Monday, October 31, 2005

Lighting a SPARC

The Social Planning and Research Council (SPARC BC) has produced a package entitled "Municipalities Vote 2005." It includes materials to engage votes with regards to six specific issues: municipal social planning, The New Deal, The Community Charter, safer communities, affordable housing, and inclusion and accessibility. They are encouraging people to get candidates to debate these issues, perhaps even bringing them up at local debates.

The Out of Towners

Burnaby residents Ray Power and Ronald Leung are profiled in this past week's Vancouver Courier in an article about people who do not live in Vancouver who are running for office there. Power is running for mayor as an independent. Leung is running for council with the NPA.

Burnaby has two out of towners running for civic office. Mark Hilford of Coquitlam is running for council while Richard Lee of Vancouver is running for school board. Both are running under the TEAM Burnaby banner.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The first roman candle targets

Most candidates are cautious about putting their campaign signs up for the municipal election prior to Halloween. Andrew Chisholm does not appear to be one of those candidates. Since last night his signs - in red and white reading, "Chisholm for Change" - have sprouted up in a few locations around Burnaby.

This puts the onus on Parvin Chami and former council member Nancy Harris to get their names out there so that they do not have to suffer the indignity of a last place showing on election day (assuming that being a part of a slate guarantees you a higher vote count than all independent candidates).

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Civic Disengagement

Last night, on the other side of Boundary Road, Vancouver held more all-candidates' debates than Burnaby has scheduled for the entire municipal campaign. Three debates to elect 16 out of a group of nearly 40 is insufficient.

Burnaby community groups, including but not limited to Lions, Elks, and Rotary clubs, the Board of Trade, the Ratepayers' Associations, need to step up and show that they are the community leaders in the city. The District Parents' Advisory Council should be commended for being first out of the gates with their debate for School Trustees (even though their debate had to be postponned due to events beyond their control - it has been rescheduled for November 7 at Schou). The Heights Neighbourhood Association and the Burnaby Inter-Agency Council also deserve credit for organizing events in a city where little gets done on this front.

In the provincial election, this past May, only Burquitlam saw a decent number of all-candidates' debates and the vast majority of those took place in Coquitlam. In the federal election last year, Burnaby had few debates and all debates in Burnaby-New Westminster took place in the Royal City. Things were not better in previous municipal, provincial, or federal elections.

The civic organizations of Burnaby must do more to encourage civic engagement at all levels of government and now, even though it may be too late for November 19's vote, is the perfect time to commit to organizing a debate, a public forum, or a town hall meeting. Burnaby must not only demand great things from its political candidates but also from the community as a whole.

Tom Tao, one man band

Tom Tao, independent candidate for mayor of Burnaby, is blogging away. He is making a big issue that he is the oldest candidate, who also happens to have international experience. Tao even thanked The Vancouver Sun for leaving his picture out of last Saturday's feature on the Burnaby race (because Tao humbly admits he is "not good looking"). Tao was glad, however, that the paper made a point to emphasize how he could be somewhat competitive the Asian vote goes his way.

Also of interest is Tao's analysis of Burnaby-based Vancouver candidate Ronald Leung's situation. Tao says, half the Chinese community is opposed to gay marriage, which is the issue that got Leung in some hot water last week. Tao points out that opposition to gay marriage does not mean opposition to municipal funding for events such as the pride parade.

Tom Tao, who was a fringe candidate in the provincial election, is starting to look like he may be Burnaby's voice of reason in all elections, fringe candidate or not.

Burnaby's other Vancouver candidate

Not only is a Burnaby resident seeking the mayor's chair in Vancouver, but another Burnaby resident Ronald Leung is seeking a spot on Vancouver City Council. Leung is a journalist and public affairs commentator, most recently with Fairchild Radio. Leung, who has been among the more controversial municipal candidates in B.C. this election, is running primarilly on a public safety platform for the NPA.

TEAM Burnaby's Northeastern Twin

Municipal slate Coquitlam First's is strikingly similar to TEAM Burnaby's Both websites appear to be designed by

The supplementary website appears to be similar in concept to, which was used by a few MLAs and candidates from the BC Liberal Party during this past May's provincial election. That series of websites was designed by Rhino Marketing which does not appear to have any ties to

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A clean campaign?

The BCA has set up shop, as their website says, across from the Edmonds Fire Hall. What they did not note on their website is that they are right next to Tuesday's Drycleaning. When things get a little messy after some of their mudslinging, Derek Corrigan and company can quickly go get their clothes cleaned and be back on the campaign trail.

