Another day, another swing riding.
This time, a twofer.
John Horgan brought his snap election bus tour to Maple Ridge to promote NDP incumbents Lisa Beare (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows) and Bob D’Eith (Maple Ridge-Mission), who both knocked-off BC Liberal MLAs in 2017.
But it did not go according to plan.
Horgan used the event at the CEED Centre Society to remind of what used to be there. The Anita Place homeless tent city, one of the most-divisive issues in an already polarized district. It was dismantled in September 2019 after a court order.
“It’s great to be in a place that just three-and-a-half years ago, Bob, Lisa and I visited and behind us was a homeless encampment that had been left to us by the former BC Liberal government,” Horgan said.
A man who unsuccessfully sought the BC Liberal nomination last year in Maple Ridge-Mission activated his pickup truck horn alarm for the duration of Horgan’s appearance. Jamie Seip’s vehicle had apparently been boxed-in by the bus.
Seip, one of the so-called “Ridgilantes,” showed up to heckle Horgan. Seip was verbally cautioned by a member of Horgan’s RCMP security detail, according to a video he posted on Facebook.
BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson appeared in windy conditions outside the Pitt Meadows Seniors Centre later in the day, with his two candidates, Cheryl Ashlie (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows) and Chelsa Meadus (Maple Ridge-Mission).
“Your two MLAs are missing in action,” Wilkinson said, referring to Beare and D’EIth.
Wilkinson referred to the nexus of addiction and homelessness in Ridge-Meadows.
“A lot of people want access to a pathway to get off drugs, that’s our goal, to provide that individual treatment plan,” Wilkinson said. He did not offer details.
Wilkinson also referred to the party’s upcoming environmental platform. The former president of the B.C. Mountaineering Club fondly recalled a summer kayaking trip.
“So if you can wait a few days, we’ll be putting together an environmental package that I think will make people smile and make them look at the BC Liberals with a different eye,” Wilkinson said.
Under Gordon Campbell’s leadership, the party gave B.C. the carbon tax. Under Christy Clark, the party grappled with the Mount Polley tailings pond disaster.
Better late than never
After three days on the campaign trail, the NDP began to require reporters register for COVID-19 precautionary reasons.
The advisory came with a Google form link. It is one-part contact tracing, one-part legal document.
It includes a short questionnaire asking whether the reporter had any COVID-19-related symptoms, had been in close contact in the last 14 days with a confirmed or probable carrier of the virus or had returned from travel outside Canada or been in close contact with a returned traveler in the last 14 days.
“Before this form was in place, we were maintaining a tally of all media who were at our events,” said NDP spokesman George Smith. “We simply developed and implemented a more efficient and effective way of asking for and recording that important information.”
Is it lit or woke?
After less than three days, 160,000 mail-in ballots were requested via Elections BC’s website and hotline.
Compare with the 2017 election. Of 1.986 million ballots, only 6,517 were returned by mail. A tiny 0.33%.
Staged double-ender phone call videos with NDP supporters are not going to win Horgan an Oscar.
One posted late Sept. 23 featured Horgan and “Sam,” a first time NDP donor.
“Sam” is Samuel Fung, the residence life coordinator at the University of Northern B.C. in Prince George.
Horgan recalled the first week of university, when he met his wife of 40 years. He also found common ground with Sam: They both play frolf.
“I used to play golf golf and I was not getting any better,” Horgan said.
UNBC spokesman Matt Wood said employees must not engage in political activities during working hours or use university facilities, equipment or resources in support of those activities.
He said employees are being reminded of the code of conduct clause after the video, which was shot on UNBC premises.
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