A byelection so close to the general election provides an opportunity to send a message, says Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.
Scheer is in Nanaimo-Ladysmith today, April 14, to campaign with Conservative Party of Canada candidate John Hirst. The two are door-knocking this afternoon in Lantzville, and earlier, there was a rally at the Nanaimo Hornets RFC rugby clubhouse.
“Obviously I want to support every [Conservative] candidate during byelections, and emphasize the opportunity that people in this riding have to send a message,” Scheer said. “Not only against the Trudeau Liberal government and all the scandals and failures that they have been involved in, but also as an endorsement of some of the positive things that the Conservative Party has been talking about.”
Scheer has been critical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair and the Conservative leader said the issue resonates with Canadians coast to coast. He said it’s a “dark road” if the independence of the judicial system and the principle of the rule of law are interfered with by the PM.
“Especially in British Columbia … there is this sense of Liberal governments using positions of power to reward friends. It’s almost like it’s in the Liberal DNA and it really turns people off when they see politics done like that,” he said.
Hirst said people see Scheer’s criticisms of the Liberals, but an event like Sunday’s rally was a chance to talk about local issues in Nanaimo-Ladysmith and was a “jolt of energy” for the campaign. Scheer said Hirst has a “finger on the pulse” of the community and its concerns around crime and affordability.
“So often with the Liberals and the NDP, we see them just selling the party line to the constituents back home in the riding, but our party is a grassroots party and [Hirst] is going to be a strong voice for the area in Parliament,” Scheer said.
The Conservative leader said he hopes voters seize an opportunity to “put the Liberals on notice” that change is coming in the general election.
“We need this seat at the table. We need to get some real results for the community, which means federal funding, federal investment,” Hirst said. “It’s very easy to be forgotten on the West Coast and we have been, by electing MPs who are part of the third-place party. But that’ll change.”
The Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection is May 6. Other candidates include Bob Chamberlin, NDP; Michelle Corfield, Liberal Party of Canada; Paul Manly, Greens; Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada; Brian Marlatt, Progressive Canadian Party; Jakob Letkemann, National Citizens Alliance.