Just days after two candidates were told to withdraw from the race, former Langley Township councillor Dean Drysdale has claimed the Conservative party’s nomination in the new federal riding of Cloverdale-Langley City.
Drysdale, who served on the township council from 1996 to 2002, won on the third ballot over Mike Garisto of Cloverdale. Former B.C. Liberal MLA Dave Hayer, also a resident of Cloverdale, was forced off the ballot after the second round of voting.
More than 1,300 members of the Cloverdale-Langley City Conservative Association took part in the vote.
Tako van Popta, former president of the Langley Conservative association, withdrew after the first round.
Last week, the Conservative Party told candidates Gurmant Grewal and Paul Brar that they had to withdraw from the nomination race. The reasons have not been made public.
That changed the dynamics of the nomination voting, Drysdale told Black Press Monday.
“I don’t think anybody (the candidates) knew exactly where anyone was,” he said.
On his website, Drysdale thanked members of the new Conservative Cloverdale-Langley City Electoral District Association, who voted at A.J. McLellan Elementary in Cloverdale on Saturday (Nov. 8).
“I look forward to serving everyone in Cloverdale-Langley City and working with our party under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to win this seat,” said Drysdale, a businessman who owns his own consulting firm and is currently teaching as a professor of business management at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
He also thanked fellow candidates Garisto, Hayer and van Popta for “having the courage to present your names and reputations to our community.”
The new riding takes in communities that have historically belonged to separate electoral districts, but have traditionally sent Conservative MPs to Ottawa, including South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale MP Russ Hiebert, who is not seeking a fifth term in 2015, leaving the new South Surrey and Cloverdale-Langley City electoral districts without incumbent MPs.
Vote ends long Conservative race in new riding
In a race that began more than a year and a half ago, the field of six declared candidates slimmed down unexpectedly last week, when the national Conservative Party told candidates Grewal and Brar they had to withdraw from the nomination race.
Brar is a Surrey banquet hall owner and Grewal is a former Reform and Conservative MP for Surrey. His wife, Nina Grewal, is MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells.
Grewal told the Vancouver Sun last week he’d signed up 1,500 members, raising hopes of a comeback for the former MP.
According to The Sun, Garisto and van Popta had heard rumours about irregularities, but they did not file formal complaints with the party.
Grewal, a three-term Surrey MP under the Reform, Canadian Alliance and Conservative banners, was politically damaged and found by Parliament’s ethics commissioner to have acted improperly in 2005 when he secretly taped top Liberals he claimed were trying to bribe him with offers of a cabinet post to cross the floor and save their minority government. He opted not to run again.
In a press release posted to his website Nov. 6, Grewal said his campaign attracted a significant number of new members for the party.
“I am proud of my record, achievements, and contributions and hoped to bring meaningful solutions to the problems faced by all of us,” Grewal said. “I have dedicated the prime of my life to helping to build the Conservative Party and its legacy parties. Though my silence is not my weakness, I have supported my party and its leaders through thick and thin. I continue to support the Conservative Party of Canada and the leadership of Prime Minister and wish them success in the next election.”
For voters in Cloverdale and area, next year’s federal election race is shaping up to be a contest between two Langley residents.
The successful nominee, Drysdale, is a former executive member of the now-defunct Langley Conservative Electoral District Association. He joined the Progressive Conservatives at 12, in 1976, and later served in the Prime Minister’s Office under Brian Mulroney, before running for the Canadian Alliance in Quebec in 2000.
The Liberals recently endorsed Parks Canada employee John Aldag and the federal NDP have not yet chosen a candidate.