Vancouver Kingsway riding heats up

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      Long-time Richmond resident and federal Liberal Wendy Yuan has moved on up”¦to Vancouver Kingsway.

      “I bought a house on 39th and Alberta,” Yuan told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “I live in the riding. I don’t have a house in Richmond anymore.”

      Next month, Yuan, her husband, and their 21-year-old son will move the last of their belongings, she said. This means political opponents can no longer call her a carpetbagger or a parachute candidate.

      Yuan is already sounding a warning to incumbent NDP MP Don Davies that Vancouver Kingsway “belongs to the Liberals”. When the federal writ is dropped, Davies and Yuan will be in a political rematch going back to the 2008 federal election.

      “I am very confident that we are going to get it back this time,” Yuan said. “The momentum we have up there is very high. I’ve been door-knocking since the beginning of July, and I feel it. I really feel it on the doorsteps when I talk to the people.”

      In 2008, Davies took the seat with 15,933 votes to Yuan’s 13,164. Conservative candidate Salomon Rayek garnered 12,419 votes. In 2006, then-Liberal incumbent David Emerson took the riding for the Liberals with 20,062 votes, 43.5 percent of the total, to NDP challenger Ian Waddell’s 15,470, or 33.5 percent.

      Emerson enraged constituents by crossing the floor to the Conservatives soon after the election, meaning that the riding has seen representation—controversially, in the case of Emerson—from all three major federal parties since Emerson’s first victory in 2004, when Yuan stepped aside to enable him to run.

      “I think that, in this riding, the David Emerson factor is still there,” Davies told the Straight by phone. “People know that what happened the last time they voted for a Liberal was they got a Conservative. They also have seen [Liberal leader Michael] Ignatieff move the Liberal party to the right.”

      Yuan said she heard from event organizers that Ignatieff’s personal appearance at the summer barbecue at Kensington Community Centre on August 21, as part of a cross-country tour, drew 1,312 people. This led Vancouver East NDP MP Libby Davies to tell the Straight that it will be a “tight race” this time but that Yuan will “absolutely not” win.

      The NDP crushed the Liberals and Conservatives in the November 2009 New Westminster-Coquitlam federal by-election after highlighting its opposition to the harmonized sales tax.

      The 2006 census tallied 119,815 residents in Vancouver Kingsway.

      Don Davies said that over 100 languages are spoken in the riding, adding that Chinese-speaking constituents make up 43 percent of the population and Filipinos another 11 percent.

      “Another 10 percent is South Asian, and there are burgeoning Vietnamese and Korean populations, as well as dozens of others,” he said. “So whoever represents this riding has to have a really good feeling for the multicultural aspect of it. I spend a lot of time and a lot of energy and a lot of focus meeting with as many community groups from as many different perspectives as possible.”

      Yuan, who was born and raised in Beijing, speaks both Mandarin and Cantonese. She said that if elected, she will focus on representing working-class people in the riding, streamlining foreign-credential requirements, and creating “a safe community”.

      Yuan initially said she did not want to discuss the Emerson issue, adding that it is “in the past”. However, she said later in the interview that she felt his crossing the floor was a “betrayal”.

      “Talk about loyalty, that is a betrayal to the voters,” she said. “It is the voters who voted you in, and you owe it to them, and you run under the Liberal banner. I can go on forever on this subject. My volunteers were so upset. They helped him to get elected too.”

      Conservative party candidate Trang Nguyen did not respond to a message by the Straight’s deadline.



      J. Weatherman

      Aug 26, 2010 at 4:39am

      I just LOVE it when Liberals declare that parts of the country "belong" to them. It was only two years ago that Canadians dealt them their worst electoral result in history, yet Liberals are still as arrogant as ever. Meanwhile, good New Democrat MPs, like Don Davies, just keep doing their jobs.


      Aug 26, 2010 at 7:16am

      I believe that the LIbERalS federally are the same as conservatives but in sheeps clothing. If I lived in that riding I would help the NDP maintain that riding. The LIbERalS are fence sitters and fair weather friends. By that I mean they are the worlds biggest flip floppers. Keep them out! They deserve second place.


