Councillors promised they would stay
Two Coquitlam city councillors seeking provincial seats in next May’s election are going against promises they — and other candidates — made at a public forum during last fall’s civic election campaign.
Last week, Coun. Selina Robinson was acclaimed by the New Democrats to run in the Coquitlam-Maillardville riding, which is currently held by NDP MLA Diane Thorne. This week, Coun. Linda Reimer announced her intention to run for the BC Liberals in the Port Moody-Coquitlam riding, which is currently held by NDP MLA Joe Trasolini (she was asked by the party to file her papers; no nomination date has been set).
But on Nov. 14, 2011, both attended the Tri-Cities’ Chamber of Commerce all-candidates’ meeting, held at Evergreen Cultural Centre, and both were asked the following yes-or-no question, submitted from the floor and read by the event moderator, Barrie Seaton:
“Given the fact that there will be a provincial election in 2013, will the candidates seeking a mandate to serve us in a civic capacity stand up now and confirm they will — barring health or family crisis — complete the full three-year term for which they are seeking election and not force an unnecessary cost of a byelection on taxpayers?”
(The meeting was filmed by Tri-City Community TV and can be seen on YouTube.)
Both Reimer and Robinson responded “Yes.”
Coquitlam lawyer Richard Rainey, a past Chamber chair who was the MC for that meeting, told The Tri-City News on Thursday the topic has generated some talk in the last week. He said he has been asked recently by about half a dozen people in the community about Reimer and Robinson’s answer to that question.
Thursday, asked about her answer last year versus her actions this year, Robinson said: “What I said back then — based on what information I had back then — was absolutely accurate. Things change. Diane [Thorne] retired. When I said what I said, there was nothing on the horizon. There was nothing. So it was an accurate statement at the time.”
Said Reimer: “At the time, I meant what I said when I said it. But a lot has changed then. For starters, I didn’t anticipate being approached to run. At the end of the day, I feel the next election is too important not to be involved and, of course, I think we need a BC Liberal government re-elected in Victoria to protect our economy and sustain our job growth. And I’m concerned what will happen if the NDP were to form government.”
Reimer also said municipal politicians are frequently asked to run as provincial and federal candidates.
As for the potential of prompting a byelection that would cost around $125,000 to hold, Robinson gave the following example: “If you run a corporation and you have some managers that leave that have responsibilities for certain parts of the business, and you had some other people who could fill that role who could do it well — based on their experience, based on their demonstrated activities — you would want them to apply for that opening in your organization. They know the work. They know the job.
“Now, when they do that, it creates another opening somewhere else in the organization that you’re going to have to advertise and interview.... We don’t bat our eyelash at that. I don’t know if this [campaign] is any different. There’s one taxpayer who pays for all of it and I would think they would want somebody with experience, with qualifications to represent them in Victoria.”
Added Reimer: “The thing is, you’ve got a couple of good candidates that have been asked by both their parties to run and I think that that’s a good deal for the taxpayers.”
• To see councillors Linda Reimer and Selina Robinson’s responses at the Tri-Cities’ Chamber of Commerce all-candidates’ meeting, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZt0MhbKMPA and scroll to 17:50 minutes.