New contenders begin campaigns

Greens, Grits and Tories enter candidates

The race is on.

Since the call for a federal election, candidates from the Liberal, Conservative and Green Party have stepped up to challenge NDP MP Jean Crowder for the Nanaimo Cowichan riding.

John Koury wants this to be a Conservative riding.

“It’s time this riding has a voice in government, we’re losing out,” the Conservative candidate for Nanaimo-Cowichan said.

“We need a voice to advocate more effectively for this community.”

The North Cowichan councillor, who’s taking a leave of absence, said he’s looking at the three big issues for the upcoming election — the economy, jobs and taxes.

“We feel we have the upper hand in those issues,” he said.

“The track record we have of success is how we’ve handled the economy during the downturn and kept Canada in good shape.”

Koury cites keeping taxes low and injecting the economy with tangible investments as ways the Conservatives succeeded.

“Much of that took place in this riding,” he said, listing off the multi-sport field, marine visitors’ centre in Ladysmith and the Nanaimo airport expansion.

“These are all job-creating projects,” he said. “The NDP voted against those measures.”

As the candidate and not the incumbent, he said he has a lot of work to do.

“It’s certainly more challenging.”

But he said his work in the community will speak for itself.

“Since I became the candidate I’ve been meeting with local government and community leaders to talk about their priorities and how to advocate for those priorities.”

Koury said it’s going to be close in this riding.

“The polling we’ve done shows a horse race between the NDP and the Conservatives,” he said. “There’s no question about that.”

He said people are not happy with the election.

“They think it’s a waste of time and money. The opposition parties will have to answer to why they forced this election.”

On Friday, April 1, the Liberal party named a candidate for the riding after Al O’Halloran dropped out of the race.

Brian Fillmore, Nanaimo-Cowichan’s Liberal party candidate wants everyone to work together.

“I don’t believe philosophies between Liberals and the NDP are that far apart,” he said.

“Liberals and NDP could work together toward a fantastic future in this country.”

Fillmore came in second in Nanaimo council’s by-election.

He supports Liberal ideas of spending taxpayer money on green technology, families and schools.

“At election time, people bang the green drum then it gets forgotten.”

Along with affordable day care, he wants to see reducing or forgiving student loan debt and making university and college tuition free.

“Imagine if Canada decided to provide free post-secondary education, and focus research on green technology for tomorrow.”

Green Party candidate, Anne Marie Benoit was not available for an interview by the Chronicle’s press time.

— with files from Peter Rusland/Cowichan News Leader Pictorial