One of the special elections going on in 2021 is the election to replace Former MP John Woods. Woods was removed from office earlier this year after he was linked to the far-right terrorist organization the United Front. He was initially arrested after he was caught after a meeting with leaders of the United Front. In July he was charged for collaboration with a terrorist organization and lying under oath. Since he was removed from office, the governor appointed his replacement. Robert Bond, a former golf executive turned far-right donor. He remained unpopular after he failed to list the 10 largest towns within the province during an interview with SIBC, last month. However, he has tried to regain support by hosting rallies across the province and by using populist tactics.
We attended a rally in Fort Lewis, a small town in the west of the province. Unlike normal elections, voters will be voting for one person instead of a party list. And it’s only one seat instead of the normal 10 seats distributed by vote count. An older man told us he was voting for Bond because it reminded him of former MP Woods.
“He reminds me of Woods, He had the same energy and values in him”
When asked if he agreed with Woods conviction, he said
“The convictions against him were false and manufactured by Joseph Chavez, plain and simple”
Bond spoke to a crown of around 100 of the towns, 2,000 people. His supporters waved his signs and when the old flag of Slokais Islands was seen flying in the crowd, Bond commented to the crowd.
“That’s the flag of a true Slokaisan, That’s our heritage coming to life”
The old flag featured a red bear looking toward a red star on a white background, it has become a symbol of the far-right. It was used from 1891 to 1905. Afterward when we tried to interview him. He just said “No, I don’t want to be mischaracterized”
The polls put him at 33%, just behind the Centrist, Micheal Lockhorn. Lockhorn is a long-time local politician and the current Township Commissioner of Blue Oaks Township. Lockhorn has been endorsed by many members of the opposition such as Joseph Zhang and others. He is less conservative than Bond, and has tried to seem more reasonable than Woods who he sees as “Uneducated and reactionary”.
Lockhorn has support in the same areas as Bond but has gained support as he portrayed himself as a local, instead of Bond who many see as an outsider. We catch up with Lockhorn at a parade in Pelham City, a farming town of 5,000. Today’s events included a parade as well as a speech in the town square. He is now in a coffee shop, it would have been a normal scene except the media standing around. Lockhorn talks to an older woman and her grandson about his plans for taxes.
“You see I hope to support legislation that decreases taxes on business such as this fine establishment, wouldn’t you say,” he says
She laughs and says “Well, the sandwiches and fried fish is very good”
“Indeed, and about that fish, I support regulations that would not limit fishing production, but still create a stable population of fish” he adds.
On the other side of things, the governing coalition has nominated Nathan Martin-Zhao of the Green Party. In recent years the Green Party has become popular with liberally minded people outside of the major cities. Polling at 19% Zhao is well behind Lockhorn and Bond but could make it into a possible runoff if either candidate drops. We caught up with Zhao at Pelham Bay University, in the province’s largest city of Pelham, Pelham Bay forms a modest metro area of around 500,000. Zhao speaks to students in the center of campus, his crowds are smaller than both Lockwood and Bond, but still, they are supportive. Zhao speaks of improving environmental regulations as supporting further social services.
“I hope to not only support working families through high wages but also reduce college tuition” he is met by applause at the mention of reduced tuition.
Zhao is a lawyer who owns a farm about 20 miles from here. He has often shown up to major environmental protests and actions as well as campaigned in rural areas as well. He is only 32 years old and looks to have a future, in-office or in Social movements.
Finally rounding the field is Julie Rockham of the Farmer and Fishers Party at 9%. The Farmers and Fishers is a small party that is focused on rural issues, and it’s the party of government confidence and supply. They look to finish 4th and their focus in the region is to keep their one proportional seat in the province. Behind them is Leah De La Cruz of the People’s Party-Free and Equal who is not aligned with any coalition and has the support of very few, and whose People’s Party has the least sponsored bills of any party.