An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE FEDERAL ELECTION is, more or less, underway.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in Kamloops next week for a $300-a-plate fundraiser luncheon and, to read the regular pleas for money sent out to local Liberal members, the party is badly in need of support to match the Conservatives.
Conservative incumbent Cathy McLeod is well underway with her aspirations to deliver the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding to the federal Tories again, and the NDP have elected a riding executive headed up by Bill Sundhu, the party’s candidate in 2015.
Though it’s been a long time since a Liberal was elected in Kamloops, Trudeau obviously thinks the Liberals have a shot at toppling McLeod. Party leaders don’t tend to go places where their chances are slim.
In 2015, Liberal candidate Steve Powrie came within a couple of hundred votes of second-place finisher Sundhu, and was only about 3,000 behind McLeod. And he did it while spending a quarter of what his two main challengers did.
It was the best showing by a Liberal in many years.
So what can Trudeau, who didn’t visit this riding during the 2015 campaign, say now to boost the party’s chances?
Think Trans Mountain pipeline. Here in B.C., a solar system away from Alberta, Trudeau should be in mainly friendly territory on that issue. Sure, expect pipeline opponents to be out in full force with chants and banners, but the quiet majority around here is at best supportive and at worst ambivalent.
If Trudeau can offer reassurances that the pipeline is going to happen without further hiccups, and get at least equal media attention to what the protesters do, he’ll be able to count his visit as a good unofficial start to the campaign.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.