Candidates ready for pre-election ‘marathon’

It’s the longest federal election campaign since 1872 so it’ll be months before the final result is known.

Will Stephen Harper’s Conservatives remain in power? Will Justin Trudeau’s Liberals or Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats usher in change? Has Elizabeth May’s Green Party gained ground since the last election?

It’s the longest federal election campaign since 1872 so it’ll be months before the final result is known.

One thing is certain, however, local candidates are gearing up for the challenge of earning themselves the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford seat at the House of Commons in Ottawa.

“I think that Harper did a very irresponsible and selfish move with dropping the writ at this time,” Liberal Party candidate Maria Manna said. “It means more taxpayers dollars going towards the campaign.”

She believes Harper’s plan is to “physically and financially” exhaust the parties, “but I think we’re a little smarter than that,” she said.

NPD candidate Alistair Macgregor called the campaign length frustrating but said he’s not afraid of putting in the effort.

“We’re just keeping in our minds that it’s a marathon not a sprint and we’re going to pace ourselves,” he said. “Like everything in life, it just requires hard work.”

Green Party of Canada candidate Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi said she is hoping for some campaign decorum.

“I look forward to a spirited and respectful campaign with my fellow candidates, all of whom deserve our appreciation for putting their names forward to run for public office,” she said.

Conservative party nominee John Koury confirmed his party will chose their candidate on Aug. 29.

“With the election on, talks are finished and the wheels are in motion to pick a venue and select a candidate with enough time to win,” he said, adding he hopes it’s him and his party on top at the end of the day.

“Cowichan Malahat Langford is the most exciting new riding in Canada. Conservatives have been working hard to win,” Koury said. Also running for the nomination are Martin Barker, Melissa Hailey, and Jeremy Smyth.

Macgregor said he’s also been working hard, knocking on doors on both ends of the riding since early April.

“I know that Langford traditionally orients itself to the CRD (Capital Regional District), but I have been down there quite a bit and I know that for the young families that live there, affordability issues are really top of mind,” he said. “And I have been a resident of the Cowichan Valley for 26 years. This is certainly my home and I think I will be giving equal and fair attention to both parts of the riding.”

Manna said an election campaign this long gives her the opportunity to speak with more constituents.

“It means introducing myself but more importantly listening to as many people’s needs as possible,” she said. “That’s the position of a candidate is to find out what everybody needs and let them know that you will try to do as much as you can to bring their voice to Ottawa.”

Manna added though, that the new Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding could be tricky.

“It’s so vast but hopefully with door knocking, volunteers, getting the word out in the newspaper and trying to be as vocal as possible, and out there, you will garner the attention of the majority of people and let them know who you are and what you’re about,” she said.

Hunt-Jinnouchi said she’s proud to be the only candidate opposing increased tanker traffic on the Salish Sea, standing up for the region and defending its coasts.

“In this election, the people of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford have the choice to vote for a candidate who will best represent their interests in Ottawa. We have a real opportunity to vote for hope, not fear, on Oct.19,” Hunt-Jinnouchi said. “People are looking for a renewal of our democracy, and my commitment to the voters of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford is to represent the interests of this riding ahead of party or special interests.”

Hunt-Jinnouchi said she’s got the experience needed to be the riding’s MP.

“I intend to join Elizabeth May and other Green MPs in bringing a spirit of respect, democracy, and cooperation to the House of Commons,” she said.