Langley
Credit: ARPA Canada/John Aldag

Tamara Jansen and John Aldag are fighting for votes in Cloverdale–Langley City

The Liberal riding might not be as safe as it looks

We’re not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s a federal election in October. In the coming weeks, BCBusiness will profile the ridings in the province that are most vulnerable, according to 338Canada.com. Today’s edition focuses on Cloverdale–Langley City.

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when trying to predict the outcome of a single riding in an election. That goes double when the region has only been up for grabs once previously. Of course, many of Canada’s constituencies are in that boat thanks to the redrawing of boundaries before the 2015 contest. 

So while a 45.5-percent vote-share by Liberal MP John Aldag in the last election certainly looks pretty good on the outset, it comes with a couple of caveats.

Though Cloverdale–Langley City was created recently (by amalgamating three districts), redistributed results from the 2011 election show that the Conservative Party would have won that vote by a landslide. The area was clearly one of the many places across the country where #TrudeauMania took effect.

But with the PM’s charm just about worn off at this point, the suburban region is clearly a place that Andrew Scheer and company are eyeballing.

Let’s see how the battle could shake out.

What happened previously? 

As we mentioned, Aldag, who previously had a 32-year career with Parks Canada and was well known in Fort Langley, especially, rode a red wave in his first foray into federal politics. Conservative candidate Dean Drysdale secured 35 percent of the vote, while Rebecca Smith of the NDP garnered 15 percent.

Who’s running? 

Aldag will be back, while Drysdale (who passed away earlier this year) is replaced by Tamara Jansen. The entrepreneur (she and her husband co-founded Darvonda Nurseries, a large Langley-based producer of flowers and vegetables) has been campaigning since late last year. She’s also been outspoken against hefty taxes against her own business, something you can expect to come up time and again as the campaign progresses. She’s an avowed pro-lifer, too, but whether that issue will come into play in the riding is unknown. 

Former RCMP president Rae Banwarie will be representing the NDP. The long-time Surrey resident was one of the leaders in the police force’s successful fight to unionize. 

Caelum Nutbrown isn’t a shade of paint you can pick up Home Depot; he’s the Green Party candidate in the riding. A mental health professional in the Downtown Eastside, he’ll find it tough to move the needle past the 4 percent the party garnered in 2015.

Gurmantgurmantgrewal.com

And although the People’s Party of Canada will be hard-pressed to gain much traction throughout the country, the party’s candidate, Gurmant Grewal, piques some interest. The former Conservative MP for Surrey Central quit politics before the 2006 election, amid some controversy.

Grewal tried running forhis old party in 2015, gathering a lot of support, but was eventually barred from seeking the nomination. He’s popular in the riding, and his emergence under Maxime Bernier’s banner is clearly meant as a shot across the bow of the Conservatives. It’s possible he hurts their chances of winning this race.  

What are the key issues?

Transportation and affordable housing will be the main sticking points, as will the importance of a strong economy.

Population in Langley is expected to keep increasing, but the city is running out of room. Real estate sales ballooned in July before coming back down to earth, but anyone looking to get elected in the area will have to concentrate on finding homes for residents of the City of Langley. 

Jansen will no doubt turn the heat on the Liberal government and what it’s done to support families and (especially) businesses. Expect her to lay out plans for small businesses that probably include less tax.

Meanwhile, Aldag has, like many other Liberal Party members, been trying to establish some goodwill for the party with funding announcements.

What do the polls say?

The Liberals have a slight edge, according to 338Canada, holding close to 39 percent of support in the riding, compared to the Conservative mark of 36 percent. The Greens and NDP come in around 10 percent, with the People's Party hovering around 3 percent.

Prediction

It’s likely going to be close, and the national race will undoubtedly influence what happens here. For the Conservatives to do any damage nationally, this is one of those traditionally Tory ridings they’ll have to win back.

Expect Jansen to rally hard and press Aldag on issues where Trudeau has been less than perfect. It’s easy to see that message resonating with people in a region that gave 35 percent of the vote to the Conservatives in what was a worst-case scenario for the party.

They’ll be getting a good number of those votes back. Unless Grewal can really steal some momentum away from the Tories (and the polls don’t indicate he’s doing that, at least not yet), we think Cloverdale–Langley City goes blue this time around.