin said the Conservative party’s recent leadership squabble had nothing to do with his decision to join the B.C. Liberals, that he already had concerns about the party’s “prospects” in the next election.

“I stayed out of that (leadership dispute),” he said. “I didn’t take sides with either slate.”

Martin, who teaches criminology at UFV, said he doesn’t see the B.C. Liberal government now moving to the right to counter the “upstart” Conservatives, but rather expanding the range of its coalition.

“At the end of the day, B.C. has always been governed by a coalition,” he said, and his conservative views have found a home within the B.C. Liberal coalition.

“It’s not so much a matter of moving to the left or the right,” he said, but that the party is “structured in such a way to allow a range of (political) perspectives.”

“I’m with a very optimistic party that sees itself coming together and healing some of the factions in the past,” he said.

The party’s convention last week in Whistler was an upbeat affair, Martin said, not the evening of doom and gloom expected by media pundits.

“That wasn’t the case at all,” he said, calling it instead a “highly energetic, highly optimistic” event.

Martin finished third behind B.C. Liberal Throness and NDP Gwen O’Mahony in the byelection to fill Barry Penner’s seat in Chilliwack-Hope

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