Friday, October 9, 2009

“My father’s reputation as an intellectual, his obsession with Russian literature, and his endless support of fellow refugees brought him untold troub

After federal elections in 2004, 2006 and 2008, most voters won’t be wanting to go back to the polls any time soon.

But should Stephen Harper’s minority Conservative government fall any time soon, the race in Richmond promises to be an interesting one.

Last month, Richmond Liberals selected Joe Peschisolido to be their candidate. Peschisolido was Richmond MP from 2000 to 2004, but is best-known for crossing the floor from the Canadian Alliance (forerunner of today’s Conservatives) to the Liberals. The move angered die-hards in both parties locally: many Alliance supporters felt betrayed after the recent newcomer to Richmond they opened doors for betrayed them; Liberals loyal to Raymond Chan, the MP who lost to Peschisolido in 2000 weren’t happy either to see their rival moving in.

Peschisolido tried to win the Liberal nomination in 2004 but lost to Chan by only 168 votes. Since then, he’s continued living in Richmond, started his own law firm and has kept interest in the Liberals.

Chan’s loss to Conservative Alice Wong in 2008 by more than 8,000 votes opened the door for what seemed an improbable politic comeback for Peschisolido.

At the nomination meeting, the once-mighty Chan machine just couldn’t get the supporters out and Peschisolido won on a second ballot. Now can he convince the rest of Richmond he is the man for the job?

On the plus side, he has stayed loyal to Richmond and the Liberals since 2002. He is charming, hard-working and good at networking and with the media.

On the minus side, his re-entry into political life will re-ignite many embittered voters who won’t soon forget Peschisolido’s abandoning of the right. Current MP Alice Wong, who ran with Peschisolido under the Canadian Alliance banner back in 2000, will have some choice words to say.

Of course, what happens nationally often has more impact on voters than local personalities, but the return of Joe Peschisolido will make for an intriguing election.

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