Liberal Party of Canada candidate Carrie Powell-Davidson officially opened her campaign office in Parksville on Monday. Above

Ready, set, go — let the race begin

Local candidates in Courtenay-Alberni riding are already in place as the federal election kicks off

The writ has been dropped starting the longest Canadian federal election campaign in 140 years, at 11 weeks.

On Sunday, following the fixed election dates he set in law in 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper called for the 42nd general election on Monday, October 19.

With the election looming for months, the party leaders have been in place a long time, so The Parksville Qualicum Beach NEWS will focus on the local candidates and news you can use throughout the campaign.

Many of the local candidates have also been in place quite a while in the new electoral district of Courtenay-Alberni.

The new borders are very similar to the Nanaimo-Alberni riding it replaces, shifting slightly north on the east coast of Vancouver Island to include Courtenay (not Comox), while losing north Nanaimo and Lantzville.

The local candidates are John Duncan (Conservative), Gord Johns (NDP), Carrie Powell-Davidson (Liberal), Glenn Sollitt (Green) and, according to Wikipedia, Troy Degerness (Libertarian).

None of the local candidates are officially registered yet, according to the Elections Canada website, and the list will not be complete until after the Sept. 28 nomination deadline.

“It feels like preparing for Christmas and the big day has finally arrived only this big day will last for almost three months,” said Powell-Davidson.

She said she is looking forward to continuing talking to voters, “Listening to their stories, what concerns them, what they are frustrated about with the direction Canada is headed — this is the fuel that motivates me.”

“I’m so excited to see the response at the door,” said Johns. “People are looking for change, they want to replace Stephen Harper because the Harper government is not working for them.”

“People (have) been waiting a long time and we’re ready with a plan to be the next government.”

Similarly, Sollitt said he enjoys meeting the public but that he’s “most looking forward to all-candidates debates… I think the debates will be a great opportunity to discover the breadth and depth of the Green platform and to show that there is a choice that so many are looking for.”

The previous election in 2011 also included candidates from the Christian-Heritage, Marxist-Leninist and Pirate parties and The NEWS will keep you informed about all the candidates throughout the election.

Since 2000, local candidates have also come from the Canadian Action, Natural Law, Progressive Conservative, Alliance, Reform and  Marijuana parties. There are currently 23 registered parties across the country.

While Duncan could be considered the incumbent, currently representing Vancouver Island North, which includes Courtenay, James Lunney, the MP for the current riding has sat as an independent for the last four months and will not run again.

After 15 years as the area’s MP, Lunney resigned from the Conservative caucus on March 31.

There will be a number of ways to vote in this election, which can be found at www.elections.ca or 1-800-463-6868.

Before the election, you can go to an Elections Canada office or mail in a special ballot. There are also four advanced polls in the 10 days before the election, on Oct. 9, 10, 11 and 12, with the locations to be confirmed later.

Local all-candidate forums are not scheduled yet. Kim Burden, executive director of the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce said that while they usually host one, he will discuss with the chamber board whether it is worth the considerable expense and extra work.

John Duncan could not be reached for comment for this story by press deadline.

Read The NEWS for all local election-related developments.

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