Can New West municipal candidates follow simple rules?

The New Westminster Record published New West municipal candidate profiles recently, and in them the candidates had to answer a handful of questions. While they weren’t nearly as good as my questions, they did come with one simple rule:

Answers were limited to 50 words unless otherwise specified.

Pretty simple rule, right? Let’s see who was able to follow that simple rule! Candidates get a ✅ for succeeding and a ❌ for failing. Even if you miss one question, you fail! It’s a simple test, you should be able to do it!

Mayoral Candidates

✅ Jimmie Bell

✅ Nikki Binns

✅ Jonathan Cote

❌ Harm Woldring (2/5)

Council Candidates

✅ Chinu Das

❌ Daniel Fontaine (4/5)

✅ Troy Hunter

✅ Mike Ireland

✅ Patrick Johnstone

✅ Jaimie McEvoy

✅ Paul McNamara

✅ Nadine Nakagawa

❌ Benny Ogden (4/5)

✅ Chuck Puchmayr

✅ Angela Sealy

✅ Mary Trentadue

✅ Ellen Vaillancourt

❌ Bryn Ward (4/5)

School Trustee Candidates

✅ Steve Tsonev

❌ Maya Russell (4/5)

❌ Mary Lalji (4/5)

❌ J.P. LeBerg (4/5)

✅ Gurveen Dhaliwal

✅ Dee Beattie

❌ Doug Woodward (2/5)

❌ Danielle Connelly (3/5)

✅ Anita Ansari

❌ Lisa Falbo (2/5)

✅ Cyrus Sy

❌ Alejandro Diaz (3/5)

❌ Mark Gifford (3/5)

Hard-Hitting Conclusions

School Trustee candidates, almost all of you need to go back to school and learn how to follow rules. I mean seriously, only five of you could follow simple directions? That’s not even enough to form a full school board! It’s really depressing to see so many of you fail such a simple set of directions, and I’m not being sarcastic here. Seriously, attention to detail is a key skill that you all should have when you’re trying to get elected to run an $80 million organization. If you can’t be bothered to use a simple word count webpage then why should we trust you to understand the details of complex policies you’ll be coming up with to further the education of our children? That’s a serious question and I invite any of you with a ❌ next to your name to leave a comment below. And this time you don’t have a word limit.

I was originally planning on doing a breakdown between Team Cote and the New West Progressives and the independents but honestly, after seeing the terrible results from the School Trustee candidates I don’t have the willpower. Oh, alright, maybe I do, here we go.

Team Cote: 12/14

New West Progressives: 3/8

Independents: 6/11 (three haven’t answered, let’s pray to God that they read this post and figure out how to follow rules)

Mary Trentadue answered my questions!

Mary Trentadue is running for New Westminster City Council, and she answered my questions!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

Mary: I’m sure I’m an order muppet but likely a chaos muppet….when I’m not an order muppet 🙂

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

I visit City Hall a few times a week – Council meetings, committee meetings and one-on-one meetings with residents. I don’t find it particularly welcoming and know that most people feel uncomfortable coming and speaking to Council. We could do more to help the public understand the process when they arrive and also change some procedures that are old fashioned and not easily-understood.

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

The City is somewhat restricted in dictating to landlords whom they rent their spaces to. BUT, we can do much more to make sure New Westminster is a favoured location for local and regional businesses. Increasing the business profile of New West has been included in our Economic Development Strategy.

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

I would like to stay on the Arts Commission as I’m really committed to seeing the Arts Strategy completed. I am also really interested in some form of a Tenants Advisory Committee or task force as earlier suggested by Patrick Johnstone. We should also be discussing the best way to form a Women’s Advisory Committee. Having just advocating for two new committees I would really like for the City of have an in-depth look at how many committees we currently have and how to make them more efficient and effective.

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

HA – sorry while I do love the eclectic nature of the Brow – my heart belongs to the Moody Park neighbourhood. Being able to walk to City amenities, enjoy the parks, hang out with friends at the playground and enjoy the dog park makes this an amazing neighbourhood for my family.

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

Yes, I voted to support this project.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

Sasquatch?? I suppose I’d take my son – that would be his thing!

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

We need to work harder to go and meet our community where they are instead of expecting them to come to us. There seems to be a lot of barriers for people feeling included and having a good understanding of the barriers would be a good place to start.

