Video: Meet your New Westminster candidates

The all-candidates event co-hosted by New Westminster Environmental Partners, NEXT New West and Tenth to the Fraser went swimmingly tonight, with seven out of the eight candidates representing the Conservatives, NDP, Liberals and Greens showing up to mix and mingle with local voters.

Note: this is yet another post about politics & elections in New West. I know many of you don’t much like this sort of thing, and there’s been a bit of a run on this topic of late. Please bear with us – we will return to our regular programming shortly! Voting day is Monday, May 2, and then we have a bit of a break before the real ‘silly season’ begins before the municipal elections this November …

The all-candidates event co-hosted by New Westminster Environmental Partners, NEXT New West and Tenth to the Fraser went swimmingly tonight, with seven out of the eight candidates representing the Conservatives, NDP, Liberals and Greens showing up to mix and mingle with local voters.

As promised, ‘speechifying’ was kept to a minimum. Although each candidate did get a few minutes to introduce themselves, the tone seemed less scripted than what you typically find at an all-candidates’ event. The real fun was in the social, not just shaking hands with the candidates or bending their ears on a topic of personal concern, but meeting other local people who are motivated to engage in civic life. The people in attendance were quite a diverse crowd, with supporters from all camps as well as some who hadn’t yet made up their minds who to vote for. There were citizens of all ages, from twentysomethings to retirees. The room was buzzing with great conversation. For the most part, people were respectful of others with different political beliefs. It was refreshing to see.

For those of you who may have wished to attend the event, or who were curious about what the candidates said in their soapbox riffs, I have embedded some video I took with my iPhone at the event. I apologize for the poor lighting, but at least the audio should be clear enough to hear what they had to say.

Rebecca Helps, Green Party Candidate for New Westminster-Coquitlam

Fin Donnelly, NDP Candidate for New Westminster-Coquitlam

Paul Forseth, Conservative Candidate for Burnaby-New Westminster

Carrie McLaren, Green Party Candidate for Burnaby-New West

Ken Beck Lee, Liberal Candidate for New Westminster-Coquitlam

Diana Dilworth, Conservative Candidate for New Westminster-Coquitlam

Peter Julian, NDP candidate for Burnaby-New Westminster

I’d like to say a big thank-you to all the candidates who came out. It was great to have representatives attend from the four most popular parties.

I also announced at the event that I’d like to host a ‘Vote Party,’ in which we go out after the polls close and raise a glass together to watch the election results roll in. I’m taking suggestions for venues now if you’d like to weigh in with your opinion. Suggestions so far have included the Westminster Club, Drink Lounge, and The Terminal Pub. Let me know your preferences/suggestions in the comments, and watch for an upcoming post with the details once I pick a venue!

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.

31 comments

  1. Excellent, further green reductions in my sustainable election carbon footprint !

    I like the GUMBY factor in this, "Rather than set up a typical all-candidates meeting full of speechifying" , we receive a "typical all-candidates meeting full of speechifying".

    It seems politicians aren't the only malleable people when it comes to promises of what will be…

  2. And just a note for the curious on the seemingly random order of the 2 minute soap box pitches (they weren’t meant to be speeches and took only a minute fraction of the evening), the candidates were given a chance to talk in order of arrival.

    1. From my viewing pleasure, it was the inexperienced public speakers who utilized their 2 minutes, the vets handily used their 5 minutes to lubricate the crowds ears…

  3. Thanks for mentioning that Matt – I posted this late last night and I'm afraid I might not have been clear about some things.

    Which brings me to Rick: maybe I wasn't clear, but the event was three hours long and the politicians were given no more than five minutes each to introduce themselves to the crowd. Perhaps seeing the blogged version is misleading as to the character of the event, because it emphasizes the soap box pitches, which were a very small part of the event. I didn't think three hours of conversational din in a dark room would translate very well to web video 🙂

    You also had a question about La Rustica as a venue in the post announcing the event. Specifically, you seemed concerned that the prices there would prevent low-income people from attending the event. The event was by donation and people were not required to buy food or drinks. La Rustica offered a drink special at $5.50 a glass, and the organizers bought appys to circulate through the crowd. It was an accessible event regardless of income. Some people chose to have dinner at the restaurant but most those who wanted to could pay nothing at all and still get a free bite.
    My recent post Video- Meet your New Westminster candidates

    1. Thanks, I didn't read that in the original posting, if only I had known about the free nibbles…..

      How well was the event attended ?
      I could only catch a glimpse of the crowd in the Ken B. Lee video….

