On the day the government was defeated, Langley Conservative MP Mark Warawa was preparing for a vote that would have seen Canada take action to fight the mutilation and murder of albinos in Africa.
The proposal championed by Warawa would have seen the federal government condemn the trade in albino body parts by witch doctors who believe the heads, arms and legs of people born without skin pigmentation possess magical powers.
Warawa called it a “horrific evil” in a speech to the House of Commons last September.
He says the vote on the issue was just hours away when the minority Conservative government fell.
“I was really saddened to see that,” Warawa says.
Now fighting his fourth campaign in seven years, a frustrated Warawa says the election scuttled many other worthy initiatives.
“There’s so many important things that need to be done,” he says.
“We need to get back to work.”
At the time the government fell, Warawa was also pressing for changes to ensure convicted pedophiles serve their time in jail, not in the neighbourhood where they lived and preyed upon children.
Warawa, a former Abbotsford city councillor, has won every election since the new electoral district of Langley was created in 2004, getting more votes every time he ran. His margin of victory has gone from a 48 per cent share of the vote in 2004, to 52 per cent in 2006 and 62 per cent in 2008.
He has also outspent his rivals by more than a two-to-one margin every time.
While he has been a relaxed and confident presence at the candidates’ forums in Langley, he is careful to say that he doesn’t believe a win is in the bag.
“You never take it for granted,” he says.
“Anyone who takes it for granted should not represent the people.”
At 60, Warawa, a married father of five, likes to say he is a grandfather of “almost nine” with one on the way.
The athletic MP remains the avid cyclist who once took a week-long police training course in order to go on a ride-along with a local RCMP bicycle patrol.
He was 54 at the time, and says he was able to keep up with the younger officers on level streets.
He still likes to go pedaling through Langley.
“It’s a wonderful way to de-stress.”
Asked to list his top three federal issues, Warawa nominates the economy his number one concern, saying taxes have to come down and so does government spending.
Number two: tighter immigration laws designed to combat human smuggling.
Number three: support for the military with money for modern gear.
Among his top three local issues, in order, are more federal money to improve transit, improvements to the Aldergrove border crossing with a new customs building on the Canadian side that could accommodate 24/7 traffic and heavy trucks in the future.
“It’s the only one [of the local customs crossings] that has no room to grow” Warawa says.
Thirdly, he would like restrictions on medical marijuana growing.
Warawa, alone among the five Langley candidates, does not support reduced penalties for marijuana possession, but he is willing to see it legally used as a medically regulated substance that is only obtained from a pharmacy with a prescription.
Currently, Warawa says 80 per cent of medical marijuana is grown under licence in homes and garages directly by or for the user.