Clock ticking on New Westminster–Coquitlam by-election

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      Candidates for a potential by-election in New Westminster–Coquitlam say they are hearing one message from voters in the federal riding: Canadians aren’t in the mood for a general election this fall.

      Fin Donnelly (NDP), Ken Beck Lee (Liberal), and Rebecca Helps (Green) indicated in phone interviews that the riding’s residents feel it’s too soon for the country to plunge into another campaign, having elected a third consecutive minority government on October 14, 2008. Port Moody councillor and Conservative candidate Diana Dilworth didn’t return the Straight’s call before deadline.

      If an election is called, it will be the fourth in just over five years.

      The Liberals have withdrawn their support for the Conservative government, but it will take all three opposition parties to pull the rug out from under the Conservatives. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is likely to survive for now following an announcement by Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe that his party will not support the Conservatives in a budget vote on Friday (September 18).

      An Angus Reid Strategies poll released on September 16 showed the Conservatives seven percentage points ahead of the Liberals, with the parties gaining the support of 36 percent and 29 percent of voters, respectively. The NDP was in third place with 17 percent; the Bloc had 10 percent; and the Greens garnered seven percent.

      Donnelly is a three-term Coquitlam city councillor who has swum the length of the Fraser River twice to promote environmental issues.

      “I’ve had folks raise the missing-sockeye-salmon issue and DFO’s [Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s] role,” Donnelly told the Straight. “New West and even parts of Coquitlam are along the Fraser and they are Fraser River communities, and at one time there were a lot more fishing vessels. The number of fishers over the years has dwindled.”

      A professional engineer, Lee defeated Michael Ignatieff supporter and former federal candidate Gerry Lenoski for the party’s nomination.

      Lee noted that a major concern among residents in the riding is the harmonized sales tax that will be introduced by the provincial government on July 1, 2010. “Our position is we don’t think it’s a good idea in B.C. because you don’t have a manufacturing base in here,” Lee told the Straight. “If you have a large manufacturing base, you have a lot of hidden sales tax embedded in the system. So in a province like Ontario, it may make sense because you reduce the cost of administration.”

      An advocate of proportional representation, Helps ran as the Green candidate for Port Moody–Coquitlam in May’s provincial election.

      “Port Moody and Coquitlam have been waiting 20 years for the Evergreen Line, and it’s still not coming,” Helps told the Straight when asked about the concerns of voters in the riding. “Although the provincial and federal governments have promised their fair share, and funding for TransLink is falling short, people are expecting all levels of government to step up.”

      In April, the seat in New Westminster–Coquitlam, which includes a portion of Port Moody, was vacated by then–NDP MP Dawn Black, who subsequently became the NDP MLA for New Westminster. According to Donnelly, the prime minister should call the by-election no later than October 14. Donnelly added that voting must take place at least 35 days after the election has been called.



      Voter Fatigue or Just Apathy?

      Sep 17, 2009 at 7:15am

      What is so draining and fatiguing about going to the polling station and voting? If you don't like the current governing party, then is it really so onerous to take a few minutes out of a day to walk down to the end of the block and scratch a mark on a piece of paper? "Voter fatigue" and "election fatigue" seem like mediated generated buzz words (perhaps by journalists who don't want to cover yet another election), but I don't think it fully explains why almost half of Canadians don't bother voting and have just tuned out.

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      Its about costs and working together

      Sep 17, 2009 at 8:17pm

      Elections cost tax papers money. I am talking about the cost of Elections Canada to organize, run and staff an election. I don't think this is the best use of our tax dollars. Even that fact that we keep electing minority governments isn't time our representatives learned to work together and compromise for the benefit of Canadians. Is it really that hard to find solutions that are in the best interest of all Canadians?

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      Andy Shen

      Sep 18, 2009 at 3:00am

      Keep in mind that this election is basically Fin vs Diana. If either one of them wins, there will be a municipal by-election.

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      Sep 18, 2009 at 9:59am

      This is such a biased piece of crap, typical of the Straight. The Conservative candidate didn't return calls before deadline? I bet you didn't even call her until AFTER the deadline and AFTER you'd already written this joke of an article.

      I notice you didn't mention that the reason there is even going to be a by-election is because Dawn Black of the NDP ran federally a year ago, knowing she was going to step down AFTER HER FEDERAL PENSION CAME DUE.
      She knew she would run in the upcoming provincial election, but she stuck it to taxpayers for her own personal self-interest and financial gain. God forbid she serve the whole term voters elected her for. No, because they she would have to wait another 4 years to start accumulating her provincial pension. Greedy, greedy...
      THAT'S how much NDPers care about taxpayers and the economy. Maybe you should write a story about Ms. Black and her pension-grabbing political career.

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      Charlie Smith

      Sep 18, 2009 at 10:30am

      Dear Gillian,

      I have twice mentioned Dawn Black’s federal pension in articles in the Georgia Straight.

