Candidates' names are being thrown around like darts in the Liberal race for Burnaby-New Westminster
. So far three names out in public are all former BC Liberal
The first and most widely speculated name being thrown about is that of former Burnaby-Edmonds one-term MLA - and minister very briefly - Patty Sahota. Sahota represented the area so this could be why she is the most highly touted of the ex-provincial politicos for the riding. Given the strength of the NDP, Sahota might be better off trying to resume her electoral career on city council in 2008.
Second is ex-Vancouver city councillor Daniel Lee, who is best remembered for clutching defeat from the jaws of victory in 2001 when he was giving mixed messages in English and Chinese media. Lee could be a potential contender until a brave Conservative or Green candidate blames Lee for returning Joy MacPhail to the legislature in 2001, which could turn many right of centre Liberal voters off this candidate.
The best candidate rumour is that of former minister Joyce Murray. Murray ran in 2006 as the Liberals' stopgap candidate in neighbouring New Westminster-Coquitlam. The personal blame she received for St. Mary's Hospital closing was probably the main reason this otherwise highly qualified candidate was treated as damaged goods. Given the hospital site was in the other New Westminster riding, Murray may fare better in the predominantly Burnaby riding. Unfortunately for Murray Peter Julian's 2004 campaign was spent attacking the BC Liberal linked Liberal and Conservative candidates for St. Mary's and Julian won a fairly close three way race. Now that he is headed for his third election in the riding the scrappy Julian could bring back the St. Mary's issue for an encore tour against the former New Westminster MLA.
Sahota, Lee, and Murray make for interesting choices but except for Sahota's years in Burnaby, there appears to be little connection to Burnaby. Adding fuel to the fire, maybe the Liberals should consider pursuing a Burnaby councillor - two of the three non-NDP leaning councillors have taken runs at senior levels of government, maybe it is time for first-term councillor and regular letter to the editor contributor Garth Evans to shoot for the stars or at least the federal seat.
After two elections in a row without one of the three top vote getting candidates being from Burnaby maybe it is time for the members of the Liberals or the Conservatives to put up a candidate who will look out for Burnaby... first.