Liberal Gordie Hogg and Conservative Kerry-Lynne Findlay were considered the two South Surrey-White Rock frontrunners out of a field of seven candidates. (Lance Peverley photos)

COLUMN: Miscalculations along the way

South Surrey-White Rock vote was no byelection by the numbers

For politicos, this week’s byelection in South Surrey-White Rock was a numbers game.

A federal Liberal candidate – for the first time since 1949 – won after MP-elect Gordie Hogg received 14,369 votes.

Conservative candidate Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the second in a field of seven, received 12,824.

Combined, the NDP (1,478) and Greens (1,247) had enough to alter the count, had their voters swerved right.

Oh, and 30,383 votes were cast by 79,359 eligible voters – a turnout of 38.2 per cent.

But none of these numbers target what I thought was the most interesting. One that took hold for me in the brief month-long campaign was the number 12.

That was the age that Findlay claimed would be allowed to possess marijuana, under the Liberals’ incoming prohibited-substance laws. Of course, Hogg pooh-poohed it, noting the age will be 19 in B.C., the same as liquor laws. But there, at the debate, the number 12 hung in the air.

And, as we know from U.S. politics, a single politician stating a belief is enough for it to be a ‘fact’.

More numbers came up when Findlay and Tory Leader Andrew Scheer, visited South Surrey for his first “public” event following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau being mobbed by more than 1,000 during his walking tour of Five Corners – though Scheer’s tour was in east Surrey at a private potato-chip plant, where one might think the public is less likely to hang.

Still, it could have made a good photo-op, had Conservative handlers not forbid tour photos. Instead, Scheer held a scrum, in which said handlers limited the number of “byelection” questions and wanted media to focus on his message that Findlay has “deep roots” in this community and that Trudeau is bad – yes, the same ones heard ad nauseam throughout their campaign.

The Liberals’ attempts to control the message, behind the scenes, seemed equally calculated.

Liberal Party of Canada senior director of communications Braeden Caley took issue last week after Peace Arch News reported online a leaked version of White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin’s bizarre, overreaching letter to Trudeau, castigating the PM for visiting his riding without officially notifying city hall.

Why in your personal opinion, a reporter was asked, is this letter the number-one story of the campaign?

Now, we’re not sure why the high-ranking Liberal came to this conclusion. We report news. Whether an online post is “big” news or “little” news is up to readers. If we post a story and nobody clicks, perhaps it should be considered “non” news.

Oddly, two days earlier, PAN had received a message from Caley just before Scheer’s “public” display at the chip factory. Seems the manufacturer was one of 11 businesses that received a portion of a $233,000 federal grant on July 27, and the high-ranking Liberal considered that nugget newsworthy enough to report on, presumably for our readers’ benefit.

Hmmmkay… This was federal money – your and my tax money, not party money – so including this so-called news didn’t seem to add up.

The election may be over, but all these miscalculations by spin doctors certainly leave me dizzy.

Lance Peverley is the editor of Peace Arch News.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

South Surrey banner drop marks Global Day of Action

Fridays for Future effort targeted four city overpasses

Bellingham boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

Surrey shootings ends city’s hiatus from violence since outset of pandemic

So far this year there have been 24 shootings in Surrey. There were 45 in 2019

Surrey’s Johnston Heights reporting COVID-19 exposure

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

UPDATE: NDP asks Elections BC to investigate Liberal voter fraud allegations in Surrey-Fleetwood

Liberal MLA candidate for Surrey-Fleetwood Garry Thind issued a written statement Wednesday afternoon

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Most Read