The defending champs are on their feet

Thanks to the poster in the comments, Burnaby Politics is aware of the BCA's website being updated for 2005. Looks like they wasted a lot of time putting this one together.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Burnaby's chances to pick the wheat from the chaff

Again based on the Now's reporting, there are four debates scheduled so far.

DPAC's school trustee debate at Schou on Monday has been cancelled, because of uncertainty about school being back in after the wildcat strike. As reported earlier, it will be rescheduled at a later date.

On November 1, the Burnaby Interagency Council has a marathon debate at Edmonds Community School. Starting at 5:00pm, school trustees will have at it. That will be followed at 6:30pm by council contenders. At 7:30pm, Derek Corrigan will take on challengers Tom Tao and TEAM Burnaby's Andrew Stewart.

November 8 (reported as November 9 in the paper) sees the Heights Neighbourhood Association host a debate at the odd time of 6:45pm at Gilmore Community School for partial slates of candidates as well as independent hopefuls.

On November 9, the granddaddy of all debates goes down at the Capitol Hill Community Hall as the Capitol Hill Community Association hosts a debate at 7:00pm. Given that it is at the top of the hill expect all verbal excrement from this debate to flow downhill.

Burnaby Now nails TEAM's coffin shut

This Saturday's Burnaby Now was an assault on TEAM Burnaby from front to back. From Derek Corrigan's "In My Opinion" piece to Dan Hilborn's "In the Backrooms" column, the paper steamrolled the opposition, and particularly mayoral candidate Andrew Stewart, throughout the issue.

Mayor Corrigan runs the gamut of issues where TEAM is weak in his opinion piece: his defamation at the hands of the last TEAM mayoral candidate, ignorance of RCMP hirings, lack of understanding of the city's budget, and defense of taxation by referencing the Canadian Taxpayers Federation!

Hilborn's political tidbits begin with a story on a TEAM member, but certainly not a team player, having a meltdown at a Royal Oak area public forum. Rumours have been circulating as to what exactly happened at the event. Speaking to several TEAM supporters who were not at the event, they are unsure as to what occurred but are concerned about their slate's chances on November 19. The worst part of the whole story for TEAM was that Stewart wound up having to apologize for the poor behaviour of one of his followers.

Headline grabber

Conservative Burnaby-New Westminster candidate Marc Dalton grabbed news again in this weekend's Burnaby Now in a story by Dave Dormer in a "special to the Burnaby Now." Dormer, a reporter with Now sister paper The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times, wrote an article on Dalton, a teacher-librarian at Pitt Meadows Elementary, acting with his conscience during the the illegal teachers' strike.

In the Pitt Meadows paper, the article's emphasis was on a teacher acting with his conscience and obeying the rule of the law. In Burnaby, the story's focus is on Dalton being the local Conservative candidate for MP (or Progressive Conservative candidate if you believe the factually incorrect article). The photo caption of Dalton in the Burnaby paper was also more confrontational. The Pitt Meadows caption which talked of Dalton being on the picket line if this were a legal strike. In the Burnaby paper the caption began with the question "Over the line?"

Perhaps the shift in the reporting of the story may be among the things that are over the line.

Dredging up that old issue

Burnaby Lake, thorn in the side of a generation of local politicians, is being made a campaign issue again. In the Burnaby NewsLeader article entitled "Burnaby Lake rejuvenation an election issue, again" the paper highlights TEAM Burnaby's position on the local issue that will not go away. TEAM opposes digging an eight-lane rowing course in the lake, which would give Burnaby one of Western North America's most scenic competitive rowing facilities. Current mayor Derek Corrigan is not ready to act until there is federal money to accompany the provincial cash.

Do not expect this issue to go away anytime before the 2008 municipal election.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Trustee debate postponed

The District Parents Advisory Council School Trustee All-Candidates Debate has been postponed. Today's Burnaby NewsLeader followed up on a story in yesterday's Burnaby Now that stated the event may have to be postponed if the teachers' strike continued, because the debate was to be held at the Schou Education Centre.

Expect the date to be rescheduled closer to November 19 if the strike is settled in the next few days.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party

The "Our View" editorial in today's Burnaby Now has laid out in clear view the paper's letters to the editor policy for the duration of the municipal election campaign. To prevent an endless war of words between two small camps of wordsmiths supporting TEAM and BCA, the paper will be keeping letters in check.

During the provincial election, the paper did not publicly state a policy but in the final issue prior to voting day ran an equal number of letters supporting the BC Liberals and the NDP. This policy should constrain some of Burnaby's more frequent column-inch wasters who will at best get published once rather than being published ever week in a war of words with one or two individuals from the other party.

