Parties line up Richmond candidates, prep for fall election

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t officially called the election yet — at least he hadn’t by the Richmond News’ press deadline — but he popped into town last week to hand out mooncakes at Lansdowne Centre, glad-handing and signalling that it was definitely election season.

The visit was an impromptu one to T&T Supermarket, after an announcement in Surrey earlier in the day on Aug. 29, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

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The next day, his party announced that Steven Kou was acclaimed as the Liberal candidate in Richmond Centre for the Oct. 21 federal election, joining incumbent Joe Peschisolido in Steveston-Richmond East as governing-party candidates for the two local federal ridings.

According to a post on the Liberal Party of Canada’s website from Brittney Kerr, the national campaign co-chair, Kou was the only qualified nominee “to have successfully completed the nomination application process.”

Kou resides in South Surrey but he runs a business, Ekon Wealth Management, in Richmond. Kou is a professional accountant and financial adviser. He is also involved in Richmond business associations, like the chamber of commerce, he explained.

“Actually, I spend much more of my time in Richmond (than Surrey) and I know Richmond Centre quite well,” he said.

Kou ran in the 2015 election in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway, losing to NDP incumbent Don Davies by more than 8,000 votes. He was in second place.

The Greens also recently updated their website to announce a candidate for Steveston-Richmond East, lawyer Nicole Iaci, joining her Green counterpart Francoise Raunet in Richmond Centre.

All major federal parties except the NDP have a candidate lined up for Richmond Centre, including incumbent Conservative MP Alice Wong, who is running for re-election. In addition to the Green Party’s Raunet, Ivan Pak will run as the candidate for the People’s Party of Canada (PPC).

In Steveston-Richmond East, Iaci and Conservative candidate Kenny Chiu are running to unseat incumbent Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido.

According to Glen Walushka, regional coordinator of the PPC, an announcement of a candidate for Steveston-Richmond East is “imminent.”

The PPC splintered off from the Conservative Party last year and is led by Maxime Bernier, who started on a platform opposing supply management, for example, set dairy prices. He is calling for less immigration and opposes what he calls “political correctness.”

The NDP, led by Jagmeet Singh, hasn’t announced a candidate for either Steveston-Richmond East nor Richmond Centre, and have yet to announce almost half their candidates across Canada.

The election period can be between 50 and 36 days in length, so with the fixed election date on Oct. 21, Trudeau has until Sept. 15 to call the election.


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