Long road to election begins

With election day set for Oct. 19, five candidates throw hat in the ring for Chilliwack-Hope riding

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau

While the signs of an upcoming election have been apparent for weeks, the federal election campaign season officially began on Sunday.

Voters now have until Oct. 19 to decide on a worthy candidate, and in Chilliwack-Hope, that means consideration of at least a few new faces. So far, five parties have announced candidates in this riding, including incumbent Conservative Mark Strahl. Challenging his seat in parliament are Seonaigh MacPherson for the NDP, Louie De Jaeger for the Liberal party, Thomas Cheney for the Green Party, and Alexander Johnson for the Libertarians.

Strahl won over the majority of the voters in 2011, earning 57 per cent of their ballots. His win followed a three-term run by his father, Chuck Strahl, also a Conservative.

Over the past four elections, the NDP have been the biggest threat to the long-standing Conservative seat.

In 2011, the NDP took a quarter of the votes, with then-candidate Gwen O’Mahoney. This time around, MacPherson has been campaigning since December, going door to door in both Chilliwack and Hope.

“I’ve heard the calls for change grow louder,” she said in a press release sent out this week. “Families are working harder than ever, but they can’t get ahead. Many say we’re in another recession. Clearly, Stephen Harper’s plan isn’t working.”

The Liberals also earn a fair share of the votes in this riding, with anywhere from eight to 16 per cent over the past four elections. Liberal candidate De Jaeger had been campaigning aggressively, visiting local events and holding special fundraisers. He spent Sunday celebrating alongside Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau and other candidates, at Vancouver’s Pride Parade.

The Green Party has consistently run a candidate in Chilliwack, as well.

A statement for Cheney, this election’s candidate, reads in part: “The current administration’s unwillingness to act on climate change is the main reason Thomas decided to run for the Greens in 2015. He thinks climate change is the defining issue of our time, and that confronting it will help solve many of the other challenges we face as a country and a global community.”

Register to vote:

You must be registered to vote, and that process can be done online at www.elections.ca or in person on election day, or by mail.

Voters will need one piece of government-issued ID with your photo, name and current addresss, such as a driver’s license or BCID. Alternatively, voters can show a combination of one piece with their name, and one piece with name and current address. Voters can also take an oath. For more information, visit Elections Canada online.