Hitting the campaign trail

Prepare to be wooed as would-be federal politicians try to earn your vote in the May 2 election.

  • Mar. 29, 2011 5:00 p.m.
Cariboo-Prince George Conservative candidate Dick Harris

Cariboo-Prince George Conservative candidate Dick Harris

Prepare to be wooed as would-be federal politicians try to earn your vote in the May 2 election.

Dick Harris, the Conservative incumbent for Cariboo-Prince George, said he’ll campaign on his record locally, and his efforts will be “complemented” by broader policy announcements from party leader Stephen Harper.

“It’s sort of like a package deal,” Harris said.

First elected in 1993, Harris said he will still knock on “thousands and thousands” of doors.

“I’ve always, always campaigned since the very first election like I’m one vote behind,” Harris said. “And if you don’t do that, I don’t think you deserve to win.”

Taking on Harris will be the Green Party’s Heidi Redl, and as-yet unnamed challengers for the Liberals and NDP.

Redl’s campaign will be more modest than Harris’.

“They spent (almost) $84,000 last election to this win this riding, and my budget is $40,000,” said Redl, a Williams Lake-area rancher.

“Word of mouth is going to be huge for me,” said Redl. “And being that the advertising budget is so small, I’m hoping that people will come forward to buy a lawn sign.”

In Prince George-Peace River, Conservative Bob Zimmer will try to maintain the grip established in 1993 by the now-retired Jay Hill. Zimmer will go up against the Greens’ Hilary Crowley, the NDP’s Lois Boone and Liberal Ben Levine.

Levine, a Prince George lawyer, won his party’s nomination Sunday and said he will rely mainly on social media and face-to-face meetings in his first run at elected office.

The Liberals placed fourth in the riding in the 2008 election, but Levine said he is responding to people who told him they want an alternative.

“I know that it seems like an uphill battle, but the truth is, our region has not been at all well-served by the Conservative party,” he said in a statement.

Boone, who was twice elected to the provincial legislature as a member of the B.C. NDP, said her federal campaign will be broadly based.

“I intend to be knocking on doors, meeting with individuals, meeting with mayors and councils, attending events, going to a trade show in Chetwynd – we’ll be doing everything that’s around,” she said.

“It will be very much a grassroots campaign though.”

The election was triggered Friday when the Conservatives were toppled by a no-confidence motion. The Liberals put forward the motion after a committee found the Tories in contempt of Parliament for failing to reveal the true cost of planned tough-on-crime legislation and the purchase of new fighter jets. The contempt finding was the first in Canadian history.

The 36-day campaign is the shortest period allowed by law. The deadline for candidates to file nomination papers, backed by at least 100 signatures, is April 11 at 2 p.m.

Elections Canada will be hiring workers to staff the polls, and more information is available at www.elections.ca.

British Columbians will also be voting this year in the June 24 mail-in referendum on the HST and in November municipal elections.

In addition, Premier Christy Clark has also mused publicly about the possibility of a provincial election before the end of 2011.