Liberal candidate Gordie Hogg speaks to supporters and volunteers at his election-night event Monday. Hogg lost his seat to Conservative Kerry-Lynne Findlay. (Aaron Hinks photo)

‘I’ve been so blessed,’ Hogg says, thanking South Surrey-White Rock community

Defeated Liberal candidate reflects on career, plan for future

Two years ago, Gordie Hogg broke a 70-year political trend on the Semiahmoo Peninsula by being elected to Parliament as a member of the federal Liberal party, but on Monday night, residents reverted back to historical norms as votes were counted in the South Surrey-White Rock riding.

Approximately 24,000 of 57,000 voters returned the seat to the Conservatives in the federal election, naming Kerry-Lynne Findlay as the member of Parliament. Of the 84,138 registered electors, the riding had a 67 per cent voter turnout.

RELATED: Peninsula voters send Conservative Kerry-Lynne Findlay to Ottawa

“I’m very appreciative that we were able to have a Liberal win in this (riding) for the first time in, well, ever,” Hogg told Peace Arch News only minutes after his defeat was declared Monday evening.

Early in the conversation with PAN, Hogg congratulated Findlay, the Conservatives and “the work that they have done and will do.”

“We’re expecting them to be very supportive of a number of initiatives that we’ve been working on,” Hogg said.

At the bar in Boston Pizza, where Hogg held his election event, he told PAN there are a number of issues that he would like to see pursued, including funding for autistic children, building inclusive and affordable housing in the Peninsula and a national pharmacare plan.

“There are about three million seniors who are not filling out their prescription because they cannot afford it,” Hogg said.

RELATED: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Hogg won the riding for the Liberals after a 2017 byelection was called following the resignation of Conservative MP Dianne Watts. Watts abandoned the South Surrey-White Rock seat for an unsuccessful bid for leadership of the BC Liberal Party.

With the help of two very well-attended riding visits from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leading up to the December vote, Hogg defeated Findlay in 2017.

The snap byelection was called at the tail end of Trudeau’s extended honeymoon phase, which faded in part due to the prime minister’s much-criticized trip to India two months later.

Asked if becoming a member of Parliament was a lifelong goal of his, Hogg described his political career as “serendipitous.”

When Hogg was in his late 20s – in 1974 – he was first elected to White Rock council. Ten years later, he was elected as mayor.

After hanging up his civic hat, Hogg was approached by then-BC Liberal Party leader and eventual premier Gordon Campbell, and asked to consider running provincially.

Hogg was elected as MLA in 1997 and spent the next 20 years in the B.C. legislature before announcing he would not seek re-election in 2017.

RELATED: MLA Hogg rejects sixth term to focus on community

Following Watts’ resignation that year, Hogg was approached by Trudeau and asked to consider running for the federal Liberals in the South Surrey-White Rock riding.

“No, this is not a plan or a plot I had.

“It’s almost been providence or something far, far beyond me that has brought that along and I feel very fortunate and blessed to have the support of this community throughout all of this,” Hogg said.

Monday’s election marked the second time Hogg lost federally.

He made an unsuccessful bid, prior to running provincially, for the Surrey-White Rock-South Langley riding in 1993, losing to the now defunct Reform Party of Canada’s Val Meredith.

Now transitioning out of the public service, Hogg assured PAN that he’s “not going anywhere.”

“I live here and I’m going to make any contributions that I can for this community,” he said.

Asked what’s next for the lifelong politician, Hogg said that prior to the byelection, he was offered teaching positions at three different universities. He said he’s an adjunct professor appointed in criminology.

“So, I may go back and consider that but, I may need a bit of time. It’s been a busy, busy 18 months.”

Hogg expressed gratitude to the community for the opportunity to work in the House of Commons.

“It’s been an honour to walk into that building every day and know that I was representing a community that I’ve lived in my whole life,” Hogg said. “I’ve been so blessed.”



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

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