Roster set for Chilliwack ridings

It was a last-minute scramble for Chilliwack candidates on Friday as they pushed to submit their registrations before the 1 p.m. deadline

It was a last-minute scramble for candidates on Friday as they pushed to submit their registrations before the 1 p.m. deadline for nominations for this election.

B.C. Excalibur Party leader and Chilliwack candidate Michael Halliday came in just under the wire. He was so busy helping other Excalibur candidates file their papers, he explained, that he didn’t submit his own until Friday. Because of that, the Chilliwack Fraser Rotary Club withdrew Halliday’s invitation to the club’s all-candidates’ debate Thursday morning, after the club discovered that he had not yet registered as a candidate.

Another candidate, Hope resident Ryan McKinnon, submitted his paperwork last week as an independent in Chilliwack-Hope. Embroiled in a custody battle the last few years, the single dad with two kids has become frustrated with the provincial Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD).

“I overcame at lot over the last couple of years to keep my children safe and in my care. Battling this ministry has been a nightmare,” said McKinnon. “My first six months (as MLA), my plan would be to have an overseeing body governing the MCFD… I’d like to see a branch of the ombudsman’s office to have some investigative authority over the MCFD.”

McKinnon wants to see new rules governing the removal of children from their parents, more services for children suffering from sexual abuse, and more services for high-risk mothers that are losing their children.

He has expanded his platform beyond this issue. Having lived in Hope his whole life, McKinnon wants more economic stimulus for his hometown. He also stands against liquified natural gas, because of the environmental hazards of fracking. And McKinnon is concerned about Kinder Morgan’s plans to run another pipeline through Hope.

“What are the safeguards that are going to be in place to ensure that our aquifer, and our waterways, are not affected by this pipeline?” he said.

He’s running as an independent because he believes that party-affiliated MLAs are too constrained by the party line.

“These MLAs, they want to do the right thing, but they can’t because they’re controlled by a party. As an independent, I can represent constituents better, not on a party platform, but as an independent listening to my constituents and voicing their concerns in Victoria,” said McKinnon.

The candidate plans to campaign in both Hope and Chilliwack, and has started quietly fundraising. He will have some election signs, but won’t “go crazy like the rest of these people,” he said.

“I’d just like to see people use their voice, use their vote, because it counts,” said McKinnon.

Residents will be able to learn more of McKinnon’s views at the Hope Chamber of Commerce all-candidates’ meeting on May 6, at 6:30 p.m., in the Hope Recreation Centre.

There are three other all-candidates’s debates this week. Tuesday at 6 p.m., candidates in Chilliwack-Hope and Chilliwack ridings will be at the Sto:lo Resource Centre in Chilliwack for a debate organized by the WaterWealth Project. Wednesday at 7 p.m., Chilliwack riding candidates will be at the Yarrow Community Hall for a debate organized by the Yarrow Community Volunteer Society. And on Thursday at 7 p.m., candidates from both ridings will be at Evergreen Hall for a debate put on by the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association.

Provincially, the final tally consists of 376 candidates running for 19 political parties, and as independents. In the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, the list consists of Ryan McKinnon as an independent, Gwen O’Mahony as NDP, Laurie Throness as a Liberal, and Michael Henshall as a Conservative. In the Chilliwack riding, there is John Martin as a Liberal, Patti MacAhonic as NDP, Chad Eros as Conservative, Kim Reimer as Green, and Michael Halliday as an Excalibur Party member.

Residents can vote in advance next week, May 8–11, at Evergreen Hall (9291 Corbould St.) for the Chilliwack riding, and Tzeachten Community Hall (5855 Promontory Rd.) for the Chilliwack-Hope riding. To find out your electoral district, visit the Elections B.C. website.

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