NDP nominates Constance Barnes to challenge Liberal Hedy Fry in Vancouver Centre

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      Ever since Hedy Fry entered federal politics in 1993, she's soundly defeated all of her challengers in Vancouver Centre.

      Parliamentarian Kennedy Stewart, former MP Svend Robinson, academic Michael Byers, former MLA Lorne Mayencourt, city councillor Adriane Carr, and former city councillor Jennifer Clarke have all been crushed by Fry, the longest-serving Liberal MP in B.C. history.

      This weekend, New Democrats nominated their next challenger in Vancouver Centre: Constance Barnes. The election is expected to be called in October 2015.

      Barnes topped the polls when she ran as a Vision Vancouver park-board candidate in 2008 and 2011, each time capturing more than 62,000 votes in citywide contests. She didn't seek reelection in 2014.

      The most votes Fry ever received was 25,013 in 2006 against Robinson and five other candidates.

      Barnes works at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and has been a strong advocate for arts and culture during her six-year tenure on the park board. Her lowest point in politics came when she took a leave of absence from the board after being charged with impaired driving in 2009.

      She was the only Vision Vancouver commissioner who voted against a four-percent increase to many park fees and charges in 2010.

      “I have a real sensitivity to any kind of increases, and anything that’s going to cost families and single moms and dads and kids,” Barnes told the Straight at the time.

      At the last park board meeting, Barnes voted against NPA commissioners and two Vision colleagues, Aaron Jasper and Trevor Loke, on a motion to let the incoming NPA-controlled board decide the future of breeding whales and dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium.

      This year, Barnes was one of the board's strongest critics of allowing cetaceans to continue reproducing inside the tourist attraction at Stanley Park.

      Meanwhile, redistribution has changed the boundary of Vancouver Centre for the next election. It currently extends south to West 16th Avenue between Ontario and Arbutus streets and includes the downtown area.

      The new boundary only extends as far south as West 6th Avenue below Fairview Slopes, West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano, and East 2nd Avenue below Mount Pleasant. 



      Ronnie Lonnie Ding Dong

      Nov 30, 2014 at 6:42pm

      It'll be interesting to see if the Liberals roll out the low blow regarding the impaired driving charge. And, how will Hedy deploy her son who ran in the city contest -- is the young Fry planning to swim down his Mother's well-travelled stream sometime in the future, once he matures as a political actor?

      (Sorry, couldn't resist)

      Of course, that might set up the odd situation of Fry Jr. attempting to displace Barnes Jr. in a distant electoral contest, with Trudeau Jr. weighing in for Fry. Does anybody else get the imprssion that the electoral system is a bit of a family business?

      Fish fry

      Nov 30, 2014 at 7:44pm

      If anything Hedy and Emory will split the lady wing vote and the conservative candidate, if there is one, gets in.


      Dec 1, 2014 at 12:03am

      The article implies that Barnes was acclaimed as the NDP candidate in Vancouver Centre when in fact the nomination was contested. Perhaps the writer could set the record straight by acknowledging that important fact and reporting the results of said nomination meeting.

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      Martin Dunphy

      Dec 1, 2014 at 12:19am


      Thanks for the comment, but I am puzzled as to why you put forward that implication about acclamation when all that was written about the nomination process was the following: "This weekend, New Democrats nominated their next challenger in Vancouver Centre: Constance Barnes."

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      Charlie Smith

      Dec 1, 2014 at 8:52am

      I actually had the other candidate in an earlier draft. His name is Alisdair Smith and people can read more about him here: http://alisdairsmith.org/

      I pulled it out at the last minute because I wanted to contrast the vote totals of Fry and Barnes high up in the article.

      In retrospect, I should have mentioned him somewhere in the article. Thanks for your comment.

      Charlie Smith

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      Tommy Khang

      Dec 1, 2014 at 9:02am

      Man the NDP must be in pretty bad shape when they are drawing from the bottom of the barrel for an alternative for Hedy Fry. Nomination was Barnes to lose, because her competition was a joke but in all honesty she doesn't stand a chance against the Fry.

      I can't wait for her to campaign on freeing the whales on the federal level! It will give me an opportunity to lampoon her even more.

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      strange numbers

      Dec 1, 2014 at 9:40am

      Strange you contrast Barnes City-wide numbers from an at large system, with Fry's Van Centre constituency numbers. There are a lot more voters in the City of Vancouver as a whole than there are in Vancouver Centre of course. What would be more telling would be the precentage of votes Barnes got running for Park Board and Fry got running for MP.

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      Arthur Vandelay

      Dec 1, 2014 at 9:50am

      This nomination is merely a CV builder for Constance in order to secure a nomination in a more favorable riding in the subsequent election, as those named in this piece have done. I don't think:
      A. Anyone, including Constance, expects to topple the giant, Fry, and
      B. Constance will be quitting her day job.

      Fun fact: Libby Davies will be 66 years old at the time of the subsequent (2019) federal election.

      Margaret Shalom

      Dec 1, 2014 at 9:53am

      Barnes is one of Vancouver's most well known personalities and she is certainly around way more than Ms. Fry. From personal experience, I know there is fatigue with Fry, but perhaps Trudeau-Mania will be Constance's biggest foe. It depends, is Vancouver Centre ready for a better drag queen than Hedy? If not this time, once Hedy retires, (perhaps mid-term?), I'd say Constance has a great shot, because she is so loved in those neighbourhoods.... I'm intrigued by this race and applaud Barnes.

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      Dec 1, 2014 at 10:28am

      Hedy Fry and Libby Davies are both progressive politicians for their respective parties. I wish the two parties would leave those two ridings uncontested in favor of the current incumbents and similarly cooperate in other ridings throughout the country in order to defeat Harper.

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