Meet New Westminster federal election candidates April 20 at La Rustica

Rather than set up a typical all-candidates meeting full of speechifying and, well, politicking, Tenth to the Fraser, N.E.X.T. New West (a networking & social club for young professionals in the city) and New Westminster Environmental Partners have teamed up to organize a special non-partisan Green Drinks - Election Edition meet & greet with candidates. The event will be held on Wednesday, April 20 from 6-9pm at La Rustica, 228 6th Street. All residents are welcome to join us.

Confrontational politics leaves a bitter taste. I can’t fault people for wanting to tune out the rhetoric and take their vote out of play out of distaste for all the ideological chest-thumping from both right and left. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Rather than set up a typical all-candidates meeting full of speechifying and, well, politicking, Tenth to the Fraser, N.E.X.T. New West (a networking & social club for young professionals in the city) and New Westminster Environmental Partners have teamed up to organize a special non-partisan Green Drinks – Election Edition meet & greet with candidates. The event will be held on Wednesday, April 20 from 6-9pm at La Rustica, 228 6th Street. All residents are welcome to join us.

There will be no formal debate or confrontational politics at the event, just a chance to bend the candidates’ ears on the questions that matter to you, plus an opportunity to meet & mingle with some friendly local folks.

Green Drinks is a monthly networking event for sustainability minded citizens to socialize and discuss issues from green buildings, sustainable energy, organic gardening, and everything in between.  Originally started in the UK in 1989 the New Westminster chapter of Green Drinks has been occurring monthly for over three years.

So far four of the eight candidates have confirmed they will attend the April 20 ‘Election Edition’ of Green Drinks, including Conservative candidate Paul Forseth, NDP candidates Fin Donnelly and Peter Julian and Green candidate Carrie McLaren. We hope to hear soon from the remaining candidates whether they are able to join in the fun. Update: Conservative Diana Dilworth and Green Rebecca Helps have also confirmed they will attend.

We want to see voters of all political stripes come to the event – even if you who don’t yet know how (or if) you’ll vote.

Hope to see you there!


Briana Tomkinson

Briana Tomkinson is a Montreal-based writer and original founder of Tenth to the Fraser. She really likes to write letters by hand.

Briana Tomkinson is a really valued member of the Tenth to the Fraser community. Interested in joining our pool of writers? Please see these submission guidelines.


    1. If this is really about a "meet and greet" to know the candidates, why was it at La Rustica ? I never been there, and after checking out the web link with it's 20 dollar entries, it makes me think…

      How bout McDonalds N.E.X.Time ?

      That way I could have a mac attack for under 10 bucks.
      But that would mean the politico's would be mingling with real people, who seldom vote….
      Yikes !

  1. Ok. I have to giggle a bit about the premise of the event. In the midst of an election campaign, where All Candidates meetings are held to express positions on various issues, as well as answer for or in Paul's case "excuse" for party policies and actions, there's not going to be any "politicking" at an event with 4 politicians in the room?? I give full marks to Forseth for agreeing to show up. My question is, where's Diana Dilworth? And more to the point where's Iggy's reps? Duck and hide, though in the case of the rep for Burnaby New West, I have to ask myself… WHO? Should be interesting though.

    1. I don't blame you for giggling! It is an unusual way to run this sort of event. There will certainly be talk of politics and the politicos there will do their best to convince you they're worthy of your vote, but we are hoping that 'politicking' will take a backseat to dialogue. By stripping away a typical structure that encourages public posturing and recitations from party platform documents, we hope that people will be able to see the candidates in a different light and hopefully feel like they see the candidates as real people, not just talking heads.

      Oh, and Dilworth has now replied that she will attend. I will update the post with the new info. Unfortunately, we still haven't heard from the two Liberal candidates, but I'm still hoping they'll make it out. It would be great to have representation from all parties.
      My recent post Meet New Westminster federal election candidates April 20 at La Rustica

  2. I wouldn't expect the Liberals to show up. Ken Beck Lee at least has some cache being the 3rd place finisher to Fin. But Garth Evans. Check his facebook site out and you'll see pics from when he was a city councillor in Burnaby, 3 years ago. My thoughts on this event are a little on the cynical side. There will be a tonne of posturing as even if the event isn't so called "partisan political"… the people attending definitely are, both candidates and supporters. In terms of all candidates meetings and the comments on them, for one, I don't consider either Forseth, Julian, Donnelly, or Dilworth to be simply "talking heads." We've had extremely strong representation in New West from both Fin and Peter, and though I don't agree or support either Diana or Paul, they both have records of public service to run on. The talking heads are the media and the commentators who talk up or down about the election race. At the end of the day, you may not agree with either or any of the candidates but you have to respect their decision to run for, particularly in BC, one of the toughest, gruelling elected positions in Canada. I know a bit of the schedule an MP from BC keeps having a couple friends who happen to be MPs. No matter the party, to do the job effectively and efficiently is a grind and speaks highly to the people doing it. Everyone has records to run on in this campaign. And I believe that Forseth and Dilworth should be held to account on their party's blind support of the HST, for one example, not too mention the disgusting treatment of our injured Canadian Soldiers in terms of compensation for their long term and or permanent injuries in battle. As I'm sure that people will want to call Peter and Fin out on their positions on issues etc. I think that the sparks will fly that night. I also think that this group would have been better sponsoring an effectively moderated all candidates meeting rather than a wing and a prayer "meet the candidates muzzled" event.

