While the federal election hasn’t officially kicked off yet, Kootenay-Columbia Conservatives are getting things underway, officially opening their campaign office in Cranbrook on Tuesday.
Rob Morrison, who is running under the Tory banner in the riding, was joined by fellow Conservatives and sitting MPs in Bob Zimmer (Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies), John Barlow (Foothills) and Blake Richards (Banff-Airdrie) who were on hand for a barbecue with local supporters for the office unveiling in the Save-on-Foods plaza.
The election is set for Oct. 21, however, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has yet to drop the writ, which will signal the official start of the fall campaign.
Morrison and Zimmer were out door-knocking in Cranbrook on Tuesday morning, while also attending town hall meetings with voters and supporters throughout the day.
“Lots of work, lots to be done,” said Morrison. “It’s also really nice to have support from other Members of Parliament who are here helping me today.”
Morrison will be running against incumbent Wayne Stetski (NDP), while also challenging Rick Stewart (People’s Party of Canada), and Abra Brynne (Green Party of Canada). A Liberal Party of Canada candidate has yet to be announced.
“Our campaign is going to focus on what we will do, what we will do for Kootenay-Columbia,” said Morrison. “We’re just focusing on the Conservative [plan], this is what we want to do, this is our plan. We’re going to get out, we’re going to talk to people, we’re going to have a lot more of these town halls. We’re going to be out there door-knocking to talk to people to see what their issues are, getting feedback from them so we take the right message back to Ottawa.”
Over the last year, throughout his travels in the riding as a Conservative nominee to winning the candidacy, Morrison says he’s been hearing concerns about higher taxes, streamlining the temporary foreign workers program and the state of the Alberta oilsands.
Zimmer, who sits as the chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, said he also brought up the SNC Lavalin affair at one of the town halls. The Conservative MP expressed disappointment that Liberal-dominated committee voted down a motion that would have brought Mario Dion, the Ethics Commissioner, to testify in front of the 10-member panel.
“It’s bad enough to cover it up, it’s bad enough do the deeds, first of all, but then to try to cover it up for all Canadians not to see is not something Canadians want,” Zimmer said.
Following an investigation, Dion recently found Trudeau violated Section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act by attempting to influence a prosecutorial decision from the Attorney General’s office in the case of SNC Lavalin, which is facing a corruption charge.
Richards also participated in a town hall focusing on small business as per his role as the shadow critic for small business, export promotion and tourism.
All three Conservative MPs said they valued the opportunity to come to the region to support Morrison.
“I think the reason you’re seeing the three of us come out here, is this is the most important election in Canadian history,” said Barlow. “And I firmly believe that.”