Liberal candidate Blair Herbert was in an interesting position election night.
By 8:30 p.m. he knew he was not going to be elected himself but, with about 20 enthusiastic supporters at his campaign headquarters in Duncan, he was excitedly watching his party get ready to take power again in Ottawa.
“I think I am happy that the Liberal government is going to be coming back, although in a minority situation. I get that. I think we’ve been expecting that for maybe the eight weeks of the campaign,” he said. “I’m disappointed with the local results in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford. I’m not surprised. The NDP are pretty locked in here and have been for a number of years. I’m not surprised at the way it went locally. But, I’m happy with the way it went nationally. So, I guess all around I’m happy.”
Asked about the strong Green vote on Vancouver Island, Herbert said, “When I look at it, I’m not really sure that the Green Party has really changed a lot on Vancouver Island other than that Elizabeth May is going to be in Saanich-Gulf Islands, and Paul Manly is going to win in Nanaimo. Really they haven’t picked up any other seats on Vancouver Island. When we finally look at the numbers, we will see that the NDP are down a little bit but it’s probably the Conservative vote that surprises me as much as it does here in Cowichan.”
Herbert talked a little about the challenges of campaigning and representing a riding like Cowichan-Malahat-Langford. The south end and the north end are separated by more than geography.
“There are totally different issues in each part. North of the Malahat everyone is very interested in the climate file and when you get down into Langford it’s more economic issues, transportation and that sort of thing. The average age down in Langford is 34-38 and up here in Duncan we’re at 55. It makes it really hard to manage a campaign; it’s almost like you’re running two separate campaigns.”
Of course that would extend to constituency work as well.
“In the last four years Alistair has been running an office in Langford as well as in Cowichan, which is what we were looking at doing as well but you are splitting your time between two different communities.”
On his volunteers, he said, “Oh man, I know a lot of people in this riding but a lot of the people volunteering with us were actually new to this riding. They’ve come from all over western Canada and they are now residing in this riding but for the most part easily 60 per cent of the people that are volunteering with us on our campaign are new to me. I didn’t know these people three months ago and now they are wonderful friends.”