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

My entrance music changes day to day and hour by hour. These days it’s Respect by Aretha Franklin.

Thank you Mary!

Michael Ireland answered my questions!

Michael Ireland is running for New Westminster City Council, and he answered my questions!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

Michael: I have organized chaos in business and personal life. A man willing to go out on the town with out a plan but, set out in my business life lists and order. There are times that my home may be a little cluttered and then days it is in perfect order. I have holidays in strange places and will run through forests where I don’t know a path but, I also plan trips around Ironman races and plan six months of training around them. There is one part of this question that’s not grey. I have never been a muppet. Nobody speaks for me, creates my dialogue or has their hand up my back controlling my movements.

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

I was at City Hall last week. Changes should be to modern lighting, access, and preservation of the gorgeous Art Deco building that exists there. I attend City Council meetings all over the country regularly as the business I am and position I hold has me doing so.

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

That is a tough question as businesses that don’t survive should not be supported by your tax dollars. Knowing that the area needs a local store I would think CIty could offer some form of incentive to have regular “mobile market” days throughout the entire year and to engage in dialogue with new retailers that the community may be interested in.

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

I’d like to be involved in Infrastructure planning and negotiations with Moti/Translink/Boundary Cities/Metro Vancouver. Also, I would include myself in arts council work, health care access and advocacy and the sports planning commission.

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

The Quay. It allows me to be near the water, a path to either side of the town and access to downtown.

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

I would have supported the housing and the development of programs to aid in women getting a step in the right direction. Without the support of community my own family wouldn’t be here today. My grandmother was left with her four young children on the street in the late fifties after my grandfather took off. She turned to the Salvation Army who helped her initially and then she raised the four working until she was 65. She was my hero as, each one went to University and on on to promote unity and communal engagement. While I lived in Los Angeles for many years I regularly supported and was engaged in homeless shelters for women and children.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

I don’t hunt but, I’d go for a trail run with my photographer friend Brooklin and he’d miraculously have a camera with him and end up with a shot of the Sasquatch!

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

Well each of those groups are very different and need a different approach. New immigrants need access to services and similar immigrants who have resided here longer and have successes. This would be a provincial and federal group that would also lend to their initial needs. Renters are in many forms now. There are ones that want high end tmeporary places while they’re here for work, ones that are in between and then life time renters. Each has completely different needs and there’s no single solution. Knowing that space is at a premium I would ensure that there are no empty units like in Downtown Vancouver where real estate speculators from overseas never occupy the unit they buy.

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

Lately my music stream has been pretty varied some nights Alexa plays Mo-town and some nights Soft Hawaiian music so, a single song that I love to turn up, Supertramp’s “Cannonball”, as I love the Brass instruments in it.

Thank you Michael!

Patrick Johnstone answered my questions!

Patrick Johnstone is running for New Westminster City Council, and he answered my questions!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

Patrick: I used to think I was an order muppet, then I met Antigone, which convinced me I am the chaos muppet, until I got elected to Council, when I was re-convinced that I am an order muppet, though the answer to this question may indicate otherwise.

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

Today. (Editor’s note: Patrick sent me the answers on September 21 and this post is being published on September 22.)

I think it is welcoming, though we have some accessibility issues that only an expensive major renovation will fix.

Last Monday.

I have several ideas in my Engaged City platform about shifting how public engagement and Public Hearings work, but I think Council needs to be more diverse, we need to work more on speaking in plain language in both council and in our official communications. And freezies. (That was 4 questions).

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

There will be no rest until every building in New Westminster contains a Save on Foods. Yes, including your house. Resistance is futile.

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

ACTBiPed. We are making progress on active transportation policy, but we need to keep pushing to get more of our budget directed towards modernizing our transportation network. Building infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users (and emergent technologies like electric scooters) need to be a top priority for the City.

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

Because I live in the Brow. I love being a 5 minute walk to everywhere (shopping, SkyTrain, City Hall), and I love the variety of housing and my diverse neighbours!

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

I voted for it.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

Steve Austin, Raoul Duke, and Carl Sagan. And Peter Sagan.

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

By creating space and opportunities for them to engage, by meeting them on their own turf, and by seeking out and eliminating the barriers to their participation in civic affairs. For example, I think we need a Renters Association in the City on the same model as Residents’ Associations.

