The federal election may have delivered very little change on the national level, but in Cloverdale-Langley City the election was a close-fought battle between an incumbent Conservative and a returning former Liberal MP.
Liberal John Aldag, formerly the manager of the Fort Langley National Historic Site, had held the riding from 2015 to 2019, an upset in a new riding that was composed of pieces of a number of former Conservative ridings in Langley and Surrey.
But the vote had been close, and in 2019, Tamara Jansen, a local businesswoman whose family operates greenhouses and had put on the popular GLOW winter light events, took the seat.
In 2021, the two candidates also faced off against Rajesh Jayaprakash of the NDP.
Jansen had been a prominent advocate for some socially conservative positions during her time in the House of Commons, including backing a bill to allow doctors to refuse to refer patients seeking medical assistance in dying. She also drew some criticism for comments during a debate on a bill to ban so-called “conversion therapy” of LGBTQ youths, for her use of a Biblical quote.
Aldag, who had been the Liberal nominee for months, used social media to emphasize his opposition to any controversial comments by Jansen in the months leading up to the election.
After spending months in his 2015 election pounding the pavement, Aldag again was highly visible on the campaign trail. Leading up to the Sept. 20 election, he was at multiple public events around the riding.
While the candidates took aim at the policies of their opposite numbers and party leaders, they also sparred in local debates.
The timing of the election was a key attack for Conservatives, including Jansen.
“A leader would be thinking about how we can meet the threat of a Delta-driven fourth wave, secure our recovery, and tackle the skyrocketing cost of living,” Jansen said of PM Justin Trudeau. “Instead, this prime minister is focused only on his own political interests.”
Aldag responded that “after 17 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, all Canadians deserve a choice about how we finish the fight again COVID-19 and build back better.”
“This vote is about who represents our values, so we can move forward, not backwards,” Aldag added.
Beyond the candidates, the campaign had a few ugly turns, including some sign vandalism.
Aldag was the most prominent victim, as someone re-arranged dozens of his signs to spell a swear word on 200th Street.
On election day on Sept. 20, Aldag finished the night ahead in the polls and was the presumed winner with an 1,100 vote lead, but with more than 3,700 mail-in ballots still to be counted, he couldn’t be declared the definitive victor.
That wouldn’t happen until Sept. 24, when the votes showed Aldag with a 1,600 vote lead. He won with 39.2 per cent of the vote, while Jansen managed 36.2 per cent.
The win saw Aldag return to a minority Liberal government in a Parliament that was split along almost identical lines to the one that had been dissolved when Trudeau had called the election over the summer.
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