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Columnist John Martin announces bid to run for BC Conservatives

Newspaper columnist John Martin announced today he is seeking the nomination to be the BC Conservative candidate in the Chilliwack-Hope by-election.

The current Liberal MLA for the riding, Barry Penner, announced last month that he would step down in January to take a job with the Vancouver law firm Davis LLP.

Martin told the Chilliwack Times in an exclusive interview that he sees this as the "first opportunity for the BC Conservatives to get on the map and get a seat in the legislature."

"I'm a small 'c' conservative and the Liberals don't represent me anymore," said Martin. "And I can't vote NDP."

Former school trustee and city councillor Diane Janzen had announced she would seek the Liberal nomination to replace Penner, but later changed her mind. She told the Chilliwack Times that "a vote for the BC Conservatives is a vote for the NDP. Period."

According to the article, Dennis Adamson, Area A director for the Fraser Valley Regional District, confirmed he will seek the NDP nomination for the riding.

A second by-election, in Port Moody-Coquitlam is also forthcoming. Liberal MLA Iain Black resigned his seat there in August to become president and CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade. Premier Christy Clark is required to call a by-election within six months of a resignation.

In November former Port Moody mayor Joe Trasolini, a man rumoured to be a potential Liberal candidate, announced he would run in Port Moody-Coquitlam for the B.C. New Democrats. The Liberals have not yet announced a candidate in this riding.

The BC Green party has decided not to run candidates in either election.

"The last by-elections have not been very good for us," Green Party leader Jane Sterk told The Tyee yesterday. "They aren't really a friend to smaller parties. They may be friendlier to the Conservatives. We'll see."

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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