Opinion

Candidates missing in action

Langley is solid Conservative territory whenever a federal election is called, but the apparent lack of meaningful campaigning by other parties thus far is quite a surprise.

Rebecca Darnell of the Liberals has been the nominated candidate for almost two years. She has a website set up, a Facebook page and plenty of election signs.

But her Facebook page isn’t very active, mainly featuring information which comes from the national party. Her website doesn’t give potential voters any way to connect with her, other than through e-mail or Facebook. To the best of my knowledge, there is no campaign office set up.

I had thought she would wage a much more vigorous campaign. Perhaps she is waiting until farther along — but there isn’t that much time. There will be an all-candidates debate on April 20, and candidates will speak to Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce the previous eveing. Thus far, that is all that has been formally arranged.

It is an impossibility for any candidate to physically connect with more than a very few voters, although door knocking does give candidates a good bird’s eye view of issues. To win in a federal or provincial campaign, a great deal of organizational effort is needed.

That is something the Conservatives have in spades. I’ve been told they have so many volunteers, many are being sent to two neighbouring Surrey ridings to help out. At the official opening of Mark Warawa’s campaign office Saturday, a steady stream of people were dropping by to pick up lawn signs and volunteer.

NDP candidate Piotr Majkowski knows what it takes to organize. He was campaign manager for Kathleen Stephany in the last provincial election, and did a credible job. That campaign was quite successful, with Stephany picking up 36 per cent of the vote in running against Mary Polak.

Thus far, the federal NDP have put up signs and have a web presence. The Times has not been informed if the party has a campaign office, and no candidate other than Warawa has sent a press release to The Times since the election was called on March 26.

I am well aware that many Canadians are not enthused about this election. I count myself among them. However, we are in the midst of it now and it is up to aspiring MPs to do their very best to inform voters about themselves and their parties’ platforms.

Even the Pirate Party, which has a Langley candidate in Craig Nobbs, has done nothing to inform Langley residents that it even exists.

Elections are the opportunity for citizens to have their say about which direction the federal government should go. As the one level of government that scoops up more of our money than any other, we should take the time to be informed and to vote.

But candidates who are not making a meaningful effort to engage with the public do us a disservice. They need to reach out to voters of all ages, encourage them to become informed and to vote.

There are many ways to do so, and The Times is one of those ways. Thus far, we’re still waiting.

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