John Martin is the Conservative candidate for the upcoming by-election in the riding of Chilliwack-Hope. Martin

Martin acclaimed, comes out swinging

It didn’t take long for John Martin to be assigned duties in the BC Conservative’s shadow cabinet.

It didn’t take long for John Martin to be assigned duties in the BC Conservative’s shadow cabinet.

Martin, who was acclaimed Tuesday as the party’s candidate in the upcoming Chilliwack-Hope byelection, was named justice critic by party leader John Cummins on Wednesday.

Martin will shadow two ministries: the Solicitor General and Attorney General.

Said Martin, a criminology professor at the University of the Fraser Valley and columnist with the Chilliwack Times newspaper: “This Liberal government has failed British Columbians on the justice file. They have starved the justice system and now thousands of criminal prosecutions could be thrown out.”

Joining Martin in the BC Conservative shadow cabinet will be Christine Clarke, who is hoping to win the byelection in Port Moody-Coquitlam riding.

No date has been set for the Chilliwack-Hope byelection, which was necessitated by the resignation of longtime MLA and former Attorney General Barry Penner. However, it must be held within six months.

Martin is the first candidate to secure a nomination. The NDP will decide on Saturday between three hopefuls: Dennis Adamson, Gwen O’Mahony and Kathleen Stephany.

Adamson is the area director for Yale at the Fraser Valley Regional District, and as an outspoken critic of “conflict” gravel mines has built a reputation as a peoples’ politician.

O’Mahony led the NDP to a second-place finish in the in Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon in last May’s federal election, and to second-place in the 2009 provincial election

Stephany, a nursing ethics professor who ran as the NDP candidate in Langley in the 2009 provincial election, gained a “whistleblower” reputation in 2005 when she was in charge of special investigations at the BC Coroner’s Office.

The BC Liberals, meanwhile, have set Feb. 4 for their nomination meeting. Only one candidate has been declared: Laurie Throness, an assistant to former Chilliwack Fraser Canyon MP Chuck Strahl.

Martin is already taking aim at the BC Liberals. He denounced the government’s recent decision to support efforts by Metro Vancouver to build a new incineration plant to deal with the region’s garbage.

“I assure you,” said Martin, “if the Liberals were to win this byelection it would be a clear signal to this government they can do anything they want and get away with.

“As your MLA I will oppose this incinerator. The quality of air in the Fraser Valley is not important to this Liberal government, but it is vitally important to those of us who live in Chilliwack and Hope.”