  3. Thanks for your opinions, we are going to do everything we can to keep the room respectful and civilized. I think part of the magic is mixing NWEP people (who focus on the environment and mostly lean pretty left) with NEXT people (young entrepreneurs and business folks, who likely lead slightly right), and bringing them into the same room. I am sure there will be “politicking” and spirited discussion, but there will not be loud debates (we have a strategy to manage that!). I’m sure each candidate will show up with a small support group, and I don’t think anyone will be singled out.

    If the all-candidate debate thing is more your style, the Tri-Cities Chamber have an event on the 19th on North Road, and the Burquitlam Residents Assoc. has one the 21st. NWEP and NEXT thought the field was a little crowded for that type of event.

    Again, the emphasis is to get to meet candidates, and relate to them as real people. Doing my research, and being kind of a one-issue voter, I was amazed about the “Environmental Cred” of many of the candidates: Ken Lee is an environmental engineer, Diana Dilworth works for the Fraser Basin Trust, Garth Evens is a director of West Coast Environment Law… I for one will have lots to talk to many of the candidates about, without being a jerk. And I hope none of them will be "muzzled".

    1. "the emphasis is to get to meet candidates, and relate to them as real people." – not possible, everyone knows politicians are made of malleable non-recyclable plastic, much like GUMBY.

      "Ken Lee is an environmental engineer" – Ok, scratched him from my list as a known "Professional" associate

      "Diana Dilworth works for the Fraser Basin Trust" – Nixed her, the FBC has a unsustainable vision and mandate.

      "Garth Evens is a director of West Coast Environment Law" – Expunged for being legally ineffectual.

      That narrows down the field, well, no point in me coming down now, Thanks for the help Pat, you reduce my election carbon footprint.

      CHEERS !

      1. No problem, Rick. Our goal was to create a positive environment for civil conversation and a sharing of ideas. Your running away (once again) from one of my invitations will move us one more step towards that goal.

        1. The politicians are running, I'm walkin away.
          But excellent zinger. I give you 9 on that one.

          I'll even click the thumbs up.

  4. Maybe the informal format will encourage different people to come out and get to know their candidates. I expect all-candidates meeting formats don't work for everyone, and I can't remember the last time a candidate actually came to my door.

  5. Ok. Time for the post game comments in regards to the event. I have my political biases as anyone can guess, but can keep an open mind when sizing up people. The Conservative candidates could not have been totally different if they tried. While Diana kept her comments to the positive, Paul Forseth played boogeyman politics. Especially about the "coalition of separatists and socialists." It reminded me of Dana Carvey playing George H.W. Bush on Saturday night live. What else it reminded me of, and why I started heckling him about his comments (aaahem… bovinemanure aaahem) is that Paul was in the House of Commons back in 2004 when Harper pitched a coalition with the NDP and the Bloc. His ongoing memory problems and selective amnesia (not too mention an inability to stay awake at times when in Parliament) are an indictment of someone who on the face of things, enjoys better credentials that Senator Yonah "Money Bags" Martin, in terms of who should have got a senate seat. But when you're desparate, and Paul is quite desparate, you're not going to be all warm and fuzzy. You're going to hit hard, hit low and hit often. So what if the truth contradicts your own words, you're going to do it anyways. It says so right on page 17 of the Paul Forseth guide to campaigning.

    I found Carrie to be pleasant, and Rebecca Helps, needing help, alot of it. She was also quite negative about a great many things, while Carrie kept it light. Sorry but when your party only garners 4 percent support, playing the pity game because Liz can't get elected doesn't carry much weight. The Liberal, Ken Beck Lee, provided some comic relief for the evening. First of all invoking the name of that tremendous former MLA for New West and environmental stalward, Joyce Murray, she of reinstating the grizzly bear hunt and sitting on her hands while the Campbell Fiberals completely gutted the environment ministry, at which time she was the minister of. Then not having an answer to Iggy's record of propping up the Harper government over 100 times by no showing votes, or making sure that enough Liberals missed a confidence vote that the government wouldn't fall. I liked it when he came up to me and said, "Did you like my answer?" To which I responded, "No. You're a Liberal, you'll do what your told to do by Iggy." But as I said mentioning Joyce Murray's name right away killed the room.

    That brings me to the incumbants in Burnaby New West and New West Coquitlam. I thought Peter did a good job in being brief, to the point and absolutely putting to rest that no one in the NDP knows how to run a business or an organization. And when it comes to environmental credibility, Fin Donnelly has it. Both were well spoken and seem to work the room pretty good. One brief point. And this one is directed to the guy operating like a heckle cop. When someone has on their name tag, Chicanery, really what did you expect? And when Forseth started on his misleading rant about what the NDP stands for, nothing would shut me up. Heckling is just a fact of life for someone seeking office. It actually shows whether or not they can think on their feet, are easily rattled, can take criticism etc. Having that many political types around (Hi James Crosty), you can try to control the amount of heckling that goes on. And I would wish you luck in doing so. Some people (aka… me) you shouldn't even try to get to shut up. Better people have tried and failed. Overall the night was interesting, though I am not sure anyone attending actually heard anything different, or anyone straying from party platforms. Come on, its an election campaign, not a spaghetti social. Outside the box ideas are interesting, but I think that a traditional all candidates meeting would have been more useful and effective, especially for New West.

  6. Ohh btw, one other reason I'm not that quiet… I'm a truck driver. And I'm not one of Matthew Laird's fans, and I suppose by extension NWEP. Not because I'm a truck driver, because frankly well I don't like his politics, the way he conducts himself, either in a campaign or in his op eds etc. We agree to disagree. I wish that the NWCofC put on an all candidates meeting but oh well.

Comments are closed.

Tenth to the Fraser