Most politicians say good things about the environment. But only one of them swam the length of the Fraser River twice to raise awareness of salmon populations and was honoured by the Squamish Nation for his efforts with an aboriginal name. Only one in this region has visited more than 100 schools to talk about the environment and been named “environmental educator of the year” by teachers who specialize in this area.
That politician is Coquitlam councillor Fin Donnelly, the executive director of the Rivershed Society of B.C.
Donnelly played a key role in Coquitlam's developing an affordable-housing strategy and taking action to tackle homelessness. When he served on the Metro Vancouver board, he introduced a “zero waste” motion, which set the region on a path to diverting a huge amount of garbage out of the waste stream.
On Monday (November 9) voters in the federal riding of New Westminster–Coquitlam will choose their next member of Parliament. There are four candidates: Donnelly (NDP), Port Moody councillor Diana Dilworth (Conservative), consultant Rebecca Helps (Green), and engineer Ken Beck Lee (Liberal).
Since 2004, the NDP has won two of the three elections in New Westminster–Coquitlam and narrowly lost the third race. The Conservatives won once and came second in the two other campaigns. This by-election, which was called after NDP MP Dawn Black stepped down to run for the provincial legislature, is shaping up as another race between the NDP and Conservative candidates.
Dilworth has focused attention on the Conservatives' law-and-order agenda. She has ducked debates like so many other Conservative candidates in the last federal election. As a member of the governing party, she has to answer for the fact that the Evergreen Line still hasn't been built.
The Liberal candidate, Lee, understands the seriousness of climate change and he impressed some by knocking off Leader Michael Ignatieff's former communications spokesperson in B.C. for the party nomination. But Lee has never been elected to Parliament, and he could probably benefit by gaining elected experience at a lower level of government before trying to enter the big leagues.
The Green candidate is well-meaning, but she cannot match Donnelly's environmental credentials. He is the best bet to stop the Conservative. He will also put pressure on the Harper government for not seriously addressing global warming. It's a no-brainer. If you know people who live in New Westminster–Coquitlam, please encourage them to get to a polling station on Monday and vote for Fin Donnelly for the good of the planet.