The North Island-Powell River Liberal riding association acclaimed retired meteorologist and Canadian Armed Forces veteran Peter Schwarzhoff, on May 11, as its candidate for the 2019 federal election. Schwarzhoff also ran for the Liberals in 2015.
A media release stated that Schwarzhoff believes he is “the best option to keep Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party from rolling back the tremendous progress made since the Liberals formed government.”
“I know that there’s much work left to do,” the statement continued, “but I’m proud of what we’ve done to date.”
Four years on from his first bid to become the MP for North Island-Powell River, Schwarzhoff said in an interview with the Peak that he hopes to build this year on the electoral advances the Liberals made in 2015.
“I’m just as enthusiastic as ever,” he said. “I’m feeling really good about it all.”
In regard to the SNC-Lavalin affair that shook the Trudeau government earlier this year, Schwarzhoff said he believes the Liberal Party has maintained its self-proclaimed ethoses of “openness” and “transparency.”
“There was no scandal,” said Schwarzhoff. “There was a controversy that was turned into what appeared to be a scandal by media and our opponents.”
The Liberal candidate added that although he would not have taken the same actions as the ones taken by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who resigned from cabinet over the affair, he still counts the former Liberal (now independent) caucus member as a friend.
“I’m not going to rebuke her in any way; it’s just sad that we couldn’t have found a way to avoid the conflict that it ended up in,” said Schwarzhoff. “We will not retreat behind closed doors. We will continue to search for a ways to share all that we’re able to with the Canadian public. Wherever we can, we intend to stay open and transparent.”
In matters closer to home, Schwarzhoff acknowledged that the federal government’s chinook salmon fishing restrictions, which are aimed at conserving the chinook population, pose significant challenges to local fishing charter businesses. However, he suggested there are “other opportunities” for professionals in that sector to pursue.
“I understand their concern; it’s real,” said Schwarzhoff. “There’s plenty of fish to catch; they can go after other things. Plan the other aspects of your business and keep on going. Hopefully this will be short term.”
Looking ahead at the coming election campaign, Schwarzhoff said his messaging will be focused on the environment and job creation.
“We can take action to protect our environment, to put a price on pollution and still have an economy which builds and supports the average family,” he said. “We have ambitious plans to tackle other problems that we’ve only begun to attack. We’re doing all that a federal government can do to address housing affordability.”
North Island-Powell River Liberal Electoral District Association president Chrystal Arnet said she believes Shwarzhoff has “an excellent chance of winning this riding.”
“Peter knows firsthand how essential it is that we take climate change seriously,” she added. “He has 30 years experience as an atmospheric scientist and is an advocate for evidence-based policy making.”