Clockwise from top left: Larry Colero; Kerry-Lynne Findlay; Gordie Hogg; Michael Huenefeld; Donald Wilson; Rod Taylor; and Jonathan Silveira.

BUCHOLTZ: Leaders’ focus on South Surrey-White Rock riding unprecedented

Never has a sitting prime minister spent this much time and energy campaigning for single candidate

The federal byelection in South Surrey-White Rock takes place next Monday, Dec. 11.

The byelection has captured more interest than usual, largely because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has visited the area twice to campaign with Liberal candidate Gordie Hogg. This is unprecedented here. Never has a sitting prime minister spent that much time and energy campaigning for a single candidate, and no party leader has spent time in South Surrey/White Rock during an election.

When most of Surrey was in one federal riding, from 1968 to 1979, it was rare for a federal party leader to visit. Trudeau’s father, Pierre, did make a famous appearance at Fort Langley in the 1968 “Trudeaumania” campaign. It partially worked – the Liberals won Fraser Valley East, but were shut out in Fraser Valley West and Surrey-White Rock.

As more ridings were added, it became more likely that a federal leader would visit the city during a general election campaign. In 1988, Liberal Leader John Turner came as part of his passionate campaign against the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement, perhaps the last federal election so focused on a single issue.

More recently, Surrey has become a regular stop for leaders because of the ever-increasing number of ridings. In 2015, incumbent prime minister Stephen Harper, Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair all visited.

The visits were most fruitful for Trudeau, as four of five Surrey ridings went to the Liberals – a seismic shift, given that since 1953, the only federal Liberal elected in Surrey was Sukh Dhaliwal, in 2006 and 2008. Dhaliwal’s wins came after he finished second to Conservative Gurmant Grewal in 2004. He won in 2006, but not by much. In 2008, Dhaliwal’s win was more decisive, and in 2011, he lost his seat to New Democrat Jinny Sims.

The Liberals could make Surrey 100 per cent theirs if Hogg wins the byelection. He certainly has a shot – more than 1,400 people registered to hear Trudeau speak at Semiahmoo Secondary on Saturday. Hogg also has the benefit of being well-known as a former White Rock councillor, mayor and BC Liberal MLA.

The Conservatives have fielded former Delta-Richmond East MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay as their candidate. While she was in the Harper cabinet, she is not nearly as well-known here as Hogg is. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has been in the riding twice to campaign on her behalf, but he is an unknown quantity to the public.

South Surrey-White Rock voters have historically voted conservative – electing Progressive Conservative, Reform, Canadian Alliance and Conservative MPs since the riding was formed with somewhat different boundaries in 1988. This byelection could see a shift, but results will likely be close, with the Liberals and Conservatives the only real contenders.

It is important to remember that byelections traditionally have smaller turnouts, and this one is occurring in the busy pre-Christmas season.

Getting the vote out will be crucial. The party that manages to do so most successfully will be the one that wins.

Frank Bucholtz writes Fridays for the Now-Leader.



edit@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

‘No updates’ on five-year anniversary of South Surrey teen’s violent death

15-year-old Dario Bartoli died early Dec. 13, 2014 after being attacked in park

Gift-wrapping tips from a new-to-Surrey pro

Nikki Pursani aims to bring ‘happiness and excitement’ with her Wrapped by Nikki enterprise

VIDEO: Alex Fraser Bridge counterflow expected to be up and running early next week

New movable centre barrier will give northbound drivers four lanes during the morning rush

Delta driver has car impounded for speeding to church

The driver, who said he was late to church, was clocked travelling 150 km/hr in a 100 km/hr zone

Surrey’s new top cop doesn’t believe residents have lost faith in the RCMP

Brian Edwards will take over the reins of Canada’s largest RCMP detachment on Jan. 6

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

1,300-signature petition for free menstrual products turned over to UFV president

‘Go with the flow’ campaign calls for all University of the Fraser Valley bathrooms to be stocked

Wagon wheels can now be any size: B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Sentencing for B.C. father who murdered two young daughters starts Monday

The bodies of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, were found in Oak Bay father’s apartment Dec. 25, 2017

B.C. vet talks tips for winter travel with pets

Going to see the vet the day before a trip is never a good idea

Cranbrook man calls for ban after dog caught in leg hold trap

Black Lab loses teeth after biting at trap in pain and panic

UPDATE: RCMP investigating threats at two Maple Ridge high schools

Written notes found in three bathrooms at one.

B.C. Crown corporation immune from taxation, but may still have to pay GST: court

British Columbia Investment Management Corporation may still be on hook for GPS payments

Most Read