Local federal Liberals seek candidate

Federal Liberals in the Nanaimo-Alberni riding are looking for a candidate.

Riding association president Bill Stewart said the party is focusing on the youth vote, as well as appealing to the progressive element of the Conservative party in the effort to unseat incumbent James Lunney.

“Our focus has been on relative youth,” he said. “We have been able to form a youth wing of the party at Vancouver Island University. They have 28 members and they’re keen. They care about what happens in the political arena.”

The youth vote probably won’t be enough to put the Liberals over the top, Stewart acknowledged, which is why he is also hoping to appeal to centrist conservatives.

“We are looking for someone that progressive conservatives could move to,” he said. 

“We want somebody who is not radically left — someone dead centre in the middle. The PCs have been holding their nose for an election or two, because this is not a progressive conservative party that is in power and I could see people either staying home or moving to us if we have the right candidate.”

Although he conceded the Liberals have not been a major force in the  riding since they won it in the 1970s, Stewart said he sees the Conservatives as vulnerable, as long as they keep Lunney as the candidate in the next election.

“Lunney got about 50 per cent of the vote last time, which is hard to beat,” he said. 

“I can’t even find Conservatives that have anything good to say about him, so he ought to be beatable.”

Stewart said he got involved with the federal Liberals a year ago after becoming increasingly frustrated at the way the Harper government has been changing the nature of the country.

“I think in a lot of ways the Conservatives have been making decisions based on opinions, rather than facts,” he said. 

“The whole thing with the Census says a lot in that area. It absolutely pains me to see Canada being gradually changed from the caring society I knew to a more kind of society where you have to make it on your own.”


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