      1. 30 odd people, and odd in more ways than one. Some guy showed up with the topic "chicanery" on his name tag.

  4. I didn't get a chance to come out last night, but that Vote Party sounds like a fun idea. I'd recommend the Drink for it. Would love a chance to hang out with some of the Next New Westers.

  5. The opportunity to meet and talk to each candidate one on one was unique. Usually at all candidates meetings you seldom get to do this. The name tag idea was a good one. Congrats and thanks to all who organized it! I posted an interesting video on facebook and twitter but here is the link for TTTF followers. http://www.ted.com/talks/dave_meslin_the_antidote
    Another idea/way to approach the community and engage the public.

    1. Just to clarify for the non-attendees, we used an old Green Drinks trick to encourage mingling and provide conversation starters for the more bashful: We asked everyone to wear a nametag with their first name and a single word that described their most important issue this election. Just one word.

      1. The last time I attended the Green Drinks must have been a long time ago, as there weren't any name tags. I guess it's been a few years…

  6. What an amazing event, it was great to have one on one time with each candidate and be able to ask my own question. This experience has given me a different perspective of each candidate and what they represent. Thank you.

  7. Back Room at the Heritage has lots of screens and a good layout for a vote party – if it isn't already booked. Bonus is that it is "all ages".

    1. I guess we don't know yet if May 2 is going to be a hockey night? Otherwise yes, The Backroom has a large number of screens, which is nice. It's also 2 days before the usual Green Drinks there, perhaps we could yet again shift it, to May 2nd; Green Drinks – Election Edition 2: Revenge of the Ballot Box.

      1. I didn't think the Heritage Grill had cable TV connected to those screens, so I hadn't considered them. I'd be happy to make it a joint TF-Green Drinks event, and maybe I can convince NEXT to join in again too!

  8. The meeting yesterday was a success. Lets do it again soon, unless we have a majority government, in which case it will be much longer..

  9. Great Event Brianna and Patrick.! Only thing missing was a ring for Dave Lundy and Ken Beck Lee to duke it out. 🙂
    As for the "Vote Party" I think Drinks is a quaint spot for a few NEXTies and the Heritage Grill for the Green's, My choice is the Terminal as it is conducive to this event. Lots of screens. The liberals could have the section by the main doors, in front of the fireplace so we can turn up the heat, and they can make a run for it., The NDP could have the upper mezz So they can look down at the others. Tthe greens could have the booth nearest the ladies washroom and the Conservatives could have the MAJORITY balance of the space.. I think this layout is perfect as it gives the winning party a Central Conservative position easily accessable to be congratulated……. or partake in extreme fighting..

    1. Good idea John… but do you think we could convince the Conservatives to move towards the centre? ____

    2. I have to laugh at Ken Beck Lee. Mentioning Joyce Murray instantly killed what little credibility the Liberals have in the New West ridings. And his answer to my straight forward question was, well, he's a Liberal. He'll do whatever Iggy tells him to. The one odd candidate I couldn't get a grip on was Rebecca "Needs a lot of…" Helps. Couldn't figure out what bugged me about her. Until I saw an interview from Open File Vancouver.ca with her. Keeping in mind she's running for election, and given her stark negativity during her remarks on the soap box, I couldn't pin down why I didn't like her… until I saw this 10 question interview from Open File Vancouver.ca:

      Rebecca Helps, Green

      Do you do any volunteer work? If so, what?

      Currently I do not do any volunteer work as I am currently working 60-70 hours a week.

      What is something people don’t know about you?

      There is a lot people don’t know about me.

      What’s the last thing you watched on YouTube?

      The last thing I watched was Jane Sterk’s interview with Donna Morton.

      Name one piece of legislation you would like to change and how?