Layton again

Federal NDP leader Jack Layton will likely make a pit stop in Burnaby during the last weekend of November. On Saturday, November 26, Layton will be in Vancouver for the BC wing of the party's fundraising dinner. Given that the NDP only has 19 MPs, Layton does a very good job of trying to visit each of their ridings whenever possible. Given that the orange clusters on the may from Vancouver East through to Burnaby-New Westminster, odds are that Layton will pay a visit to Bill Siskay and Peter Julian to shore up their chances of re-election next year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

BC General Strike 2005: Burnaby Edition

As unions across British Columbia stand in solidarity with the BCTF by staging walkouts across the province, beginning yesterday with the walkout in Victoria that led to a few thousand gathering in the rain on the lawn of the Legislature, the question of how this will impact Burnaby must be asked. The answer is that the job action (or wildcat general strike - depending on your point of view) will come to Burnaby this Friday.

Following up on "Solidarity Monday" will be a series of regional protests that will culminate in the Lower Mainland on Friday. Among workplaces subject to the action will be Simon Fraser University. The Teaching Support Staff Union, which employs teaching assistants, sessional instructors, and lab technicians, voted in favour of joining the extreme leftist opposition to the BC Liberal provincial government.

The union passed a motion that included the resolutions, "Be it resolved that the TSSU give its unqualified support to the BCTF in their struggle for a fairly negotiated collective agreement; and Be it further resolved that in solidarity with other campus unions, the TSSU participate in any wider protest actions up to and including withholding services with regards to the BCTF in their struggle for a fairly negotiated collective agreement." In notes attached to an e-mail accompanying the union's announcement encouraging people to rally in protest or picket with teachers at schools on Friday was the following line, "As this is a political protest, the decision to participate is an individual one and the TSSU will not take any disciplinary action against members who choose to come to work." At least that gives the economics and business instructors struggling with going against the conscience, and wallets, an option.

When will it launch?

TEAM Burnaby incumbent council candidate Lee Rankin's website has been registered for more than a year now but has yet to go up. Given the limited effort put into the general TEAM Burnaby website, one wonders what is taking Rankin so long.

In contrast, the Burnaby Citizens' Association has left their website unchanged since shortly after the last election. Then again, if they wait till after November 19, they can keep "VICTORY! Thank you Burnaby!" and just change the names to their new councilors and school trustees who replaced people such as Celeste Redman who was uncermoniously booted off the BCA ticket at the nomination meeting a couple months back.

It suits him

Mayoral candidate Tom Tao has a post on his blog entitled "Official Suit." Perhaps he will be wearing this during his campaign events when he gets back to the city where he is running for Mayor.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Missing man

One half of Burnaby's "Where's Waldo?" duo of Douglas Conservative candidate George Drazenovic and Burnaby-New West Liberal candidate Mary Pynenburg has returned to his old ways. After a cameo appearance at the TEAM Burnaby pep rally-dubbed-fundraiser Drazenovic has again dropped off the radar. Reports are that Drazenovic's campaign was absent from the Conservative Party's Election-Readiness Conference held this past weekend in Langley.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The candidates' list

The Burnaby mayoral, council, and school trustee candidates are up on the city's webpage. Three mayoral, 19 council, and 16 school trustee candidates will seek election on November 19.

Incumbent BCA mayor Derek Corrigan's only opponents are independent Tom Tao, who most recently ran in Willingdon provincially this year, and TEAM's Andrew Stewart of Donn Dean Collision.

Along with full slates from the BCA and TEAM are three independent candidates: past candidate Parvin Chami, former councilor Nancy Harris and Andrew Chisholm.

At school board level, both slates have a full roster. They are joined by independents, Rubin Price and Manjeet Sahota.

Things next door in Vancouver look more interesting with the Nude Garden Party, which is perhaps this year's Dance Party Party.

Banging the TomTom Drum

Tom Tao is the third contestant in the Burnaby mayoral race. His blog website should make this sleeper a bit more interesting.

Unless TEAM Burnaby's Andrew Stewart can make up a lot of ground, gadfly Tom Tao banging the independent mayoral drum is going to be the only thing of note the election campaign.

Tao's ethnic origins, as Burnaby's first Asian mayoral candidate in recent memory (if not ever), could prove to be an interesting factor in appealing to Burnaby's diverse population. He has a long way to go from his 2000 vote council campaign to being mayor, but Tao's bid for top job at City Hall could be the first step to electing a mayor of Chinese, Korean, Indian, or other Asian origin in 2008 or 2011.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Nuraney assistant and poor e-mail netiquette

Like many politicians, MLA John Nuraney sends out e-mail updates about his accomplishments in government and goings-on in Victoria. His latest bi-weekly update, sent October 12, featured a government call to the BCTF and "education partners" to the Learning Roundtable, an increase in rent assistance to seniors, and a new apprentice training funding.

