Most Fridays when Parliament is in session, Langley Conservative MP Mark Warawa gets on a flight in Ottawa to come home for the weekend.
This Friday (today) Warawa was sure he’d be coming home, but not so sure he’d be making his usual return flight.
“If the opposition brings us down, I won’t be flying back Sunday,” he told The Times on Wednesday.
Most politicians and pundits expected the minority Conservative government would be defeated Friday (today) by the opposition Liberal, NDP and Bloc Quebecois parties on a non-confidence vote, forcing a federal election.
The high probability of an imminent election follows rejection by all three opposition parties of the latest federal budget, which was brought down on Tuesday by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
Warawa said he would prefer not to inflict yet another vote on the electorate, but if it is called, he will be ready.
He has a campaign office picked out, signs have been printed and an experienced Conservative constituency association of roughly 1,000 potential volunteers is ready to go, if required.
“I would start [campaigning] first thing Monday morning” Warawa said.
Even before the fate of the government was clear, Warawa was firing shots at the opposition parties over the potential cancellation of the just-introduced federal budget.
“We need to stay focused on the economy,” Warawa stated on his website.
“This isn’t the time for an unnecessary election, we need to stay the course to help create jobs and economic growth.”
It is the same message Prime Minster Stephen Harper and other Tories have been delivering during the lead-up to Friday’s vote, with Harper calling a forced election “useless.”
Warawa and the battle-tested local Tories have won every election since the new electoral district of Langley was created in 2004, always by comfortable margins.
Warawa has seen his margin of victory increase every time, from a 48 per cent share of the vote in 2004, to 52 per cent in 2006 and 62 per cent in 2008.
But three wins in a row do not guarantee a fourth, and his rivals are hoping to end Warawa’s streak.
Liberal candidate Rebecca Darnell has had plenty of time to prepare.
The local lawyer was nominated in August, 2009, and already has a website, Facebook page and a Twitter feed up and running.
Her signs have been run off and she has a campaign office picked out, too.
“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” she told The Times.
She’s been taking shots at the incumbent, observing tongue-in-cheek that Warawa has “missed his Mark” on some local issues.
“I will represent Langley in Ottawa regardless of which party forms government,” she said on her website, an apparent reference to polls that predict another minority government likely should an election call come.
Darnell has made arrangements to have her workload looked after by other lawyers at her firm, but notes that some cases could still require her personal attention during a campaign.
The New Democrats improved their position from third place to second in the last Langley election, but that was more because of a drop in the Liberal numbers than an increase in NDP votes.
NDP hopeful Piotr Majkowski, who bills himself as Langley’s first openly gay candidate, has used his Facebook page to take swipes at the incumbent’s position on gay rights.
“I think it’s amazing that there are still politicians out there that oppose same-sex marriage” said Majkowski.
He has also blasted Warawa over the deal with the provincial government that produced the much-hated HST in B.C. calling it an “unfair tax shift”
Majkowski plans to take a leave of absence from his job as a nurse in the pediatric department at Langley Memorial Hospital.
Green candidate Carey Poitras is a political novice who is making her first run for office and hasn’t had as much time to prepare.
“I’ve just started pricing out signs,” Poitras told The Times.
She described her planned campaign as “not gigantic,” involving around half a dozen volunteers.
She will continue to operate her home-based business during a campaign, relying on her ability to set her own schedule to juggle work and election demands.
A fourth challenger, Craig Nobbs, is running for the Pirate Party of Canada, which is modeled on the identically named Swedish party that concentrates on issues of copyright reform, privacy, net neutrality and open government.