      I would change the Elections Act to bring in proportional representation. I believe that before we can effectively address and solve any of the numerous problems we face in our society, we first need an effective democratic system. First, I think we need a referendum to ask if people are happy with the current electoral system. If 50 percent plus one say no they are not, then a series of public constulations are held to discuss options and educate the voters. Then a second referendum is held where voters choose between two electoral systems using a first past the post ballot or if there are more then two choices then use a weighted preferential ballot. The resulting choice with 50 percent plus one is implemented as our new electoral system.

      What is the craziest moment you’ve experienced on the campaign trail?

      Unfortunately do to work commitments I have not been able to campaign during this election.

      Describe Canada in one word.

      Broken.

      Have you ever run/worked for another political party?

      I have run for the Green Party of B.C. in May 2009 in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam. I currently work for the Green Party of B.C. as the executive director. I have worked for the GPBC since April 2010.

      How do you find out about what’s happening in your community?

      I read the local newspapers.

      How do you get to work?

      I currently live and work in Victoria and I bike to work.

      Where do you like to eat in your riding?

      I like the Chinese restaurant in Como Lake Village and I like Paros Taverna in BurCoquitlam plaza.

      The answer that blew me away was to the question: "What is the craziest moment you’ve experienced on the campaign trail?"

      Her Answer: "Unfortunately do to work commitments I have not been able to campaign during this election."

      Her work: "I currently work for the Green Party of B.C. as the executive director. I have worked for the GPBC since April 2010."

      A total wasted vote if you vote Green in New West Coquitlam. The candidate can't be bothered to be bothered. So why bother running if you're not going to put anything into running? Wow. How arrogant. Carrie (the other greenie) on the other hand was very personable, affable and had some charm to her. But like I said, until I saw that interview, I couldn't quite put a finger on what irked me about Ms. Helps.

    3. With regards to the meeting itself… yeah it was mildly interesting. I was so surprised when someone tried to stop me from heckling Forseth when he went on his Boogeyman rant about coalitions. I've written 2 letters to the editor in response to his rantings, both published. But in it, I made an error in both of them. Relax John, its nothing that's works in his favour at all. If anything it works against his selective memory of coalitions and how they work.

      I forgot that Paul was a sitting member of parliament when Harper pitched the idea of forming a coalition govt with Jack and Gilles. In short, he was part of the Conservative caucus and would have known that Steve was pitching the idea to Adrienne Clarkson. Now perhaps Paul was engaged in some deep thoughts (aka snoozing) when this was being discussed. Or perhaps the Conservatives waited until he had left the room (sound familiar, somewhat like how he lost out to Yonah Martin for the Conservative nomination in New West Coquitlam) before discussing this. Either way, he seems to be inflicted with selective memory recollection… or more to the point, infected with Bovine Manure.

      And when someone shows up to a meeting and their primary issue on their name tag is chicanery… I'm shocked that people would think that I would sit back and let Forseth have a free run at misleading everyone in that room with his Dana Carvey (George Bush on Saturday Night Live) impressions. But I will say this. What a difference in attitude between Paul and Diana. Paul's all negative, because he's so far down and out of it, he's desparate and when desparate go low. Diana was upbeat, positive, and had lots of people wondering, "Why is she running for the Conservatives. She's more federal Liberal than Conservative." In either riding its an uphill battle to unseat the incumbants. Namely because of the work that they do within their own communities. Sorry John… no Conservative victory party in either riding on Monday night. And with the surge in the polls nationwide, who knows. It could be Jack holding the balance of power in 2nd place. Or even running the show.

      1. It was nice to meet you at the event Dave, and good to hear your take on the event as well. Your comments about the difference between the Conservative candidates are right on. I really appreciate you coming out to join us, experimental format and all!

  10. My only problem with the meeting was that the NDP Gazette (aka The Royal City Record) published a huge headline, before the meeting, "Environmentalists Support NDP Candidates," making it look like the whole event was rigged. What is the point of "environmentalists" organizing a meeting of candidates when they have already made up their minds on who they are voting for?

    The sentiment behind the "mingle meeting" was great, don't get me wrong. But the local press needs to take a less partial stand during and election. Trumpeting an "endorsement" from friends of the NDP hardly warrants a screaming headline. Making matters worse, the coverage after the event used most of the front page to rehash the old "endorsement" news yet again, as if they'd won a Nobel Prize, relegating the other parties to zero profile on the "whatever" page.