Unfortunately, the e-mail sent by Patrick Ng, a staff assistant to the Burnaby-Willingdon MLA, included one other item. Usually the e-mails only have the constituency office's e-mail address in the recipient field. It was brought to Burnaby Politics' attention that the e-mail did not block the addresses of the recipients of the "John Nuraney E-Newsletter." Along with some interested constituents and the media, the e-mail was sent to many members of the Lower Mainland Ismaili community as well as to many Burnaby area right-leaning supporters of politicians such as Nuraney. There has not been too much backlash regarding the e-mail, but many of the recipients are unaware of their names being listed in the e-mail.

Burnaby candidates invade Vancouver

Yesterday's major political events in Vancouver for Stephen Harper in the AM and the NPA in the PM drew three of the Burnaby candidates into the downtown core.

Conservative candidates Marc Dalton and George Drazenovic were in attendance along with more than a dozen other MPs and candidates to hear Stephen Harper address a downtown breakfast crowd. Reports are that Dalton was introduced as a teacher-librarian, while Drazenovic biography note emphasized his role in a new business start-up.

At the NPA dinner, Mary Pynenburg was in attendance along with several hundred others including many developers. She probably has not spent so much time with people seeking building permits since her days back in New West city hall. Jacques Leger, Pynenburg's husband, was the NPA's returning officer at the association's September 24 Clark-Sullivan battle.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Ray Power for Mayor

Derek Corrigan and Andrew Stewart need not worry.

Former BVNPA mayoral candidate and PC MP candidate Ray Power is running for mayor of Vancouver. Power has filed papers to run for mayor. Power owns a flower shop on Victoria Drive. Power is a former RCMP officer.

His mayoral bio neglect his extensive previous experience as a candidate. Power ran against Svend Robinson in Burnaby-Douglas in 1997, finishing fourth, and ran for mayor in 1999, losing to Doug Drummond.

The NPA's Sam Sullivan and Vision Vancouver's Jim Green already have four opponents, including Power, seeking the Vancouver mayor's chair on November 19.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

SFU is red but it's not Liberal red

Simon Fraser University, which is undeservingly getting covered by Burnaby Politics twice in one month, is Liberal central this week. Earlier this week, Romeo Dallaire, the peacekeeper turned Liberal Senator, was at the university to receive an honourary degree. Next week, Ken Dryden, the Liberal cabinet minister and depending on your generation author of The Game or NHL superstar goalie, will be at the university to talk about "A Confident Canada."

Romeo Dallaire was granted his degree before he became a politician, as the university's policy is to not grant honourary degrees to politicians until their political days have come to an end. As a senator, Dallaire does not have to seek re-election so perhaps that is irrelevant, or it may be that he was going to receive the degree when he was still not a politician and it would be unfair to take it away.

As for Ken Dryden, his talk is sponsored by the university and the student society. Part of the annoucement sent out reads as follows:

Ken Dryden, Minister of Social Development for the Government of Canada will be will be speaking on "A Confident Canada", focusing on the importance of early education as a vehicle for self and social development. The occasion is one of a series of opportunities for Simon Fraser students and faculty as well as local citizens to engage the issues of the day with those both in government and opposition.

No word as of yet who the "opposition" are who will provide an opposing view to Dryden. Maybe it won't be a New Democrat or a Tory but rather a Detroit Red Wing or Boston Bruin as they too probably dislike Dryden from his days with the Habs.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bowled Over

Mayor Derek Corrigan nearly got tackled this evening. The Mayor, who is seeking re-election at the head of the BCA ticket, was on the sidelines at Swanguard Stadium late in the fourth quarter of the SFU-UBC Shrum Bowl football game when a late run down the sidelines went out of bounds right where Corrigan was standing. Corrigan and the small group of people with him quickly moved out of harm's way. SFU finished the drive by tying the game at 33-33 with two seconds remaining.

Mayor Corrigan was on hand for Burnaby's university's overtime defeat at the hands of the old school in Point Grey. Corrigan, along with SFU athletic staff, presented the Shrum Bowl to UBC for their victory in the 28th cross-town football rivalry game. Corrigan's role in the presentation ceremony did not win him many votes of SFU students. However many SFU students do not live in Burnaby. Those that do probably cannot be bothered to vote in municipal elections.

Dingwall Website

David (Worth a Mint) Dingwall is the subject of a new website, Stick It To Him. The website suggests people send gum to Ottawa so that it can be put into the severence fund for the former Mint boss.

Conservative and NDP activists have been sending it around their e-mail lists for the past 24 hours. Not too much discussion about this on Liberal e-mail lists.