BC Liberal members will vote Saturday to determine who will carry the party’s banner in the next election in the Abbotsford South riding.
Although the riding is considered a BC Liberal stronghold, it is currently held by MLA Darryl Plecas, who was booted from the party after accepting a request to become Speaker of the legislature.
On Saturday, BC Liberal Party members will choose one of three candidates to try to take back the seat in the next election. (Plecas has said he doesn’t intend to run again, as long as certain legislature reforms are completed.)
The Abbotsford South riding includes most of central Abbotsford south of South Fraser Way and west of Sumas Way, along with rural areas south of Highway 1. It also includes a chunk of the southeastern portion of the Township of Langley, composed of territory east of 248th Street and south of the highway.
Bruce Banman, Markus Delves and Lakhvinder Jhaj are seeking the nomination. Manjit Sohi withdrew his nomination after erring in a response on an application questionnaire.
Banman, a chiropractor, is a sitting Abbotsford councillor, and was mayor from 2011 to 2014. Delves works as an accountant for a local development company, and is the former president of the AbbotsfordFirst electoral group. Jhaj is a community activist who runs a construction business with her family in the Fraser Valley.
Only Jhaj has previously run provincially – although not as a BC Liberal. She ran for the NDP in Abbotsford South in 2013 and, before that, in the Boundary-Similkameen riding in 2009. She says she campaigned for BC Liberal Michael de Jong in 2017 in the Abbotsford West riding.
If Banman is chosen as the BC Liberal candidate, he has said he would remain on council until an election is called.
Delves resigned his position on AbbotsfordFirst last year when he announced he was seeking the BC Liberal nomination.
The three candidates will give speeches Saturday morning at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, after which party members will vote by ranked ballot.
The BC Liberals will hope the candidate they pick this time won’t follow in the steps of the party’s last two Abbotsford South standard-bearers. Plecas angered many in the party by assuming the Speaker’s chair. And he had originally been elected as a BC Liberal after John van Dongen fled the party for the BC Conservatives.
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