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Prince George 2020 candidate profiles: BC Liberal incumbent Shirley Bond ready to take on young challengers

Bond looks to capture sixth term in B.C. legislature
Prince George-Valemount Liberal candidate Shirley Bond. (via Jess Fedigan, PrinceGeorgeMatters)

The 2020 B.C. provincial election is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24.

PrinceGeorgeMatters has reached out to all candidates in the city's two electoral districts for interviews to bring you these profiles.

With close to two decades as an MLA in Prince George, BC Liberal incumbent Shirley Bond knows the drill during election periods and this time is no different. 

Bond originally acclaimed the seat in 2001 when she received 8,033 votes (55.72 per cent), beating BC NDP candidate Tom Whitcome.

She's won re-election in 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2017 and winning on Oct. 24 would secure her sixth term representing the Prince George-Valemount riding. 

"I continue to care passionately about the riding that I live in," she said in an interview with PrinceGeorgeMatters.

"I am a lifelong northerner. I have a very vested interest in wanting to serve this region, the province. We’ve raised our children here. Our son and daughter-in-law are raising our grandsons here. I care a great deal about ensuring that northern British Columbians have a strong, experienced voice in Victoria."

While Bond continues on the campaign trail, which has changed substantially due to COVID-19, she's aware that she's facing two candidates under the age of 25 in the BC NDP's Laura Parent and BC Greens' Mackenzie Kerr, as well as BC Libertarian candidate Sean Robson.

Despite comments being made by other candidates claiming Bond is on the older side, adding it's time for someone younger to step in, she says if those are people's views of her, they don't truly know her passion and drive. 

"I know that comments have already been made," the 63-year-old said.

"I think that, obviously, people don’t know me that well if they think that I am not energetic and hardworking. That’s my reputation and I will continue to offer that kind of effort and energy should I be re-elected in Prince George-Valemount.

“I have served in very significant cabinet posts over the years and I think that kind of experience is going to be necessary as we move through the rest of the pandemic and into the future."

Bond says it's great to see so many people interested in running for the seat, believing that age is simply 'just a number.' 

"It’s been an incredible honour to represent the people of Prince George-Valemount and from my perspective, we need someone who is prepared to go to Victoria, speak up and be aggressive about the issues that matter to us and, from my perspective, I’m still prepared to do that.

"What matters is the outcome and, first of all, I should say that I am absolutely thrilled when people step up and put their names on a ballot, explaining how hard it is for someone to put their name forward. It is a very difficult thing to do and it’s a tough decision to make personally. So I am really grateful to see the kind of interest we’ve seen, not just in Prince George and Prince George-Valemount but across the province.

"Having said that, I think that, obviously people in this riding, I think, have come to know that I have a worth ethic that is recognized not just here, but across British Columbia."

With BC NDP leader John Horgan, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson and BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau announcing numerous promises, commitments and calling each other out, Bond says Liberals are focused and ready to get the province back on its feet, which has seen COVID-19 hit the economy hard. 

“We are looking at initiatives that involve all British Columbians. Not just governing through a pandemic, what it requires. Rebuild British Columbia and restore confidence in this province. Economic recovery is going to take a lot of hard work. We have small businesses in this community and across the province that are hanging on. Just barely hanging on."

The day after B.C. Premier John Horgan called an snap-election on Sept. 21, Bond said the choice was completely unnecessary.

"He had a full year left to govern and now during one of the most difficult times in our province’s history we are going to the polls.," she said in an interview with PrinceGeorgeMatters on Sept. 22. 

"John Horgan got to be Premier of the province because he signed an agreement with the Green Party. His decision to call an election and break the promise he made to them speaks to the political motives he has in calling the election now. He is also ignoring fixed election date legislation in order to try and secure a majority government."

Voters head to the polls on Oct. 24.