Three Lower Mainland races to watch now that the federal election has been called

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      Governor General David Johnston has dissolved Parliament and Canadian politicians are officially on the husting.

      This came after Conservative Leader Stephen Harper paid a visit to Rideau Hall requesting that an election be held on October 19.

      It will be the longest campaign in modern Canadian history.

      Here are my picks for three of the more interesting races in the region.

      1. Vancouver Centre

      Four strong women are going head-to-head in a riding that's sometimes referred to as Downtown British Columbia. It includes the city's financial district, a large LGBT community, many renters, a thriving arts community, and a growing immigrant population. 

      Incumbent Hedy Fry is undefeated since 1993, making her the longest-serving Liberal MP in B.C. history.

      This time, she faces a tough opponent in the NDP's Constance Barnes, who topped the polls in the Vancouver park board election in 2011.

      The NDP's Constance Barnes hopes to knock off a veteran in Vancouver Centre.
      Charlie Smith

      The Greens are running former Bowen Island mayor Lisa Barrett, whose formidable intellect will enliven all-candidates debates.

      The Conservative candidate, Elaine Allan, is former executive director of Shelter Net B.C., former director of communications with the John Howard Society, and former coordinator of the WISH Drop-In Society.

      Redistribution has removed much of the Fairview neighbourhood from Vancouver Centre, which might make this campaign a tougher slog for Fry.

      2. Surrey-Newton

      Incumbent New Democrat Jinny Sims is a fiery debater and a former president of the B.C. Teachers' Federation.

      With Libby Davies retiring as an MP, Sims's progressive political disposition is increasingly valued by those who worry about the NDP's drift to the right under Tom Mulcair.

      With redistribution, however, Sims might have a tough fight to get reelected as her former Newton-North Delta riding's poorer area has been shifted into the new riding of Surrey Centre.

      The NDP's Jinny Sims is in a three-way fight to retain her seat in Parliament.

      She's facing Liberal Sukh Dhaliwal, who was in Parliament from 2006 to 2011. Dhaliwal was convicted in 2013 under the Income Tax Act for failing to complete tax returns. That forced him to step aside from running in the last B.C. election.

      The Conservative, Harpreet Singh, is a high-profile broadcaster on Joy TV and Red FM radio. With his nightly TV show, his name recognition might even be higher than his two opponents.

      This race will occur as the riding is in the midst of a crime wave, which has included numerous drive-by shootings.

      3. Vancouver Granville

      This is a new riding carved out of the middle of the City of Vancouver, encompassing Fairview, Shaughnessy, the Oakridge area, and stretching all the way south to Marpole. It's home to some of the province's richest residents and keenest environmentalists. It's also the centre of Vancouver's Jewish community.

      Demographically, it's a good bet for the Conservatives, who are represented by corporate lawyer and investment manager Erinn Broshko.

      The Liberals feel they have a star candidate in Jody Wilson-Raybould, former regional chief with the Assembly of First Nations.

      Justin Trudeau hopes Jody Wilson-Raybould captures another Liberal seat in Vancouver.

      And the NDP has nominated political strategist Mira Oreck, who helped quarterback Gregor Robertson's successful 2008 mayoral campaign and who moved to New York to assist Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign.

      Oreck is the only one of the three who grew up in the riding.



      Vancouver Centre

      Aug 2, 2015 at 10:51am

      It's really time for Hedy to go. I've lived in the Village for decades and she does nothing for this riding but march in the Pride parade with her nose in the air. She reminds me of a cross between Adrienne Clarkson & Michaelle Jean, the most embarrassing Governors General in Canada's history.

      I"m voting for Constance.

      jiminy k

      Aug 2, 2015 at 10:52am

      Wow, Vancouver Centre. This is going to be FAAAANTASTIC.

      Barry William Teske

      Aug 2, 2015 at 11:14am

      This "race" for your viewing pleasure.
      At cost to you.
      Promises broken.
      At cost to you.
      At cost to you.
      Confrontational Politics.
      At cost to you.
      Another wam bam smokescreened election.
      At cost to you.


      Aug 2, 2015 at 4:02pm

      A thousand thumbs up! I lived in Vancouver Centre for most of 1985-2014. Hedy is a pathetic excuse for an MP and needs to go. Seems like no one worthwhile has the guts to run against her in the riding.

      Granville Girl

      Aug 3, 2015 at 10:04am

      Well, I live in Vancouver-Granville (Marpole), and though I am neither rich nor part of the Jewish community, I am a keen environmentalist as described in the article. I have voted Green in the past and prefer to do so again; none of the other three candidates seem appealing to me. If there are so many keen environmentalists here, why is there no Green Party candidate?

      James Blatchford

      Aug 3, 2015 at 10:45am

      Fingers are crossed in Vancouver Centre as we speak. Hedy must go.


      Aug 3, 2015 at 11:37am

      Hedy is one of the hardest working constituent MPs in my mind. She could have jumped ship like others but has stayed on and fought for Vancouver and our community, without looking for credit.


      Aug 3, 2015 at 1:13pm

      Granville Girl - don't worry. Lizzie will have someone carry the Green banner in her vainglorious attempt at official party status. That it may give us another 4 years of Stephen Harper is no concern of hers.

      Going Green in Van Centre

      Aug 3, 2015 at 1:48pm

      I think Lisa Barrett of the Greens has a great opportunity to win in Vancouver Centre. Remember, this was the riding Adriane Carr ran in in 2008 and 2011 when she was still deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada, and she managed to win nearly 19% of the vote in 2008. Now as the top-vote getting Councillor with a strong base in Vancouver Centre, Carr is throwing her weight behind Barrett, already a strong candidate in her own right. She could gather votes from all those not simply wanting to install another MP who becomes nothing more than a chess piece for their party to use - not to mention all those not wanting an increase in tanker traffic right past the riding from Kinder Morgan, which both Mulcair and Trudeau still support.

      There is a Green in Granville!

      Aug 3, 2015 at 2:27pm

      Hi Granville Girl, the Green Party just nominated Michael Barkusky as its candidate for Vancouver Granville about a week ago. He is an economist and accountant who has worked and volunteered extensively with First Nations and environmental conservation groups. As a Jewish ex-South African who fought against Apartheid, Michael's knows what's at stake if we don't get democracy back on track in Canada.