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Reynolds expects election to be called this weekend

Conservative MP John Reynolds opened his federal campaign office last Saturday but he is already confident the people in this riding will elect him for a third consecutive term in Ottawa.



"I believe people are happy with the job that I’ve done," Reynolds said.

Prime Minister Paul Martin is yet to call an election but Reynolds said he expected the writ to be filed before this Sunday (May 23) and the election date to be June 28.

Reynolds, 62, has been in and out of politics since 1972 and has been elected to positions in provincial and federal governments.

Reynolds is now the Opposition House Leader but most recently he was the co-chair of Stephen Harper’s campaign to become the leader of a united Conservative Party.

Reynolds said it was essential that he use the next federal election to push for more funding for infrastructure prior the Olympics.

He added that health care would also be a major issue.

"Health care is still a mess and we need some changes, but we’ve got a major problem with infrastructure, not just in the cities like Toronto and Vancouver, but it’s in the smaller communities that have the serious problems," Reynolds said.

"We believe the gas tax, or a large proportion of it, should go back to provinces for transportation and infrastructure because in British Columbia’s case it costs us $1 billion a year in gas tax.

"If you took even half that you would have $500 million a year to use in projects all around the province like highways, tunnels, subways, bridges; we could rebuild the transportation infrastructure, which has really taken a beating in the last 15 years.

"With the Olympics coming, infrastructure is a major issue in the Sea-to-Sky corridor."

Reynolds won 25,468 votes in the 2000 election, which was almost 11,000 more votes than his closest opponent, Liberal candidate Ian McKay.

Reynolds ran for the Canadian Alliance in the last two elections but he conceded it was refreshing to be part of a united Conservative Party.

"Right now we are a truly national party again," he said.

"I’m sure there will be lots of chances to form a government, but we have to focus on knocking the Liberals off the six seats they presently hold in B.C."

A federal election is always a torrid affair but several politicians, from various parties, have already indicated that this election is going to be "particularly bloody".

Their reasons for these warnings vary, but the most prominent reason is that in this election every vote will count towards future funding for any party if it can garner more than two per cent of the vote.

In addition, many bureaucrats believe the Liberal Party has made too many mistakes and the time is right for a change of government.

Reynolds, predictably, said he expected the Liberals to run a negative campaign.

"I hear the Liberals are going to run some very negative campaigns and I find that to be sad that they can’t talk about what they’ve done, they have to attack the one person (Harper) who can beat them.

"They can say what they want but Canadians will judge them on how they ran their government and don’t forget that Martin was finance minister for 10 years.

"The difference is that the Liberals have a leader who’s going to be collecting the old age pension soon and is looking forward to retirement where Mr Harper is young, very intelligent and he’s got a couple of young children.

"There’s certainly a real generation gap but I’m looking forward to Harper going up against Paul Martin in the debates."

A big part of those debates will be about how both parties intend to reform the health care system.

"The Prime Minister has said he needs a mandate to speak to the premiers but I think the public might pick Mr Harper to do that," Reynolds said.

"Mr Harper has said he will sit down with the premiers and put the money up where it’s necessary and he will solve the problems and get to work with the processes.

"This federal government’s been trying to tell the provinces how to run health care for a long time with very little success," he said. "We believe it is provincial jurisdiction and money needs to be there because you can’t cut $20b, which is what the Liberals did, from health care and expect it to be running well.

"You’ve got to have a plan that puts that money back in there and Harper is committed to that."

Meantime, the NDP’s West Vancouver Sunshine Coast candidate, Nicholas Simons, has also been attacking Martin and the Liberals for their decision to hand pick a number of candidates in B.C., particularly former NDP leader Ujjal Dosanjh.

"They (the Liberals) are trying every cynical trick in their book hoping to convince people that the upcoming election is a two-party race," Simons said. "This pathological fear of losing power is forcing Martin to abandon his already feeble attempts to address the Liberals’ democratic deficit.

"He’s appointing people he thinks have a good reputation here in B.C., but that just shows he’s out of touch."

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