      Aug 26, 2010 at 7:35am

      "Vancouver Kingsway “belongs to the Liberals""..

      really? This is just typical liberal arrogance, I hope they get crushed in the next election. The riding belongs to the voters and the voters choose Don Davies (and good on them for making the right choice there).

      glen p robbins

      Aug 26, 2010 at 7:57am

      Supplemental text should include observations on watching paint dry.

      Stan Mortensen

      Aug 26, 2010 at 9:12am

      I certainly applaud Wendy Yuan's decision to move into the Van-Kingsway riding. It is the right thing to do, but I do not think there will be a change in the results from 2008.

      The Federal Liberals still have not learned their lessons from the last election or even from their competition. Internally, they are still the "old crew" of bureaucratic politicians. While I am not a conservative, I do appreciate the conservative grassroots style of politics. The way they are structured they can raise a tremendous amount of money in short order along with a very large volunteer base through that structure. From what I have seen their membership is large and certainly motivated.

      The Federal Liberals need to look at and adopt that get down and get dirty (not the political type of dirty, but the work ethic dirty of building a solid grassroots base) approach.

      We have moved from the Liberal camp to non-aligned voters for the time being, essentially we will determine who we vote for by what the candidate stands for and their ability to best represent as close as possible the views that we hold.

      Don Davies is wrong about the direction the Federal Liberals have moved, the real problem is that they haven't moved anywhere at all. Between elections, they have been virtually invisible and that is the real connection with voters problem they have.

      Paul Javos

      Aug 26, 2010 at 9:44am

      Without the Dion factor and Emerson forgotten, I expect a strong showing from Yuan, a strong candidate that can resonate with the riding's immigrant and professional voters.


      Aug 26, 2010 at 1:33pm

      Vancouver Kingsway "belongs to the Liberals"?

      Does that make the citizens of Vancouver Kingsway her servants?

      She's going to focus on representing working-class people in the riding?

      No she's not.

      If she's elected she will focus on obeying without question or conscience the orders of her Federal Liberal master in Ottawa just like all of the other Liberal MPs did when Ignatieff ordered them to vote in favour of the HST.

      Liberal MPs Ujjal Dosanjh, Joyce Murray, Hedy Fry and Keith Martin criticized the HST when it was introduced but Dosanjh, Murray and Fry voted for it anyway on orders from the Liberal party brass.

      Martin didn't even have the guts to show up.

      Conservative MP Dona Cadman vowed to break ranks with her own government and vote against the HST, but she also skipped the vote.

      The Federal NDP was the only federal party with the integrity to represent their constituents and the guts to oppose the HST INCLUDING NDP MP Don Davies.

      Vancouver Kingsway belongs to the citizens lady.

      With an attitude like this, she may as well pack up her belongings and move back to Richmond.


      Aug 26, 2010 at 3:04pm

      I couldn't agree more with those who have been left shaking their heads by Yuan's comment that the riding "belongs to the Liberals". The line is a gift to her opponents, a textbook case of a party or candidate saying or doing something that gives new life to old charges about them.

      I will give Yuan marks from persistence, but not for acumen. There is nothing that has changed since 2008 which would make a Liberal win in Vancouver Kingsway any more likely today than it was then. If anything, overall conditions and probabilities have worsened, and the growth in the Kingsway Conservative vote from 2006 to 2008, paralleling the Tory growth in other Vancouver ridings like South and Quadra, will have progressed even further, a clear problem for any Liberal aspirant like Yuan, and a truly deadly menace for Dosanjh and Murray.

      Don Davies should be re-elected on his merits, regardless of party. And he's just come back from a round of French immersion!

      Rod Smelser

      Neil B

      Aug 26, 2010 at 3:12pm

      "Belongs to the liberals".

      Really? Well yes, your highness, forgive me. I was under the impression that we actually lived in a democracy, where parties come and go according to the voting patterns of the people your supposed to represent.

      If you want to get elected and stay elected....... shut up, do your job and represent your riding. That goes for the bunch of ya...

      Matt T

      Aug 26, 2010 at 3:14pm

      Emerson will never be forgotten in Kingsway. Not as long as the Liberals put up candidates like Wendy Yuan, whose opening statements in the next federal election echo the same sense of Liberal entitlement that banished them to the other side of the House in the first place.