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October 28, 2017 2:56 am

Liberals come out of the phone booth

Monday, August 17, 2015 @ 3:45 AM
By Bill Phillips
Thursday night’s Liberal nomination meeting was the first time in several years that the party didn’t hold a membership meeting in a phone booth.

That was the quip from Cariboo-Prince George candidate Tracy Calogheros. About 50 party faithful showed up to confirm Calogheros as the candidate for Cariboo-Prince George and Matt Shaw as the candidate for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies.
Considering the Liberals managed only about 1,800 votes in Cariboo-Prince George and 1,600 in Prince George-Peace River the 2011 election, 50 people for a nomination meeting, that was a fait accompli going in, is a marked improvement.
With Calogheros entering the race in Cariboo-Prince George, it, like the rest of the country is a three-way race. Calogheros is definitely ready to go and is in it to win. She didn’t use the phraseology of “if I win,” but rather, “when I’m MP.”
The fear, the concern, or the hope, depending on who you’re pulling for, is whether a good strong Liberal candidate will split the vote allowing Conservative Todd Doherty to eke out an election win. Calogheros said she certainly hopes she doesn’t split the vote, but the memory is fresh of outgoing MP Dick Harris’ first win in the reconfigured riding when the Liberals and the New Democrats each picked up about 10,000 votes and Harris snuck up the middle and won.
Cariboo-Prince George voters who haven’t yet made up their minds, will have a tough choice on their hands, which will be made a little easier once the NDP choose a candidate.
In Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies, it’s a slightly different story. Matt Shaw is a political newcomer, but is a fairly polished speaker.
He’s fighting the other fait accompli … that the riding is a lock for incumbent MP Bob Zimmer. He is trying to figure out why. Granted, Fort St. John and Dawson Creek vote solidly Conservative, but close to half of the riding’s citizens are from Prince George. Shaw opined, and rightly so, that we shouldn’t think that the northern parts of the riding should, or can, rule on election day.
That remains to be seen. Last election the NDP had good strong candidate in Lois Boone and she got trounced, so that riding is a tough nut to crack.
One of the benefits for Shaw, however, is that, so far the Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies looks like it will be a two-candidate race. The NDP have yet to even hint at a candidate in that riding, so that bodes well for Shaw, if he’s going to have any kind of chance.
The key, as in any election, will be to get the vote out.
It’s interesting to note that both Doherty and Zimmer, at their campaign office opening last week, suggested that they are each in a tough fight. That certainly buoyed the spirits of many in the Liberal camp Thursday who wanted to analyze what that meant. Probably nothing, it’s just a call to Conservatives to make sure they get out and vote.
So far the Conservatives and the Liberals have fielded good, credible candidates. In Cariboo-Prince George the NDP will name their candidate next week while we’re still waiting in Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies.
One thing is certain, the races in our two ridings will be worth watching this time around.
Bill Phillips is a freelance columnist living in Prince George. He was the winner of the 2009 Best Editorial award at the British Columbia/Yukon Community Newspaper Association’s Ma Murray awards, in 2007 he won the association’s Best Columnist award. In 2004, he placed third in the Canadian Community Newspaper best columnist category and, in 2003, placed second. He can be reached at billphillips1@mac.com




I don’t think the ndp has strong candidates at all for the PG Cariboo riding. They have a tough task running against a strong credible candidate like Tracy Calogheros. This is unfortunate for the ndp, as this is probably their best chance ever as a party to form government.

If Harper is to be defeated in this riding than the ndp voters will have to think seriously about who they are going to support on election day and maybe vote for the best candidate, rather than simply partisan loyalties. For that matter I think a lot of traditional conservative voters will be doing likewise.

I think this will be a tight race between Tracy, Sheldon, and that guy with all the signs around town.

As an incumbent I think that Zimmer is in big trouble if he faces a candidate that can tie his own shoes.

The big moments for Zimmer in the last parliament were his bomb shelter moment in Israel giving political cover for the war crimes in Gaza; and his anti UN members bill to block country of origin documentation of firearms, so the conservatives can arm the neo-con right wing militias in the Ukraine. I don’t think these are issues the people in this riding voted for.

Zimmer is vulnerable with the farmers for privatizing the Canadian Wheat Board to a Saudi state owned enterprise in keeping with selling off Canadian sovereignty to Harpers oil buddies.

Zimmer is vulnerable for fully supporting Bill C-51 and the police state policies of the Harper regime.

Zimmer is vulnerable for fully supporting the international settlement tribunals, rather than the Canadian constitution, in all our trade agreements like the FIPA deal with China that gives their state owned enterprises a venue to sue and intimidate our democratically elected institutions through private tribunals not open to public scrutiny.

Someone needs to ask Zimmer, and Harper for that matter… who signs free trade agreements with fascist regimes (Ukraine) that are embroiled in a civil war using heavy weapons to pulverize their own cities?

I think Zimmers (Harper regime) seat in PG-Peace River-North Rockies is very vulnerable.

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