B.C. Votes 2017: Chilliwack-Kent riding profile

B.C. Votes 2017: Chilliwack-Kent riding profile

In advance of the 2017 B.C. election, we'll be profiling all 87 electoral districts in the province. Here is Chilliwack-Kent, one of nine ridings in the Fraser Valley region — and one where the loss of Hope isn't a concern for the incumbent.

Summary: The easternmost of the Lower Mainland's 50 ridings, Chilliwack-Kent includes half of Chilliwack, and all of Kent and Harrison Hot Springs. The riding used to include Hope (and was called Chilliwack-Hope), but it was put into the Fraser-Nicola riding to better balance population numbers. The riding also gained the area east of Vedder Road between Highway 1 and South Sumas that used to be part of the Chilliwack riding. 

Politics: Like most of the lower Fraser Valley, the area has historically supported centre-right and right-wing parties, both provincially and federally.

However, the NDP made history when the party won a 2012 byelection in Chilliwack-Hope — though MLA Gwen O'Mahony was defeated in a rematch with Liberal candidate Laurie Throness a year later.  

Candidates: Throness is seeking re-election. The parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice, Throness was formerly chief of staff for federal Conservative Chuck Strahl in a variety of ministries. 

The NDP candidate is Patti MacAhonic, the director for the local Ann Davis Transition Society. She ran for the party in Chilliwack in the 2013 election, a decision which led the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce to remove her as executive director. 

The Green candidate is Josie Bleuer, a firefighter for the City of Chilliwack. 

Where does the NDP do well?  It is competitive in the urban centre of Kent, along with southeast Sardis - but it did best in Hope, which is now part of the Fraser-Nicola riding. 

What about the Liberals? The farmland between the city areas of Chilliwack and the Aggasiz bridge show consistent support for the party, with typically 55 to 75 per cent support for candidates.