Things are getting a little more interesting in local ridings heading into the final stretch of the federal election.
Before Christmas only two candidates, the NDPs Malcolm James and Dorothy-Jean ODonnell of the Marxist-Leninist Party, had stepped up to take on popular Conservative incumbent Chuck Strahl in the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon Riding, which includes Pemberton.
Now the ticket has six candidates, including representatives from the Liberal Party, Green Party and Christian Heritage Party of Canada.
For the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky riding things are mostly the same, with the addition of Anne Jamieson of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada. Jamieson ran in the 2004 general election, earning just 123 votes, and submitted her paperwork to Elections Canada on Dec. 14.
According to Jamieson, shes running for several reasons. One is to get across her party platform, which calls for more funding for social programs, among other things.
She also wants to set an example to other Canadians and to encourage the growth of grass root politicians.
"We want to make it known to people that there is an alternative and to present our platform, and to provide an example to people that ordinary people, worker politicians, people who are students, should step forth and be politicians themselves," said Jamieson. "Ultimately people should be selecting their candidates from their peers, be it their community or place of work.
"It can be summarized as stop paying the rich and increase funding for social programs to humanize the natural and social environment. For example, we would put a moratorium on interest payments on the debt and use that money for social programs, and other goals like diversifying the economy. We should not take part in wars of aggression, we need an independent foreign policy, we need to assert Canadian Sovereignty and should not be taking part in trade blocs like NAFTA."
Unlike other so-called fringe parties, Jamieson says the goal of the Marxist-Leninist Party is not to steer the debate to party issues. "We arent looking to influence the major political parties, we see them as representatives of the financial oligarchy, or sections of it. We think the time should come to an end when people try to get the ear of, or influence, members of government. We need to become decision makers ourselves."
There is already a full slate of all-candidates meetings planned for the riding, including dates in Gibsons, Powell River, Sechelt, Bowen Island, Squamish and Whistler. The Whistler event is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19, four days before the election, and will be hosted by the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, Whistler Forum for Dialogue, Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, and possibly other groups. Time and location are still to be determined.