Newly elected MLAs John Martin

Tops Stories of 2013: Local Liberals share provincial win

Chilliwack’s brief flirtation with an NDP representative in the legislature ended in dramatic fashion in May.

Chilliwack’s brief flirtation with an NDP representative in the legislature ended in dramatic fashion in May.

Just a year after Gwen O’Mahony won a byelection in the riding of Chilliwack Hope, she lost the seat in a general election that surprised pollsters and pundits across the province.

Liberal wins, both here and elsewhere in B.C., were part of a stunning turnaround that returned Premier Christy Clark to Victoria with a healthy majority government.

But that wasn’t the only surprise.

The announced retirement of longtime MLA John Les had earlier sparked a search by local Liberals for another candidate to run in the Chilliwack riding. They found John Martin – the BC Conservative and touted star candidate who ran against the Liberals in the Chilliwack Hope riding a year earlier. With widespread disaffection in the BC Conservative camp, Martin announced his decision in September of 2012 to join a party he had bitterly campaigned against. “Simply put, I believe there is more that unites us than divides us,” he said at the time.

His NDP opponent, meanwhile, was also not without controversy. Patti MacAhonic sought a temporary leave from her position as executive director of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce as she attempted to secure the party’s nomination. When that was refused, she was forced to resign in January.

Laurie Throness, the BC Liberal candidate who lost to O’Mahony in 2012, returned to face her again in 2013. But this time, he’d find more success.

Despite a confident NDP campaign, bolstered by pre-election polling numbers that pointed to a crushing Liberal defeat, Clark and her party romped to a 50-seat majority victory.

That success including Chilliwak-Hope, where Throness captured 9,533 votes, compared with O’Mahony’s 6,884. BC Conservative candidate Michael Henshall was a distant third at 2,093.

In the riding of Chilliwack, Martin cruised to an easy win. Martin garnered 48 per cent of the vote, easily outdistancing by 20 per cent Patti MacAhonic of the NDP.

Said Martin, reflecting his elation election night: “Did we kick some left-wing socialist butt tonight or what?”

Just Posted

PHOTO: Add flavour to your weekend with the Chilliwack Garlic Festival

The annual garlicky event runs Saturday and Sunday at Fantasy Farms

Fleeing helicopter that landed in Chilliwack part of major cross-border drug bust: documents

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vedder Rotary trail network in Chilliwack will be closed for five days on the south side

The upgrade will take until Friday so trail users asked to take alternate routes

Chilliwack encouraged to commemorate liberation of Holland

Planning already underway to mark the 75th anniversary of the event

UPDATE: RCMP confirm body of missing Chilliwack senior found

Ethel ‘Grace’ Baranyk had severe dementia

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

Border crossings across Lower Mainland seeing lengthy delays

Sumas, Peace Arch and Surrey-Blaine border crossings seeing long wait times

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Most Read