Voters in Cloverdale-Langley City will have a Green Party candidate to consider when Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls the next election.
It’s supposed to be Oct. 19, but speculation is rampant that it could be sooner.
Surrey’s Scott Anderson, the Green Party of Canada’s candidate, says his campaign team will be ready, mid-April.
The party campaign office, located at #2 20461 Douglas Cresc., Langley, is holding a grand opening this Saturday (April 4), from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The newly-created federal riding is considered an important strategic riding for the party in the region.
“Everybody’s going to hear from us,” Anderson, 44, told The Reporter during a wide-ranging telephone interview.
“We’re going to visit every home in Cloverdale and Langley City.”
Anderson has lived in the area his entire life. He now lives in Cloverdale, but is building a new home in Langley City.
He’s been in the construction industry for 17 years, and has run his own small business for the past four.
He says he’s committed to returning democratic rule to Canada, wants to reduce industry’s footprint on the environment, protect small businesses, and fight for long-term federal transit funding.
Locally, Anderson may be best known for his involvement in a neighbourhood dispute with the City of Surrey over proposed widening of 72 Avenue in Clayton from two lanes to four.
“We lobbied to stop the expansion,” he said. The city eventually backed off.
“I felt, wow, we can actually make a difference here. Everybody said it couldn’t be done,” he said. “Everybody said, ‘It’s impossible. You can’t fight it. It’s government.’ It was kind of a watershed moment. You realize: Change is possible.”
A relative newcomer to politics, he is a former Conservative who says the Green Party is really the best option.
“Voters are sick of ossified thinking in parliament,” he said.
“Voters really need a centre line party to choose. The Green Party is the future of Canada.”
He believes the Harper regime is distancing itself from the Conservative Party’s core supporters.
He views the proposed anti-terror Bill C-51, which has drawn wide opposition, as a recent, troubling, example of the party’s inability to accurately gauge public opinion.
“It seems [Harper] is trying to create a police state,” he said. “I don’t believe Canadians should have to live in fear of their government.” He is worried that the bill will mean Canada’s intelligence agency, CSIS, will have broader powers and less oversight, creating a secret service police force.
“It’s absolutely outrageous. This is not going to make Canadians safer.”
Anderson has been a Green Party supporter for several years and decided to get more involved.
He’s drawn to what he sees as the party’s commitment to the grassroots, allowing MPs to vote freely in the House of Commons.
“They don’t whip their votes. As an MP, you can vote for your constituency. You don’t have to vote with the Green Party. To me, that’s huge.”
Transit is the key issue in Cloverdale-Langley City, he says, promising to fight for federal funds for transit infrastructure.
“Cloverdale residents were given a promise in 1986 that the SkyTrain route would be continued down Fraser Highway to Langley. That’s a long promise that’s never come to fruition.”
He sees that most of the new residential growth in the region is occurring south of the Fraser River in places like Cloverdale and the Clayton Heights enclave – one of the fastest-growing neighbourhoods in the region.
“It’s absolutely amazing, the growth there, and it’s missing some major infrastructure, the keys to make it a proper community.”
The new riding of Cloverdale-Langley City has been created out of portions of the South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale, Fleetwood-Port Kells and Langley ridings.
With no incumbent, it’s shaping up to be an historic race.
Anderson is the third federal candidate to come forward – John Aldag is the Liberal Party candidate, and former Langley Township councillor Dean Drysdale is running for the Conservative Party, after after winning the party’s nod last November.
Both are Langley residents.
The New Democratic Party of Canada has not yet announced its candidate for Cloverdale-Langley City, however, party leader Thomas Mulcair was in Surrey a few weeks ago.
Mulcair tweeted a photo March 19 showing him making samosas with the staff at Aggarwal Sweets in Surrey. “Of course we had to taste a few afterward,” he said.