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By-election candidates forgo sleep to reach voters all night long

Between dancing at the Odyssey's famous Shower Power night, bowling at the Commodore, and enjoying a live blues band at the Yale Hotel, provincial NDP candidates Spencer Herbert and Jenn McGinn popped into a downtown karaoke bar last night to sing a few numbers as part of a round-the-clock campaign blitz in the last days before the by-election.

"We sang 'Eight Days a Week,' because that's how hard we're working," McGinn said during a brief stop at her Vancouver-Fairview campaign office this afternoon. She and Herbert had been awake since 7 a.m. Thursday morning by that point. Their 24-hour overnight campaign started at 6 p.m. Thursday night, and ends at 6 p.m. Friday evening. "I'm a little tired after not sleeping," McGinn said, "But as tired as I might feel, from what I'm hearing on the doorstep of Fairview voters is how tired they are of the arrogance of Gordon Campbell."

McGinn is competing to fill the shoes of Gregor Robertson in Vancouver-Fairview, where she's up against BC Liberal Margaret MacDiarmid, Green Party leader Jane Sterk, the BC Marijuana Party's Jodie Emery, and Wilf Hanni, leader of the BC Conservative party.

During her visits of the many hospitals, cafes, and 24-hour businesses in her riding, McGinn met a number of shift workers who were trying to make ends meet by working two jobs. "Under this current government, people are having are harder and harder time just trying to make ends meet," she said. "You look at the arrogance of Gordon Campbell not raising the minimum wage for over seven years. It shows how out of touch the premier is with a lot of working people."

Herbert had similar experiences in his overnight tour of the Vancouver-Burrard riding, where he encountered situations that he saw as a direct effect of the Campbell government. He met people hanging out in 24-hour coffee shops for lack of anywhere else to stay warm. "There were some people dealing with mental illness who you would think have somewhere to go at night, but they don't," he said. "I didn't know if being up later [at night] would change what people talked about, but the issues that came up again and again were homelessness and housing."

Herbert will conclude his 24-hour tour of Vancouver-Burrard with a visit to the West End Seniors Network, followed by mainstreeting near his apartment on Davie Street. The Vancouver-Burrard race is rounded out by BC Liberal Arthur Griffiths, the Green Party's Drina Read, the BC Marijuana Party's Marc Emery, and Ian McLeod of the BC Conservatives.

"We found people on the street who wanted to talk politics much later than I would have expected," said Herbert of the 24-hour campaign. "It really gave a window into the riding which most people don't normally see, and into the lives of people who work shift work, graveyard shifts, and see the world in a different way."

Jackie Wong reports for the Westender.

[This story was corrected to add a candidate at 5:48 p.m. Oct. 24.]

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