Conservative Mark Strahl speaks during the all-candidates meeting at the Coast Chilliwack Hotel on Thursday.

Letter sparks candidate controversy

Conservative candidate Mark Strahl reacted swiftly to media reports that he had “misconstrued” a letter from the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce as an endorsement of his bid for election.

Conservative candidate Mark Strahl reacted swiftly to media reports that he had “misconstrued” a letter from the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce as an endorsement of his bid for election.

“I did nothing of the sort,” Strahl said in a Thursday news release.

“I simply read from a letter that they wrote, which is posted on the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce’s own website,” he said. “The letter speaks for itself and could not be more clear in its support of a low tax policy for Canadian businesses.”

In an earlier news release, issued after Strahl read the letter at an all-candidates meeting hosted by the chamber, executive director Lisa Caruth said the chamber’s position on federal corporate income tax rates “should not be misread” as an endorsement for any particular candidate or political party.

“No information was made available to any candidate prior to the event, with the exception of information the public can find at,” she said.

However, she goes on to say that the specific passage read by Strahl was from a letter sent to his father, former MP Chuck Strahl, on March 2, before the election was called.

“Taxation is one of the policy priority areas identified by our membership, therefore a letter to our local MP at the time was relevant and an appropriate action to take,” she said.

Dogged from the start of the election campaign by allegations that his nomination was “tainted” by his relationship to the former MP, and by its short duration, Strahl has also been fending off criticism for missing all-candidates meetings in Hope and Chilliwack.

The candidate said he missed both meetings because of “prior campaign commitments.”

Last week, Strahl announced he would do a “telephone townhall” meeting Wednesday night, and Liberal candidate Diane Janzen reported she held a similar meeting the same night.

Yesterday (Monday), New Democratic candidate Gwen O’Mahony said her party decided not to hold a “telephone townhall” in which calls are made to voters across the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding.

“I don’t think they’re all that effective,” she said. “People are sick to death of telemarketing schemes.”

About the chamber letter, O’Mahony said she was “caught off guard” by the question put to Strahl at the end of the meeting.

“I would have loved a re-direct on that letter,” she said, but it wasn’t possible under the question-and-answer format of the meeting.

She said it’s her understanding that many chamber members would prefer more tax breaks for small businesses rather than large corporations and multinationals.

“I fail to see the trickle-down effects of the (Conservative) corporate tax breaks for local businesses here,” she said.

Liberal candidate Diane Janzen said she didn’t consider the letter an endorsement of Strahl, but she questioned his reading it at the all-candidates meeting.

If Strahl was trying to get the chamber’s endorsement, she said, “it’s certainly not the way I would have done things.”

In response to pre-submitted questions, Green Party candidate Jamie Hoskins said smart investors are putting their money into “green” alternatives that will create jobs and protect the environment.

O’Mahony said with “smart management” by an NDP government the federal deficit can be reduced without cutting social services.

Marxist-Leninist candidate Dorothy-Jean O’Donnell said the immigration and refugee process in Canada needs to be over-hauled to end the abuse of temporary workers brought to Canada “with no prospect of being able to make a life here.”

She said the government’s current focus on temporary workers has “serious similarities to slavery.”

Clive Edwards, Western Block Party candidate, said Canada should not be sending troops to Afghanistan in support of the U.S. war effort.

“I don’t believe we should be supporting the Americans in their wars of conquest,” he said.

Strahl said the Conservative party, the longest-serving minority government in Canadian history, has worked “cooperatively” with every party, but would not consider a coalition that includes the Bloc Quebecois.

“Where we will not go … is allowing a party dedicated to the breakup of Canada by giving them a hand on the levers of power,” he said.

Janzen said if elected, she would sit down with the provincial and municipal governments to work on a “cooperative vision” for transportation based on a regional transit study.

“Our local transit is inadequate,” she said.

Just Posted

Unique treasures to be found at Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market

The 44th annual event is the Chilliwack Community Arts Council’s largest fundraiser

Chilliwack toy drive brings in gifts, money to Ann Davis Transition Society

People dropped by Superstore to donate toys and more for those in need this holiday season

Chilliwack RCMP find chemicals and cannabis extract in illicit lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Chilliwack RCMP seek suspects in rash of poppy donation box thefts

Incidents at four different locations in Sardis in the days leading up to Remembrance Day

German-born British Columbian warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

1 woman dead, man in hospital after ‘suspicious’ crash: police

Homicide investigators and Burnaby RCMP are investigating the fatal collision

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read