FOR almost a week now there were rumours that well-known former Surrey RCMP media spokesperson Sgt. Elenore (El) Sturko would be the B.C. Liberal candidate in the upcoming Surrey South byelection. On Thursday, the party made it official.
The riding’s incumbent MLA, Stephanie Cadieu, had announced a month ago that she was quitting at the end of April to become Canada’s first Chief Accessibility Officer (CAO).
In the 2020 provincial election, Cadieux won 12,970 votes (47.36 per cent of the total vote), while her nearest rival, NDP’s Pauline Greaves got 11,794 votes (43.06 per cent) – a difference of less than 1,200 votes. The Greens’ Tim Ibbotson garnered 2,623 votes (9.58 per cent). So expect a fierce, no-holds-barred battle in this by-election as the NDP makes an all-out bid to take over the riding.
Sturko is a tough fighter and she will be sure to give as good as she gets.
Sturko, of course, took the expected line of attack against the NDP government. She said: “I’m running to be the next MLA for Surrey South because as a Surrey South resident I’m tired of the NDP’s failed promises for Surrey residents. From the rising cost of living, to increased crime, to the failure to deliver on needed mental health services, life is worse off in Surrey under the NDP. I’m excited to bring fresh ideas and a new perspective to Victoria on behalf of the people of Surrey South.”
BC Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon, who’s been under a blistering attack by the NDP that has been digging out anything and everything from his past political record that could embarrass him, said: “Elenore’s experience working on the front lines of the opioid crisis and tackling issues facing young families in Surrey will be a great asset for our caucus. From the outset of my BC Liberal leadership, I committed to building a team of highly qualified and talented individuals from a diverse variety of backgrounds. And Elenore is an outstanding example of that.”
Dianne Watts, former Mayor of Surrey and former MP for South Surrey-White Rock, who’s been trying desperately to become politically relevant once again, said: “Elenore brings a unique perspective to politics and to the discussion that needs to occur if we are going to seriously deal with the important issues that face the people of Surrey South and the entire province of BC. I am proud to endorse her as I strongly believe it is important to ensure there is a pathway into politics for strong and accomplished women.”
Together with her wife Melissa, Sturko is raising her three children in Surrey South. She has spent years working as a frontline and media relations officer for the Surrey RCMP. Before joining the RCMP, she worked in media production and as a reservist with the Canadian Forces.
Sturko said: “I look forward to working hard to earn the support of Surrey South voters so that I can join Kevin Falcon and our BC Liberal team in Victoria to bring real solutions to the problems facing our community.”
AFTER graduating from high school at Kamloops Senior Secondary, Sturko embarked on a professional journey that took her across the country where she had the opportunity to meet Canadians in every province and territory.
Her early career was in the television broadcasting industry, starting off at CFJC Television in Kamloops. Over the following 13 years, she enjoyed helping people share their stories as part of news production teams at home here in BC, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories.
In 2007, Sturko decided to transition her career to public service and joined the Canadian Armed Forces as a reservist in the Royal Canadian Air Force. After completing training she began full-time service, first with the 440 Transport Squadron, and then with the 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, both located in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
In 2009 she joined the RCMP, and after successfully graduating from training at Depot Division, she was posted to Langley. In 2012 she transferred to Yellowknife, where she worked as a frontline police officer, and then as a community policing and media relations officer. Her roles gave her the opportunity to travel extensively in the north, working with Indigenous communities, creating community programs, and even participating in an Arctic Sovereignty Patrol. In 2016 after completing her tour of duty in the Northwest Territories, Sturko and her family moved to Ottawa where she joined the RCMP Musical Ride, participating in the 2017 cross-country tour celebrating Canada 150. Elenore transferred back home to BC in 2018, where she joined the Surrey RCMP. In Surrey, she served as a media relations officer and in frontline policing.
Throughout her career, Sturko has been recognized as a champion of human rights and has been an advisor on matters related to gender, sexual orientation, harassment, equity, and inclusivity. In 2019 she published a book in tribute to her Uncle Dave, a victim of Canada’s LGBT Purge, with all proceeds going to children in Nunavut and residential school survivors. In 2019 Elenore was selected to participate in the LBGT Purge Fund National Monument Visioning Committee 2019 and is a member of the Curation Advisory Counsel for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights LGBT Purge Exhibit.