Curious campaign move

Politicians have the right to run their campaigns as they see fit. The measure of their success (or failure) is usually reflected in the number of votes they draw.

Voting in the riding of Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon was still underway as The Progress went to press Monday. So we’ll have to wait to find out how the decision by Mark Strahl to forgo several all-candidate meetings affected his polling results.

However, it is fair to say his absence became a weapon wielded with increasing effectiveness by his opponents as the campaign dragged on.

Granted, no candidate can be expected to be in all places at all times; schedules do not permit that in a riding as large as Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon.

Nor can a candidate be blamed for avoiding a blatantly partisan crowd with a primary intent of sandbagging their own candidate’s opponent.

That said, Strahl’s decision to attend only a handful of all-candidate meetings is curious.

Particularly mystifying is his decision to avoid debates hosted by the University of the Fraser Valley and Chilliwack Secondary School. The debates came at a time when Elections Canada was trying to encourage young people to vote, arguing their voice did matter in the governing of this country.

An empty chair is hardly an endorsement of that message.

Asked why Strahl had missed those two events, campaign manager Matthew Barker said Strahl had “prior commitments.”

Asked to elaborate, Barker declined.

It’s an interesting strategy. Strahl was already battling suggestions – even from members of his own constituency association – that the snap nomination process was not fair. And, as a candidate hoping to establish his political credentials, his absence from the debates does little to demonstrate commitment and community engagement.

Retiring MP Chuck Strahl helped build a political party by exposing the arrogance and sense of entitlement exhibited by the Progressive Conservatives under Brian Mulroney.

It would be a shame if that lesson were lost on the next generation.

Greg Knill, Chilliwack Progress

Just Posted

Mixed bag of weather ahead for Chilliwack

Week starts off with rain before clearing for sunnier days midweek

Watercolours by late Chilliwack artist to be unveiled at Yarrow Library

The public is invited to a special unveiling of three of Heinz Klassen’s watercolour paintings

Yarrow Library one of the stops on Cubetto’s grand tour

FVRL’s friendly wooden robot, Cubetto, travels throughout Fraser Valley to teach programming basics

No home for Agassiz Community Garden on school district land

The garden is still homeless after SD78 said no to the society using the McCaffrey School property

Chilliwack PEO: ‘We who are sisters’

International oganization celebrating 150 years of service

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

Police say ‘no major incidents’ at 4/20, Vancouver Park Board assessing

The first smoke-out held since legalization saw 60,000 people at Vancouver’s Sunset Beach

VIDEO: Langley firefighters spend hours battling blaze in vacant home

Cause of the late-night fire in Willoughby is still under investigation

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

RCMP looking for witnesses to four-vehicle crash in Burnaby

Police suspect impaired driving was a contributing factor

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Most Read