      <a href=" Black eyes Chuck Puchmayr's New Westminster MLA seat</a>

      <a href=" Straight slate - New Westminster–Coquitlam</a>

      Carlito called Conservative candidate Diana Dilworth earlier this summer, and called her again before this article was published. She didn’t return the calls.

      Here’s the truth, which Conservative supporters don’t want to hear. Their candidates are OFTEN muzzled. Here’s the proof:

      <a href=" case of the disappearing (Conservative) women</a>

      <a href=" watch: Lorne Mayencourt misses VCC candidates debate</a>

      <a href=""></a>

      The Conservative MP for Richmond-Delta East, John Cummins, is a notable exception. He returns calls from the media, including the Georgia Straight. Maybe that’s why he’s not in cabinet after 16 years in Parliament. James Moore hasn't returned most of our calls. Maybe that's why he is in cabinet.

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      Sep 18, 2009 at 1:29pm

      The Muzzle

      Based on their voting record almost all Tory candidates are religious fundamentalists. These folks have anywhere between silly and repugnant ideas on gays, abortion, evolution, geology etc but also have a lot problems with violating the ninth commandment against lying.

      If people knew what these folks were thinking NOBODY would vote for Harpo's theocons, but they do love to preach. Harpo had to use the muzzle or the party was sunk.

      James Moore, on the other hand, is one of Harpo's only secular MP's and has no compunctions at all about lying giving him his the spokesman position.

      Kevin Phillips book American Theocracy is the definitive textbook on how these cranks took over the Republican party and Harpo has mastered the nuances therein. In the book Philips outlines how some of these megachurches issue "Fatwas" allowing members in political life break the Ninth ie to fib.

      Of course the biggest muzzle is on the MSM who refuse to report on the church memberships of Theocon candidates most of whom are Pentacostals or Alliance. Given the candidate muzzle intrepid reporters could report on the dogma of these churches, dogma that the member must often sign a written statement that he believes.

      Given Canada's restrictive election laws on campaign finance, you wonder why Harpo's Theocon team is as vehemently pro big business as is Gordo's bought and paid for gang. It is possible big business is instead sending money that is utterly untraceble to these megachurches in return for the Theocon political support. No investigative reporting here.

      Finally, there is no reporting to relate religious beliefs to Theocon policy. For example, is it possible that Harpo while a great believer in global warming actively resists all efforts to control it because it may lead quickly lead to the Apocolypse where righteous folk like himself hear the shout and raised to heaven. How is it possible that both the science and foreign affairs minister both believe that the earth was formed 6000 years ago in the garden of eden and yet there is no effort in the MSM to point to the relationship between policy and those beliefs.

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      No Dipper like a Double Dipper

      Sep 28, 2009 at 2:57pm

      Charlie Smith's response to Gillian's comment is pathetically self-serving. If the Straight were a real paper, there would be no excuse for not even mentioning the existence of a New West-Coquitlam Conservative candidate in Carlito Pablo's article. As a propaganda dishrag of the looney left, that sort of omission is to be expected.

      The Conservatives have been steadily gaining on the NDP in this riding in the reent past. No wonder Dawn Black bailed out for greener provincial pastures while clocking in for her federal MP pension, proving the adage that there's no Dipper like a Double-Dipper.

      I fully expect Diana Dilworth will win this by-election for the Conservatives and New Westminster-Coquitlam will finally have an MP in the governing party for the first time in over thirty-five years.

      Meanwhile, Seth needs to get back on his medication.

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      Martin Dunphy

      Sep 28, 2009 at 4:31pm

      No Dipper:

      In response to your assertion that there is no excuse "for not even mentioning the existence of a New West-Coquitlam Conservative candidate in Carlito Pablo's article", I invite you to open your eyes and actually read the article.
      In the second paragraph, Pablo wrote: "Port Moody councillor and Conservative candidate Diana Dilworth didn't return the Straight's call before deadline."
      There are none so blind as the ideologically blind.

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      New West voter

      Oct 6, 2009 at 10:30am

      Gillian -

      Since the beginning of this campaign (pre-writ), Diana Dilworth has been dodging media. She has not commented on stories from the Province, the Vancouver Sun and Metro. She hasn't been on Global or CTV, though Fin Donnelly and Ken Lee have.

      So it's not just the Straight. It's ironic that you would say something like that since it seems it's the only paper you read...

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      Oct 17, 2009 at 11:26pm

      Election does cost a lot of money, and the worst part of it is that if NDP or Conservative candidate wins, there will be another election coming up since both of them are in city councils. Personally, I'm not committed to any specific party but my family is NDP all the way. What I don't get though is how people in this riding are so understanding of the last NDP MP's stepping down. I mean they explain about how tax payer's money is getting wasted, and they knowingly vote for an MP although she is going to resign after 6 months,, do they even realize that this by election is costing them thousands and thousands of money? I'm very disappointed in NDP, and those NDP supporters should be ashamed.

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