BC Election 2020. BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC NDP leader John Horgan, and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)

BC VOTES 2020: Roundup of Chilliwack and Chilliwack-Kent provincial election candidates

6 names on the ballot for Chilliwack, with 3 for Chilliwack-Kent, possibly more coming

The official candidate list for all electoral districts in the 2020 provincial election should be finalized at some point on Friday, but by 5 p.m. a couple of local names expected weren’t yet confirmed.

What is certain, is that there are at least six names on the ballot in Chilliwack, three confirmed, according to Elections BC for Chilliwack-Kent, with at least two more to come.

Both local incumbent BC Liberals, John Martin in Chilliwack and Laurie Throness in Chilliwack-Kent, have BC NDP and BC Green challengers.

But there’s more. Diane Janzen running for the BC Conservatives will also challenge Martin, and Friday the BC Green Party confirmed Tim Cooper will run. Also this week, the BC Libertarian Party announced that Chilliwack resident Andrew Coombes will be on the ballot, as will independent Josue Anderson,

As for the governing NDP, Chilliwack School Board chair Dan Coulter is running against Martin in the Chilliwack riding, with relative unknown Kelli Paddon accepting the nomination to run against Throness in Chilliwack-Kent. Jeff Hammersmark is confirmed for the Greens for Chilliwack-Kent, while sitting city councillor Jason Lum had his nomination papers in and is expected to be confirmed soon as an independent. A Libertarian is also coming for Chilliwack-Kent.

• Chilliwack

Two-term BC Liberal incumbent John Martin has an interesting race on his hands in 2020, with two well-known opponents in the riding that covers most of the population of Chilliwack.

Former Chilliwack city councillor, school board trustee, and federal Liberal candidate, Diane Janzen was signing up BC Liberal members for nearly a year in a bid to challenge Martin for the BC Liberal nomination. But the party decided – due to the pandemic, according to a spokesperson – to deny Janzen that chance handing the place on the ballot to Martin. Days later, Janzen announced she would run under the Conservative banner.

The Conservatives have been a relative non-entity since the 2013 general election, where Chad Eros finished with 12 per cent of the vote in Martin’s first victory. Martin himself ran under the BC Conservative banner in the 2012 byelection in Chilliwack-Hope finishing with 25 per cent of the vote, behind Liberal Throness with 32 per cent, the two splitting the right wing vote allowing the NDP’s O’Mahony to win the byelection with 42 per cent.

As for the NDP, long-time school trustee Dan Coulter is well-known in the community, currently serving as the school board chair, a position he said he will continue in until the election is over.

And University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) physics professor Tim Cooper has been confirmed for the Green Party for Chilliwack.

Josue Anderson is a relative unknown running as an independent, but according to his Facebook page he had been working inside the BC Ecosocialists before some internal controversy forced him to leave the small party that describes itself as “further left than the NDP, greener than the Greens.”

Former UFV criminology professor John Martin has won two elections in the Chilliwack electoral district, first defeating the NDP’s Patti MacAhonic with 47.6 per cent of the votes in the 2013 general election. Martin was re-elected with a slightly larger margin of votes defeating the NDP’s Tracey O’Hara in the 2017 general election.

Martin has served most recently as Advanced Education, Skills and Training critic for the Official Opposition.

• Chilliwack-Kent

As of Friday at 5 p.m., there were just three confirmed candidates for the riding that includes Vedder Crossing the east side of Sardis, east Chilliwack out to Rosedale and across the river to the District of Kent.

The Greens chose Jeff Hammersmark, with the NDP’s Paddon to run against incumbent BC Liberal candidate Laurie Throness, who has served in the riding for the past seven years.

Hammersmark sent his biography directly to The Progress on Sept. 27.

“Born to deaf parents, Jeff grew up in an environment that taught him the importance of inclusion and the strength of diversity,” it reads. “The importance of these things became more deeply ingrained after the diagnosis of his oldest son with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

He has work history in the “logistics and supply chain management field,” but has stepped back from corporate work to care for his son. He lives in Chilliwack with his family.

Hammersmark says he has been “a passionate environmentalist since realizing the urgency of the climate crisis almost 15 years, and cares deeply about preserving not only the environmental health of B.C. for generations to come, but also the economic and social health which are inevitably tied to our ecosystem.”

NDP candidate Paddon is also running at least partly on her experience as an advocate.

The former UFV instructor is focusing on “fighting for improved healthcare and an economic recovery that includes everyday people,” her statement reads.

“This election is about who you trust to look out for you and your family as our economy recovers from COVID-19,” Paddon says. “For years, the BC Liberals gave tax breaks to the wealthy while cutting the vital services that British Columbians rely on. As someone who works with vulnerable populations, I have seen how that hurts our community. That’s why we need to continue to move forward with John Horgan and I’m proud to be part of the team.”

Paddon lives in Lindell Beach with her partner Drew and kids, Nic and Rory.

Throness has served most recently as Official Opposition co-critic for Transportation and Infrastructure. He first ran in 2012 in what was then Chilliwack-Hope, losing in the byelection to the NDP’s O’Mahony. A year later he won over O’Mahony securing his place in the Legislature in the 2013 general election. Throness was re-elected in the reconfigured Chilliwack-Kent riding with 52.75 per cent of the votes against the NDP’s Patti MacAhonic.

The official list of candidates should be posted at some time by Elections BC on Oct. 2, but by 5:15 p.m., Lum’s name was still not on the candidate list, nor was the Libertarian for Chilliwack-Kent.

See www.theprogress.com for full election coverage from now until Oct. 24, and for more details on all the local candidates.

• READ MORE: Keep track of all your local, regional and provincial 2020 B.C. Election coverage in one place

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