    Great idea, but too bad the local press made it look like a cozy set-up for the NDP to take credit I personally do not think they deserve.

    My recent post Avatarred and Feathered- Mining Gets Titanic Smear Job

    1. I think some liberal and Green candidates in other ridings also recieved endorsements. In New West, they just happened to be both NDP.

      I don't think the papers had fully absorbed the fact that the event was taking place until after it had happened. The announcement was just kismet.

      1. Actually Ken Beck Lee's best New West friend, Joyce "Grizzly Bear Hunting is good for the soul" Murray received one of those endorsements. Amazing how someone can duck and hide from their record as environment minister in BC and actually get greenies to endorse her. Whoever does their research into what candidates have done for the environment must have been "Forsething" on that one. And David… maybe you should consider setting up some foundation that values the environment, seals, salmon, birds, whatever. Make it in line with the Fraser Institute then you can go around awarding endorsements on the environment to whoever you want. That's what people like Suzuki do. Personally, environmental endorsements don't really mean anything to me. Its about the people running themselves. And in that case, New West is very well represented by both Peter and Fin. That's a partisan point of view I know, but they are both also very personable, affable people. Both don't go around trying to make you want to hide in a 1950s era bomb shelter like Forseth does.

        1. I think ALL the candidates are "very personable, affable people," including Forseth. Paul actually has a hilarious sense of humor. I have a lot of respect for anyone running for office. It's wrong to attack people on a personal level. When it comes to their positions and actions, on the other hand, they deserve and expect to be held accountable. Unfortunately, the NDP seems to get a free ride from the media in this town, which is sad. The NDP has some truly horrible policies. They do NOT deserve to be lauded by our papers on the environment, for sure.

          For a reality check on environmentalism, check this out:
          http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/Confessions+G
          My recent post Avatarred and Feathered- Mining Gets Titanic Smear Job

      2. Sorry Will, I must respectfully disagree. The timing of the NDP friendly headline was hardly coincidental. The RCR is so biased its like the NDP has a power play for the whole game. The "endorsements" handed out to the Dippers were pure propaganda. Morton's junk-science crusade against fish farming, for example, is laughable (http://www.greenspiritstrategies.com/D237.cfm), but that doesn't stop opportunists like the Fin'ster claiming he's saved wild salmon. What a joke. Hype artists like Fin want to take credit for 2010's huge salmon runs in spite of the fact that his camp was predicting the exact opposite. Fin and his friends were so wrong about salmon its astounding. But hey, he's got the gullible media stumping for him, so the facts don't really matter, it seems.
        My recent post Avatarred and Feathered- Mining Gets Titanic Smear Job

        1. Well Dave, I hope you enjoy the Saturday edition of the Record and the letters to the editor that more likely than not will be printed. I could talk about Paul Forseth and his boogeyman politics, but why bother. You're doing a great job both in your letter to the editor and your posts on here, showing why the Conservatives don't deserve a majority government and also why the NDP polling numbers are holding at historic highs throughout Canada. And for you to continue to harp on the RCR after they printed your letter to the editor, is ridiculous. Why? Well reading your "Nauseating political propaganda" hype job for the Cons, if they were as biased as you claim, they wouldn't have bothered printing that drivel in the paper. But they did. So to me, that shows that they are trying to offer balanced coverage. I heard that at 2 all candidates meeting at 2 high schools on Thursday (Byrne Creek and New West) Paul managed to further damage the political brand of the Conservatives for generations to come, by ranting on about his coalition nonsense to high school kids who some day will be voting. As they say David, if you are so far behind in the polls that the only light you see is a freight train coming the other way… go negative. And from Day 1, you and Paul have been just that, flat out negative, misleading, fear mongering and the like. But that's ok. Come Monday, I believe that both Fin and Peter will pull through, once again leaving the Harper Neo Cons in the dust in New West. But I have a question for you David. A serious one. What's your view on the fact that Yonah Martin, an unelected, appointed political hack (aka Senator Money Bags Martin) is out stumping for Paul and Diane, on the taxpayers dime. The old Paul Forseth and Stephen Harper would have been absolutely apopletic over this waste of tax payers dollars on someone appointed to the Senate because she lost to Dawn Black. Come to think of it, how come Paul never got that appointment? He has that in common with Yonah, getting beat by Dawn Black. That's ok David. The muni's are coming up. That's your next chance to be all down and dirty, sarcastic, cynical and smarmy. And I'll be right there, countering you. Enjoy.

