Local Liberal election team seen as a model for party’s re-building

The Liberal Party of Canada is starting to rebuild after the drubbing it took in the last federal election – and apparently using its Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding association as a model.

The Liberal Party of Canada is starting to rebuild after the drubbing it took in the last federal election – and apparently using its Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding association as a model.

Top party brass will meet with 36 B.C. riding presidents, candidates, campaign managers and official agents during a three-day meeting of the BC Federal Liberal Council at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort starting Friday.

“During a difficult election, the team in Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon put together a cohesive, well-run campaign,” Craig Munroe, president of the party’s B.C. branch, said in a news release announcing the council meeting.

“Their website, fundraising, social media, teleforum, voter ID and advertising performances caught the attention of several in the party at the national and provincial offices,” he said.

Diane Janzen, the Liberal candidate in Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, was one of only 22 across the nation who gained votes over the party’s performance in the 2008 election, he said.

While Liberals lost an average of 7.3 per cent in riding voting results compared to 2008, Munroe said the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon Liberals “bucked the trend by gaining 2.3 per cent.”

“In fact, (Janzen’s) campaign was the ninth most-improved out of 308 ridings,” he said.

Jeremy Sibley, president of the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon association, could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but in the release said that he was “proud of the work” done by Janzen and the local campaign team.

“The riding was successful in swimming upstream,” he said. “While we would have liked to have seen a different outcome, we are happy to have more support today than in the past.”

Janzen said in the release that she believes the council meeting here is “an encouraging sign” the party is recognizing the importance of “rural/suburban ridings like Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon as a vital building-block of its future in Western Canada.”

The president of the federal Liberal Party, Alfred Apps, is scheduled to attend the meeting in Harrison Hot Springs.

rfreeman@theprogress.com