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Duncan wins Tory nod in new Courtenay-Alberni riding

John Duncan has won the right to be the Conservative candidate for the new Courtenay-Alberni Riding in next year's federal election.
John Duncan has won the Conservative nomination in the new Courtenay-Alberni riding.

John Duncan has won the right to be the Conservative candidate for the new Courtenay-Alberni Riding in next year's federal election.

The incumbent MP for Vancouver Island North had been challenged for the position by fellow Conservative Patrick Chenier of Errington, near Parksville, so the choice of candidate went to a ballot of all party members in the new riding.

Three nomination meetings were held late last week, in Port Alberni, Qualicum, and finally on Friday night at the Lewis Centre in Courtenay.  When that was over, the votes from all three were tallied and Duncan was declared the winner.

Detailed figures have not been released, but Duncan's campaign team say he was a very clear victor — with especially strong support voiced in the Comox Valley part of the new riding, which stretches south to Parksville and as far west as Tofino and Ucluelet.

After the declaration, Duncan — who was first elected to Parliament in 1993 — commented: "I am very pleased to once again have the privilege of running as a Conservative candidate and am grateful for the great support I have received throughout the new riding.  

"I will continue to work hard for the communities of Vancouver Island North until the next election, but I have lived in many corners of Courtenay-Alberni and I look forward to building on those connections to be an effective representative for the region."

He added: "I believe that our Government has provided strong leadership in a time of great global uncertainty, and I will be proud to represent the party in Courtenay-Alberni in the next election."

Chenier had campaigned on a theme of the need for renewal.

"We need more than just the status quo because it is not increasing opportunities for mid-islanders," he argued. "This nomination is not just about the next election or another four year term, but about renewal for the next 20 years."

After the result was declared, he offered congratulations to Duncan on securing the nomination.  "Thank you to all the members who voted for me - and thank you to my dedicated volunteer campaign team who supported me in this process," he added.

For Duncan's campaign team, Dick Clancy of Courtenay said Duncan's long-standing team has stood solidly behind him during the nomination process and would be there for him "up to, through and beyond the next election."

The new riding is part of a wider boundary reorganization to increase B.C.'s representation in Parliament to reflect its growing population.

The current Vancouver Island North riding is being split, with the City of Courtenay, Village of Cumberland and Comox Valley rural Area A joining communities to the south in the new Courtenay-Alberni riding.  

At the same time, the Town of Comox and rural Areas B and C will remain with communities to the north and will be joined by Powell River in a riding to be known as Vancouver Island North-Comox-Powell River.

A Conservative candidate for that riding is in the process of being chosen.