Clockwise from top left, the four candidates so far for the Oct. 21, 2019 federal election in Chilliwack-Hope: Mark Strahl (Conservative Party), Kelly Velonis (Liberal Party), Rob Bogunovic (People’s Party), and Art Green (Green Party).

OPINION: A brief look at the present and past of Chilliwack federal elections

For those who are new to town, or just haven’t been paying attention

Canadians watched with bated breath this week as Justin Trudeau visited the governor general to ask that Parliament be dissolved, and that Canada’s 43rd election be called.

Excitement in the air!

Enthusiasm among the electorate!

Let’s talk federal politics!

What’s that? Not paying attention?

OK, as summer winds down, for many people work winds back up, and for most parents of kids between the ages of five and 17, it’s back to school and activities and all the stress and changing schedules.

And when it comes to federal politics, it might garner the most attention in the national media, but most of our day-to-day lives are more directly affected by what goes on in provincial politics in Victoria and municipal politics at Chilliwack city hall.

• RELATED: Spotlight on B.C.: How will the province affect the federal election?

• RELATED: Canadians are politically polarized, but social media likely not culprit: study

Even most people not paying attention know these five names: Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh, Elizabeth May, Maxime Bernier.

But it occurred to me that a lot of ink has been spilled in the last half-decade or so over how much Chilliwack is changing. More and more people are coming to town thanks to provincial in-migration, and inter-provincial, and even international migration to the Eastern Fraser Valley.

Many newcomers may be unfamiliar with federal politics, locally.

So here’s a brief roundup of recent history of federal politics in the electoral district that includes Chilliwack.

For a long time, this has been Conservative/Strahl country. Our incumbent Member of Parliament is Mark Strahl, the 41-year-old who won elections for the Conservatives most recently in 2015 and firstly in 2011. That was the year when he took over the helm of the riding from his father, Chuck Strahl who was an MP from 1993 to 2011.

Up against the younger Strahl in 2019 is, firstly, Liberal candidate Kelly Velonis. Under the last name Janveaux at the time, the youth advocate finished 10th in the race for the seven Chilliwack school board seats in the 2018 municipal election. Velonis replaces Louis De Jaeger as the local Liberal candidate. De Jaeger lost to Strahl in 2015 but received the most votes of a small “c” conservative opponent here in a long time with 34 per cent of the vote to Mark Strahl’s 42 per cent.

As for the NDP, they’ve got no local candidate in 2019, at least yet. In 2015, the NDP received 18 per cent under UFV professor Seonaigh MacPherson, and in 2011, New Democrat Gwen O’Mahony was the second-place finisher garnering 26 per cent of the vote to Mark Strahl’s 57 per cent.

The Green Party, which is snapping at the heels of the NDP in polls across Canada, even stealing candidates in the Maritimes, has chosen the aptly named Arthur Green. Green is previously unelected but also ran provincially for the party in Fraser-Nicola in 2017.

Also running in the riding for Maxime Bernier’s upstart People’s Party of Canada (PPC) is high school teacher Robert Bogunovic.

As for Chilliwack-Hope, the electoral district itself was created just seven years ago when federal electoral boundaries were redistributed. Chilliwack-Hope is geographically much smaller than the previous riding, Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, which Mark Strahl won in 2011.

Before that, Chuck Strahl won as a Conservative in 2008, 2006 and 2004. Strahl was a reluctant Conservative, originally coming to politics as a Reform Party member, which changed to the Alliance, later morphing with other conservatives into today’s Conservative Party.

Strahl first won Chilliwack in the riding of Fraser Valley East for Reform in 1993. Then again for Reform he won Fraser Valley in 1997 and for Alliance in 2000.

(To further confuse matters, for a period in 2001, Strahl was among what was known as the “Democratic Representative Caucus,” a group of Alliance MPs who left that party to protest the leadership of Stockwell Day.)

Before that, the community was won by Progressive Conservatives Ross Belsher and Alex Patterson dating back 47 years to 1972.

In 1968, however, Fraser Valley East was won by a slim majority by Liberal Jerry Pringle over then So-Cred Alex Patterson.

So, at least the Liberals can say they have a more recent victory to remember in Chilliwack than do Toronto Maple Leaf fans in the Stanley Cup (1967).

Voting day in 2019 is Oct. 21.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Teen accused in Abbotsford attack on 85-year-old convicted of firearms offence

Brandon Janveaux found in vehicle in Chilliwack with .22-calibre rifle down his pants

Dad of missing Abbotsford woman charged after allegedly exposing himself in park

Barry Shpeley charged with sexual assault and assault at Hougen Park

Not over yet: Mixture of snow, freezing rain on way as winter storm tapers in Lower Mainland

Environment Canada releases weather alert for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley

VIDEO: Semi-truck driver records 22 crashes in one trip from Chilliwack to Abbotsford

‘Treacherous’ morning had emergency crews struggling to reach stranded drivers

Buses running and schools are open Friday in the Chilliwack school district

All facilities are open Jan. 17 including daycares, preschools and the Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Fashion Fridays: Look your best this year

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Oil and gas industry applauds top court’s dismissal of B.C.’s Trans Mountain case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Sub-zero B.C. weather freezes clothing in just 45 minutes

A local photographer decided to have some fun with the frosty weather before its gone

Most Read