EDITORIAL: Surrey South byelection demands strong choices from all parties

BC Liberals first out of the gate with nomination of Elenore Sturko

Though a date has yet to be set, the byelection contest for the Surrey South MLA seat vacated by Stephanie Cadieux could be an interesting one.

Cadieux was a worthy representative for local constituents – as well as a passionate voice for those marginalized by our society, including those, like herself, who face ongoing challenges with accessibility.

Her departure to fill a new federal post as Canada’s first Chief Accessibility Officer may well be a loss for local constituents, but it’s a win for Canada as a whole.

The BC Liberals didn’t wait long to announce an equally worthy choice as a candidate for her replacement.

Elenore Sturko, currently on an extended leave from her position as sergeant with Surrey RCMP, has stepped up to run for the party.

A new face to politics – not a recycled or re-invented one – Sturko has carved a solid reputation in the South Surrey community as a voluble media representative for the RCMP, as an officer on the front lines dealing with the current opioid crisis, and as a sensitive champion of human rights, particularly in areas including gender, sexual orientation, harassment, equity and inclusivity.

But while the seat has been traditionally a shoo-in for the BC Liberals, it’s worth remembering that in the last Surrey South race, in 2020, Cadieux was elected by a margin of just over one thousand votes over NDP challenger Pauline Greaves.

There are many South Surrey residents who would have much to offer the community.

And other parties would be remiss if they don’t take this opportunity to put forward some compelling new alternatives from all sides of the political spectrum.

In the world of politics, a byelection can be seen as a lesser race – and less commanding of voters’ attention, and turnout at the polls – than a major provincial or national campaign. But, given the current range of crucial issues facing us, there is every good reason for the Surrey South byelection to be a strong contest of the best the Semiahmoo Peninsula has to offer.

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