          1. Wow, just more proof on how wrong David Brett was about the Royal City Record. I sent in a letter Thursday night countering his blustering nonsense and being as partisan for the NDP as he was for the Conservatives. And they never even printed it. Instead they reprint 2 letters from Mauser and Tupper from the Province newspaper a couple days earlier. But then again, they themselves countered Brett's drivel with their editorial cartoon. Now that was funny. Predictions for Monday. Peter in a walk (larger margin of victory than in 2008) and Fin in a close one. And Paul, well unless he's looking to run municipally, looks like he's done. Diana can at least go back to city council in Port Moody. And though she's a Conservative (at least fiscally) at some point could become dangerous should she wake up to the political realities in the lower mainland, and become a Liberal, because that's what she truly is. And one other character to talk about, Rebecca Helps. After Monday night, she can go back to Victoria, and brood and cry about how "Canada is Broken" and how despite all the HELPS in the world in Saanich and the Gulf Islands, Elizabeth May, STILL couldn't get elected. And I also hope that the people in New West Coquitlam and Port Moody remember the woman who was too busy working to get Elizabeth May elected (or try to) to bother being a candidate for the Greens in the riding. If the Greens get one vote based on this candidate……… I really have to question the sanity of Green Party voters in the riding.

    2. Just for clarity: the “environmentalists” organizing this meeting (the NWEP) are not the ones handing our endorsements to candidates. The NWEP is non partisan, and doesn’t endorse anyone. We have members who vote for (and work with) various parties for various reasons. Also, the “meet and greet” was also sponsored by NEXT New West, a group of business and community leaders who represent most, if not all, of the political spectrum, and Tenth to the Fraser, who I suspect don’t all vote the same way. Further, 7 of the 8 candidates showed up and spent several hours in the room: it was anything but an NDP love fest (although the single heckler seemed to lean that way…)

      I also think it was unfortunate that the RCR sort of buried our announcement next to the “environmental endorsements”, and it was easy to confuse the two stories. But really, we were so late getting organized, that we were happy to get any notice at all from the local papers.

      My recent post What a dick

  11. And with regards to Paul and his "hilarious sense of humour" I would agree. Anyone that can't see that he's been thrown under the bus by the Harper Conservatives, as Paul Forseth has been, and continues to shill for Harper, inspite of the constant rejections of his nominations and wishes (Snap nomination meeting in 2008 when he was out of the country, to get Yonah the nod over him. Passed over for a senate seat, inspite of being a former "3 Term MP" for a one shot wonder (Yonah Martin) who has absolutely NO credibility in the area that she allegedly represents (I say allegedly because a senator is not an MP and you can't go around claiming to being able to do constituency work of an elected person when you are a unelected paid political hack of a senator, and then finally given the nod to run against Peter Julian, who's margins of victory since 2004 have been approximately, 400 votes in 2004, 4000 votes in 2006 (both times the Conservatives finishing a distant 3rd) and 7000 plus votes in 2008 (Conservatives in 2nd place, Liberal vote collapsed).

    You're right David, Paul has a great "sense of humour." Because how else can you actually take yourself so seriously when you have the rather dubious record in politics that he has. Want a hint. How about the time way back when, when CPAC caught him napping at his seat in Parliament. Now there's something to be famous for. I actually sent Paul a message on his blog when he was passed over for the Senate seat. Believe it or not, I felt for the guy. Seriously. Because time and time again, the party that he was fronting for so passionately, was kicking dirt square in his face. And he kept coming back for more. I admire perserverance, and despite his negativity, I do respect anyone who has done 3 terms in Parliament. When it comes to the Conservative brand in New West though, I can't help but look at Paul and think of Pete Rose. Not in terms of greatness. In terms of how far they will go to get their names recognized or keep trying to appear relevant.

    I will tell you, if someone treated me like the way the Cons in New West have treated Paul, the last thing I would do is go out of my way to help out that side of the political spectrum. I have my dignity. I think this maybe his last hurrah, unless he's thinking municipal.

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