BC Conservatives eager for Chilliwack-Hope by-election

The BC Conservatives are licking their political chops over the idea of a possible by-election victory in the Chilliwack-Hope riding.

The BC Conservatives are licking their political chops over the idea of a possible by-election victory in the Chilliwack-Hope riding.

The riding has been a “small-c conservative” strong-hold for many years, BC Conservative vice-president Ben Besler said Monday.

“I think that puts us in a really good position,” he added, to take the riding in a by-election to fill the seat vacated by BC Liberal MLA Barry Penner.

Besler said a nomination meeting is expected early in the new year, and he suggested that a candidate already considering a bid would be “a happy surprise” to party members.

Local New Democratic Party officials were not available Monday to comment on the possible impact of a split in the conservative vote here.

In 2009, Penner won the riding with more than 53 percent of the vote, followed by NDP candidate Gwen O’Mahony with 33.4 percent. The BC Conservatives did not run a candidate in the riding.

BC Liberal Diane Janzen, who declared her intention to run for the party’s nomination before Penner’s unexpected announcement last week, said Monday that a by-election win in the riding held by the party since 1996 could not be taken for granted.

But she believed the pro-HST vote in Chilliwack-Hope and in the Chilliwack riding, which bucked the province-wide results, is a sign the BC Liberals have a strong base of support here.

“BC Liberal values are what resonates with the public, particularly in these two ridings,” she said.

But Besler pointed out that a narrow one percent of voters in the two ridings supported the BC Liberal government’s position to keep the HST, not exactly a show of overwhelming support.

Besler said winning the Chilliwack-Hope by-election and another in Port Moody-Coquitlam triggered by the resignation of BC Liberal MLA Iain Black are “at the very front and centre of our priorities.”

No date has been set for either by-election.

Penner told The Progress Monday that his decision to resume his career in law, which followed his earlier announcement that he would not be running for re-election, should not have been a surprise to party officials.

“I’ve been pretty upfront that my plans were to start looking to my future,” he said, and party officials were aware he was considering a position as senior counsel at Davis LLP, a Vancouver law firm, starting in January.

No date has been set for the BC Liberal nomination meeting.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

twitter.com/paperboy2

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Hand-made creations galore at Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market

The 45th annual event features 180 vendors and is a fundraiser for the Chilliwack Community Arts Council

Warrant issued for Chilliwack prolific offender

Do not attempt to apprehend David Allen Geoghegan, 29, police caution

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

VIDEO: New supportive housing in Chilliwack almost ready to welcome residents

Grand opening Friday saw dignitaries join with health, policing, and housing reps on Trethewey

Man who once killed a fellow inmate convicted of threatening guard at Kent

No prison time for threat nine years after MMA-style beating death in Maple Ridge

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

Paul Bissonnette joins Vancouver Warriors after tweeting he could walk on to an NLL club

Bissonnette will join the Warriors for their final week of training camp at Rogers Arena

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Body found after SUV found fully engulfed in flames in Abbotsford field

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team have been called in

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Most Read