The confirmation for the Liberal candidate in the Nanaimo-Alberni riding was delayed briefly in Parksville Thursday, as organizers scrambled to find extra chairs to seat the crowd that showed up.
It’s not a problem federal Liberals have had in the riding for quite some time.
The crowd turned out to see Renee Miller, a criminal lawyer who says she wants to inject some youth and energy into the debate.
In her speech to the approximately 120 people who showed up to the meeting, Miller wasted no time, jumping in to attack the Conservative party record.
“I grew up in a country that cherishes its people, geography and democracy. I also grew up in a country that had a very proud reputation internationally,” Miller said. “This government was found in contempt of Parliament and there isn’t a single government in the entire Commonwealth that has ever been found in contempt of Parliament before. We simply cannot stand idly by while Stephen Harper damages our international reputation and damages the democratic processes of this country.”
She said Canada’s loss of a seat on the UN Security Council shows the rest of the world does not support the direction taken by the Conservatives.
“The rest of the world sent a very clear message that the international community does not support Stephen Harper,” she said. “Even Conservatives should be horrified by the steady chipping away of the democratic traditions of this country.”
Miller also took a swing at the Conservative incumbent, James Lunney.
“James Lunney voted in support of unnecessary tanker traffic along our northern coastline,” she said. “A spill in our precious cold, coastal waters would be nothing short of an environmental catastrophe. He’s the fifth most expensive MP and is one of many examples of a Harper government out of control.”
The Liberals haven’t been real contenders in the area since 1974, when Hugh Anderson took the then-Comox-Alberni riding for the Liberals. In the last election, Liberal Richard Pesik garnered only nine per cent of the vote. However, riding association president Bill Stewart thinks his party’s fortunes are about to change.
“I’m delighted to have you turn out in these numbers,” he said. “For me it’s a sign of a general dissatisfaction with the government and a search for an alternative.”