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Emerson PC incumbent opens Altona campaign office

Greg Vandermeulen

Emerson MLA and PC candidate Cliff Graydon hosted a grand opening for his Altona campaign office on Sept. 13.

Located in the Altona Mall, the office was filled with well-wishers, enjoying snacks while surrounded by campaign posters.

Cliff Graydon said the purpose of the office, is not just to promote himself and his party. "I'm just trying to raise the awareness of the fact there is an election," he said.

Graydon added having an office open during the campaign allows him to hear concerns from more people.

"It gives people the opportunity to come and discuss issues with me," he said.

This campaign is different than the last, simply because the boundaries of the constituency have changed.

Emerson now includes communities such as St. Pierre, and St. Malo on the east and Reinland, Osterwick and Blumenfeld on the west.

"There are places I haven't represented in the past," he said.

Overall, Graydon said he's pleased with the response so far. "I think the campaign's gone very well," he said.

Because it's still harvest time, Graydon said he hasn't gone everywhere he wants to yet. "I don't want to be stopping a combine, talking to people who are working," he said. "If we get a substantial rainfall I will be in Blumenfeld for coffee."

And despite the region's long history of Conservative MLAs, Graydon said he is still taking the campaign seriously.

"I'm not taking anyone for granted," he said, adding his fear is that if enough of his supporters fail to vote because they think the outcome is already decided, things could turn out differently.

"You need to vote," he said. "You need to exercise your democratic right."

Although it's his second campaign, many of the concerns he hears are familiar.

"Our concerns are the same, but at a much higher level," he said. "Nothing has changed south of Winnipeg."

Graydon addressed his guests at the opening, telling them that the constituency of Emerson had the lowest voter turnout in the last provincial election. He also pulled no punches when he explained what he thought of that. "That's shameful," he said, urging people to talk to their friends and get people to the polls.