EDITORIAL: New federal riding will see new faces

Political machines in the new riding of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford have already been cranked up

While Prime Minister Stephen Harper has yet to make the official call setting a federal election date, the political machines in the new riding of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford began getting cranked up some time ago.

Busiest so far have been the New Democratic Party and Conservatives, each of which have seen multiple candidates express interest in winning their party’s nomination for the constituency. Potential NDP candidates for 2015 emerged last year when longtime Nanaimo-Cowichan MP Jean Crowder announced in January she wouldn’t be running again.

While residents from the Malahat and northward make up most of the parties’ lists, at least one hopeful may be familiar to residents in the southernmost section of the new riding.

North Cowichan resident John Koury, former constituency assistant for longstanding MP Keith Martin – he actually ran for the Conservatives against Martin in 2004 after the latter jumped to the Liberals – is seeking the federal Conservative nomination following a near-miss in the North Cowichan mayoral race.

In a conversation with the Gazette this week, Koury noted that the various parties enjoy strengths in getting people on board to volunteer for campaigns. The NDP, he said, are great at attracting volunteers at the civic and provincial levels, while the Liberals, Conservatives and Greens tend to do well raising people’s interest at the federal level.

At this stage of the game, only card-carrying members will determine who represents their party in the next election. But with pundits predicting Harper could make the call as soon as spring, parties are doing their best now to sign up new members and have their candidates ready to head into the field, knock on doors and carry the banner.

Langford, while not known for great voter turnout, is ripe for sending a new MP to Ottawa. And as the free-enterprise hub of the West Shore, it wouldn’t surprise us to see a candidate from this area attempt to earn the nomination for the Conservatives or Liberals.

Barring such direct involvement, if residents of Langford want to have a say in the race, they may have to get on board at the grassroots level and sign a party membership card.