Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Story of the Year: Begin and Evans and Rankin, oh my!

Two-thousand-and-eight was a busy year for politics in Burnaby, B.C., and Canada, and many arguments could be made for Burnaby's political story of the year. The strongest argument for story of the year is the meltdown of the political partnership of Lee Rankin, Gary Begin, and Garth Evans.

Other stories such as the third terms of Bill Siksay and Peter Julian, the computer system issue at City Hall, the carbon tax causing trouble for BC Liberal MLAs, and the complete sweep by the Burnaby Citizens in the municipal vote pale in comparison. The year long skirmish that destroyed TEAM Burnaby and its electoral fortunes was a sight to see.

In 2007 there were already divisions over Begin siding in some votes with the BCA. This was followed up by rumours of Rankin and Evans squaring off for the mayoral nomination. Evans and some TEAM supporters walked away, continuing rumours of an independent run for mayor. Then Begin left and Independent Voices was created so Begin, Evans, and Barb Spitz could share resources and campaign as a new party. School trustee Richard Lee did not seek re-election in Burnaby and Helen Chang chose to run as an independent.

In the meantime, rumours of Rankin running for mayor continued but began to fade as the writing on the wall appeared to support the re-election of Derek Corrigan. Eventually Rankin joined Evans and Begin in running for re-election as a member of council and TEAM put up a former independent candidate for mayor. TEAM's one accomplishment in this year of crushing defeat was the ethnic diversity of its candidates for council and school board.

When voting day arrived, Begin, Evans, and Rankin were defeated. The BCA swept the city council and the school district board. Perhaps this would have resulted anyway due to the strong campaign run by Corrigan and the civic left, but if the year long fight by former TEAM Burnaby councillors had not taken place things might have been different.

For that reason, the political feud that demolished a "team" was the biggest political story of the year in Burnaby.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


The Tyee made reference to a Burnaby name, Ronald Leung, for the Senate.

Leung ran second behind Bill Siksay for the Conservatives in October's election. Like most names being thrown about online and in print, he is likely a longshot as only three British Columbians will find their way to the upper house to join Senators Campbell, Jaffer and St. Germain in the B.C. delegation.

After last night, most British Columbians could be persuaded that Trevor Linden might not be a bad addition.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blast from the past

Rumours are circulating in Conservative circles that former four-term Reform/Alliance/Conservative MP Paul Forseth is interested in taking on Peter Julian for the Burnaby-New Westminster riding in the next federal election.

Forseth was defeated by a 3000-vote margin in the 2006 election in New Westminster-Coquitlam by Dawn Black, who made a successful return to Parliament after two previous losses to Forseth in 1993 and 1997.

Forseth did not run in October's election. Prior to public life Forseth was a probation officer.

Monday, December 01, 2008


It's not quite as shocking in French.