Parties pursue voters’ support

The Conservatives were barely out of office, and the election rhetoric had already started.

Stephen Harper’s minority government crumbled after the three opposition parties backed a non-confidence motion over contempt of Parliament Friday.

“Canadians don’t want an election,” said Colin Mayes,  who is seeking a third term as Okanagan-Shuswp MP.

“I can’t believe they (opposition) have thrown this in the face of Canadians. This election will cost $300 million which could have gone to other things.”

Harper asked Gov.-Gen. David Johnston Saturday to dissolve Parliament. An election date had not been announced by deadline, but it could be either May 2 or 9.

While some have suggested an election could have been avoided if the Conservatives had compromised with the opposition over the budget, Mayes disagrees.

“There is always the desire for more, but there is finite money for items,” he said.

Mayes doesn’t believe ethics will become an election issue.

“There has not been one red cent mishandled. No one has been given money as a payback for support,” he said.

But Liberal candidate Janna Francis plans to talk about ethics.

“We value our democracy as Canadians and truth and honesty,” she said.

“Our public servants need to  follow a code of conduct.”

Francis denies the opposition parties played political games when they voted against the government Friday.

“The opposition didn’t bring down the government, the government brought down the government. Harper has wanted an election. The ads have been out since January,” she said.

Francis expects to perform better than her fourth place spot locally in 2008.

“People realize that a vote for the NDP or the Greens leads to a Conservative government,” she said.

The NDP generally comes in second in the riding, but candidate Nicki Inouye believes she can beat Mayes.

“I’m hoping enough people have had enough of the Conservatives not being trusted,” she said.

“I need to let people know about what I stand for and my priorities.”

Inouye says leader Jack Layton had no choice but to support the contempt motion and to not endorse the Conservative budget.

“There’s been a lack of honesty,” she said.

“This plays a major role with people’s perception and reality that the Conservative government cannot be trusted.”

Greig Crockett will campaign for the first time as the Green Party candidate.

“If people vote as usual for the traditional parties, they will be ignored,” he said.

“Greens won’t be in power across the country but if one or two win ridings like ours, the party in power will take notice. We need a candidate who will speak up for this riding and tell Mr. Harper what voters want, and not take what Harper wants and tell the voters.”

Crockett says voters are looking for a new vision, especially on the environment and the economy.

“The traditional parties have not grasped that aspect seriously enough,” he said.