Joe Trasolini gets set for Victoria

Port Moody-Coquitlam NDP MLA-elect Joe Trasolini with supporters after his decisive win Thursday night. - DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Port Moody-Coquitlam NDP MLA-elect Joe Trasolini with supporters after his decisive win Thursday night.

Now that the Port Moody-Coquitlam byelection is over, NDP-elect Joe Trasolini has another hurdle to jump — the Georgia Strait.

On Monday, the former Port Moody mayor and newly-elected MLA plans to head over to Victoria for a tour and orientation of the B.C. Legislature.

Thursday night, after a decisive win, a jovial Trasolini was undaunted about the prospect of having to travel back and forth between Vancouver Island and the mainland to do his job representing local voters.

However, he said he expects he won't be sworn in to his new job until mid-May.

Excited by his win, Trasolini said he never expected to get such a huge endorsement from Port Moody-Coquitlam voters, many of whom knew him by name.

"I didn't believe that kind of reception translated into votes. I'm overwhelmed," said Trasolini, ever dapper in an orange shirt and conservative suit jacket and tie.

The surprise NDP candidate swept into his new post with 6,070 votes, nearly twice as main as Liberal candidate Dennis Marsden, who garnered 3,377 votes. Christine Clarke, the BC Conservative candidate was a distant third with just 1,720 votes.

Trasolini was first considered to be a shoe-in for the BC Liberal Party but decided to run for the New Democrats under leader Adrian Dix. Trasolini said he made the choice because the party more closely represented his own "balanced" approach to government.

It turned out he made the better choice, if voting numbers are the evidence.

Still, it's a long road to the next provincial election. Trasolini believes his choice, and that of the NDP, to run a "positive" campaign struck a chord with voters instead of the U.S.-style "negative" campaigning of his opposition.

Trasolini gave as good as he got in all-candidates meetings, taking shots at the BC government record, but made no personal attacks. The BC Liberals, meanwhile, criticized Trasolini for party-switching and getting in the way of the Evergreen Line while the Conservatives embarked on a letter-writing campaign slamming Trasolini's fiscal record as mayor.

As for how he'll make the switch from civic to provincial politics, Trasolini said it will be easy because voters "want to be heard, they want to be consulted" at every level.

Although transportation would seem to be his bailiwick after his vocal support for rapid transit to Port Moody and Coquitlam, funding for transit not based on property taxes, and his battle to get the Murray Clarke connector built, Trasolini said he has no preference as to what critic's post he would like.

"In anyway I can help this riding and the NDP and the party," is all he would say.

As to whether Trasolini would continue to be an accessible, and vocal politician, the combative former mayor promised to return calls and handed the reporter his business card with his cell phone number.


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