Federal campaigns begin at Cowichan Lake

Cowichan Lake was a hotbed for federal politics, Thursday, April 7, with the area's leading politicians – NDP Jean Crowder and Conservative John Koury – making their attempts to push the local undecided voters toward their side.

  • Apr. 11, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Federal Conservative candidate John Koury talks the issues with local radio host Mike Bishop on CICV 98.7-FM

Cowichan Lake was a hotbed for federal politics, Thursday, April 7, with the area’s leading politicians – NDP Jean Crowder and Conservative John Koury – making their attempts to push the local undecided voters toward their side.

For Conservative politician John Koury, the day started with coffee at a local eatery at 8:30 a.m., where he discussed issues with locals, met with supporters, and organized the rest of his day at Cowichan Lake.

His next stop was at local radio station CICV 98.7-FM, where he was interviewed by host Mike Bishop, followed by stops at various businesses downtown, where he passed on party information, which include his hopes for the country’s continued economic recovery.

The visit was the first of about five he hopes to make to the Cowichan Lake area before the Monday, May 2, election date.

The main message he passed on throughout the day, was “Job creation, strength in the economy, where we stand on the long gun registry,” he said, adding that the Conservatives’ intent is to scrap the registry.

As for the economy, he said, “Lake Cowichan is but one community that’s going to transition with growth.”

Koury said that there are no ifs and or buts about it; the election in Cowichan-Nanaimo riding is between the NDP and the Conservatives.

While Koury said that he recognizes why some people would vote NDP provincially, as it is the official opposition, he said that he’s been trying to pass on the message that federally, NDP is the fourth party in the house.

“We now have a chance to have a voice in government,” he said, of the Conservatives.

“We want to show the voting record of the NDP,” he said.

Koury said that his main priorities are threefold: the economy, jobs, and taxes.

“Do they want someone who tells them about it, or someone that does something about it?” Koury said, of responding to these three priority items, adding that Crowder has consistently voted against job creation, economic stimulus, and tax decreases.

The area’s current Member of Parliament Jean Crowder, of the NDP, also spent last Thursday at Cowichan Lake, and was accompanied by Cowichan Valley MLA Bill Routley. Starting the day off at the Evergreen Centre with discussions with local seniors, she went on to canvas at the Lake Cowichan Post Office, and then on to other Cowichan Lake area communities.

“Housing is always a big issue,” she said, when asked which issues she’s fielded the most questions toward.

Raw log exports are another big one, she said.

“They watched the jobs leave the area as log after log leaves the country,” she said. “The ideal solution is to produce close to home.”

As for Koury’s assertion that Crowder voted against job creation and tax cuts, the NDP member said that Koury has taken out isolated items and produced misleading meaning out of them. She said that she voted against tax cuts to big corporations.

“That doesn’t benefit our local economy,” she said, of these tax cuts.

One group of citizens concerned about their future financial stability is local seniors, Crowder said; a concern that led her to start her day at the Evergreen Centre.

“We’re watching seniors falling further and further behind,” she said, adding that there’s a strong need for more doctors and nurses. “You have to make sure that people have access to health care.”

People should also have the ability to age in their community, she said; something that isn’t currently possible at Cowichan Lake.

The long gun registry issue is a divisive one, she said, which is by far not the most-addressed issue she comes across while canvassing.

“I don’t see why we can’t work on this together,” she said. “It’s being used as a political tool to divide Canada.”

If the Conservatives were serious about it, Crowder said that they would have addressed it as a government bill instead of a less influential private members’ bill.

Crowder is planning at least a few more campaign stops at Cowichan Lake. One event she’s looking forward to is the annual Spring Fling, Saturday, April 23.

Green Party candidate Anne Marie Benoit plans on visiting Lake Cowichan, Thursday, April 14. Her first stop will be CICV 98.7-FM for an interview with Mike Bishop at 10:30 a.m., followed by a stop at the Country Grocer at noon.

“I am going to be there because it’s an important part of my riding,” she said, of the Cowichan Lake area.

Liberal candidate Brian Fillmore has tentatively scheduled to be in town Saturday, April 23, including a stop at the Country Grocer at 10:30 a.m.

The Liberal candidate also plans on having his campaign website and a Facebook page up and running in the next few days.

The Gazette will keep up to date with the candidates and their messages as they visit the Cowichan Lake area.

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