Despite a stampede of Conservative hopefuls chomping at the bit for their party’s nomination, local Liberals insist a Tory lock on the new federal riding of Cloverdale-Langley City isn’t a certainty.
And now that the brand-new Liberal electoral district association is in place and the first executive board has been elected, the party is “hitting the ground running” in Cloverdale-Langley City, president Matthew Boulton told the Reporter.
The next step is to begin the nominee selection process for a candidate who will carry the Liberal banner in the next federal election in 2015.
“We want to get somebody in as quick as we can, so we can start promoting them,” Boulton said. “We don’t want a long, drawn out affair.”
Someone is already interested – Langley resident John Aldag is seeking the nomination. Aldag is organization chair of the new electoral district association board. He worked for Parks Canada for 31 years and is currently on unpaid political activity leave.
The Liberals plan to make their presence known in the new riding this weekend, when they’ll participate in Saturday’s Cloverdale Rodeo Parade.
Boulton conceded the federal Liberal party has “strong uphill battles in pretty much all of our Fraser Valley constituencies.”
He cautioned the association is still in its infancy. “It’s a brand-new riding. It’s going to be an exciting time for all parties.”
Boulton said he believes the Liberal party’s tradition of developing policy from the grassroots – and the message being spread by party leader Justin Trudeau – will appeal to voters in both communities.
“We align what Cloverdale and Langley City is looking for,” he said. “I think our chances are very good. I don’t think any of us would be here if we didn’t believe in change.”
The top three positions on the electoral district association executive are filled by people from Cloverdale, but otherwise the board is split between those who hail from the historic Surrey town centre and Langley residents.
Boulton and vice president John Nuraney, a former MLA for Burnaby-Willingdon (2001-2008), live in Cloverdale, as does treasurer Simon Cumming.
Five declared Conservative candidates are vying for their party’s nomination in the newly-constituted riding of Cloverdale-Langley City: Paul Brar, former Liberal MLA Dave Hayer, former Surrey MP Gurmant Grewal, Mike Garisto and Dean Drysdale, who is the lone Langley resident.
The new riding takes in communities that have historically belonged to separate electoral districts, but have traditionally sent Conservative MPs to Ottawa, including South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale MP Russ Hiebert, who is not seeking a fifth term in 2015, leaving the new South Surrey and Cloverdale-Langley City electoral districts without incumbents.