Whistler all-candidates meeting planned 

Six candidates in running

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For Pemberton, it will be difficult for any candidate to defeat the Conservative Party’s Chuck Strahl. Strahl was first elected in 1993 and served as the Deputy House Speaker in the last Parliament. In the last election he won 53.7 per cent of the popular vote, or more than double the NDP candidate and triple the Liberal candidate.

Still, the other parties are not letting the riding go without a fight. In the week before Christmas teacher Malcolm James stepped forward on the NDP ticket. Since then the list of candidates has grown to include Myra Sweeney of the Liberal Party, Ed Baye of the Green Party, Ron Gray of the Christian Heritage Party and Dorothy-Jean O’Donnell of the Marxist-Leninist Party. O’Donnell, Gray and Strahl were the only candidates to run in the riding in the 2004 general election.

Sweeney is a young candidate at 31 years old, and is currently a Parole Officer and member of the Fraser Valley Institution for Women’s Emergency Response Team.

Baye is a retired RCMP officer and Green Party supporter who called the party in December to find out if anyone was running on behalf of the party in his riding, and was told that the spot was his if he was interested. In an article in the Chilliwack Times Baye said he is not a radical or against business or development, but felt that long-term planning and the environment were missing from the debate.

"At least some of (the Green Party candidates) are looking a hundred years into the future," he said. "The other parties, they don’t seem to think past four years… Somebody has to start applying some foresight."

Gray is a former journalist, civil servant and founding administrator of the University College of the Fraser Valley and Trinity Western, as well as an evangelical Christian. In the last election he campaigned on a platform that included defending the traditional definition of marriage.

O’Donnell is a lawyer, specializing in family law, and is running to change a federal system of government where she believes too much wealth and power is influencing government, at the expense of average Canadians and the democratic process.

All Canadian citizens aged 18 or older on election day, Jan. 23, can vote.

The Whistler polling station on Jan. 23 is at the Telus Whistler Conference Centre, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Advance polling is also available at the conference centre on Jan. 13, 14 and 16 from noon to 8 p.m.

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