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

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

Just Posted

From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Plecas pitches an idea to fix Canadian prisons

Bringing you highlights from 128 years of Chilliwack Progress news coverage.

MP is urging people to weigh in on MAiD consultation

Online consultation will be taking feedback on assisted dying until Monday, January 27

Court Tuesday for Chilliwack MLA’s former constituency assistant charged with fraud

Fourth court appearance since October for Desmond Devnich who also faces breach of trust charges

Westbound Highway 1 roll-over crash slowing commuters in Abbotsford

Accident occurred just west of Mt. Lehman Road, left lane blocked

Fraser Valley snow storms finally fade

Six snowstorms in seven days pours on more than 40 cm

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Deer carcass strung up at Surrey fire hall prompts investigation

Investigation underway following complaint a Surrey firefighter hung a deer carcass in a fire hall

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Protesters block B.C. government building entrance to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Most Read