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Election 2013: The race to represent

Five candidates, four weeks. The provincial election is coming to an end and on May 14 voters will choose the new MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky.



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Jordan Sturdy

New BC Liberal defends the seat


The Sturdymobile is parked in front of the Squamish Sikh Temple. The man whose image is "car wrapped" on its side, BC Liberal candidate Jordan Sturdy, is inside meeting voters on Vaisakhi, a day of thanksgiving and great significance to Sikhs, who make up about 17 per cent of Squamish's 17,000 residents.

I immediately name the candidate's car the "Sturdymobile" in my head, and when I mention it, campaign co-chair Lisa Ames confesses that they, too, call it that. When I say being called Sturdy is rather handy for a politician, she laughs and recounts how the printers of his election signs said the same thing: "'Wow! Good name!' They said."

As three-term mayor of Pemberton, Sturdy is probably the best known of the candidates and has several other advantages, one being the traditional success of the BC Liberals in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky. They've won the last five provincial elections; Sturdy gained the candidacy last October and has been campaigning ever since.

There is a pause after I ask him where they've been campaigning — it has been a busy weekend of moving around the riding. "Definitely West Vancouver. We were in a house talking to what I'd call elders. They have a lot to offer, talking about how in life you should play the cards you're dealt with."

The campaign hasn't been a cakewalk for Sturdy. He had hecklers regarding the Liberal position on the environmetn at the all-candidates debate in West Vancouver on April 28. Some have tried to corner him on issues such as independent power projects, a hot-button issue in Pemberton with the recent passage of the Upper Lillooet IPP and the Village of Pemberton's investigation into a community power project of its own.

But after prayers in the temple, Sturdy is given a warm introduction to worshippers with the words "he is our best friend..." Sturdy appreciates the recommendation and tells them about his work, family, his building North Arm Farm in the Pemberton Valley and his work on council.

At the ceremonial replacement of the temple's flag for Vaisakhi, he has the chance to mix and talk with worshippers. This isn't his first visit and he is well known.

Afterwards, Sturdy and Ames move on to the SORCA bike swap to mix with Squamish residents looking for a mountain bike bargain. There are questions about trails, and local issues. There, they are joined by Sturdy's campaign manager Gord Addison.

"We've been trying to optimize time in the corridor," Addison says. The team has received memos from Dave Davenport, who had been on retiring MLA Joan McIntyre's team for previous campaigns, and it has helped. "Things like what did we learn? What did we do right? What went wrong? Squamish, West Vancouver and Pemberton are all so different. Jordan has to get the right message to the right community."

10 Questions with Jordan Sturdy:

  1. Name one thing we don't know about you:
    I was a Seaforth Highlander
  2. Describe yourself in three words:
    Pragmatic, considered and optimistic.
  3. Describe this riding in three words:
    The whole enchilada.
  4. Apart from politicking, what do you most like to do?
  5. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Good germination in a warm spring with just the right amount of rain.
  6. What books do you have on your bedside table?
    The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets that Change the World, by John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan — as yet unread.
  7. What is your greatest achievement to date?
    Splitting a tractor in half to replace the pistons and main bearings. More importantly, putting it back together.
  8. Tell us about what you got up to on your last non-work/non-campaigning outing in this riding.
    Happy Trail and Indy then Radio Tower and home.
  9. Which living person do you most admire?
    My mother, who worked hard to build a business from scratch, and succeeded.
  10. What is your motto?
    Nurture Growth, Harvest Prosperity