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

The National Anthem by Radiohead. I’m back to being a chaos muppet I think.

Thank you Patrick!

Chinu Das answered my questions!

Chinu Das is running for New Westminster City Council, and she answered my questions!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

Chinu: Neither. In order to create order you start with chaos. They are two sides of the same coin.

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

Today, Sept 20 for the Senior’s Advisory committee meeting.
Sept 4 for Community and Social Issues Advisory committee.

A study was done by Welcoming and Inclusive New Westminster committee that identified welcoming signage, comfortable seating areas and being greeted at all civic facilities.

June 18th, I think. Attended the session on Cannabis legislation.

Staff, Mayor and Council members  can meet and greet people for a short time so that they feel welcomed.

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

Alert the media?

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

Multicultural Advisory, Community and Social issues Advisory because those are my interests. Would love to see a committee on neighbourhood social connectedness.

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

Because it is the little hood that could!

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

I would have voted in favour of the motion on the table : to amend the OCP and rezone the property.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

My youngest son. He is a great storyteller and can spin a sasquatch yarn easily.

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

This needs outreach work, connecting one on one and building trust and respect. Once trust is established, encourage them to participate in city events and use their voice on city committees.

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.

Thank you Chinu!

Chuck Puchmayr answered my questions!

Chuck Puchmayr is running for New Westminster City Council, and he answered my questions!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

Chuck: Sorry Brad, that’s classified information.

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

Yesterday, Monday, better sound system for overflow seating in public hearings.

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

Consumers fare better when there’s competition. Buy Low is the same company as Save-On. The Competition Bureau was played brilliantly by Pattison after the 2014 ruling.

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

I have been productive on all committees and would go wherever appointed.

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

All of our neighbourhoods have unique characteristics. I have lived in the Brow, Queen’s Park, West End and now Moody Park. The Brow had the most vibrant cultural diversity.

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

Note: Chuck is an incumbent and thus didn’t have to answer this question. He voted in favour of the motion on the table.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

My best friend Ed as he would surely scare any Sasquatch we encountered.

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

By communicating the following : work we are doing to protect existing and develop new rental property; our work on new Canadian inclusion and diversity; our outreach to youth through youth centre, youth advisory committee and public engagement.

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

Right now, during the election it would be Welcome To The Jungle by Guns N’ Roses.

Thanks Chuck!

Troy Hunter answered my questions!

Troy Hunter is running for New Westminster City Council, and he answered my questions!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

Troy: My daschund that I rescued came with the name Chaos and I hated that so I renamed him Brad Pitt. I guess that makes me an order Muppet.

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

It was about a couple of weeks ago, I had to have a meeting with the electoral officer. I always visit City Hall to pay my electricity bill. I guess a more welcoming approach would be to make the public park and enter through the front doors, it almost seems weird to use the backside and I am sure the architect that made the building is not happy about that. I would propose a big comfy couch along with a good cup of Java to make city council meetings more welcoming. The last time I attended a City Council meeting was around ten years ago when I was still a law student. I also attended the 2008 Canadian Constitutional Affairs Conference in Quebec City and made a vow to return; I am back. I almost forgot to mention but I was an elected School Trustee from 2008 to 2011 and I think that also counts.

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

I am saddened for the loss of Buy Low Foods as it was one of my favorite grocery stores and that is for sure. What is more sad is that there is now a vacant space, people that used to work at that location no longer do so and it diminishes our sense of community. Losing that flagship store was like a punch in the gut. As for proper competition, it seems that there is only so much City Hall can do as we live in a free and open market space. If I could wave a magic wand, I would do it in a way that the shoppers had fatter wallets and were not attracted to the lowest hanging fruit but that they would reach for the locally grown produce and farmed products. This would help with our local economy, support local farmers, and help in the fight against climate change. On that note, I would also make a new program to match land owners with those that want to grow their own food, just like the community gardens program and also institute a rain harvesting initiative to feed those local crops. We can turn acres of trimmed lawns into productive yields of corn, squash, beans, and herbs, etc. Maybe the space could be the farmers market which happens at my favorite park by city hall at Friendship Garden by closing the parking lot. At least those with cars will have a place to park when visiting the Farmers Market. By the way, my dog Brad Pitt loves Friendship Garden.

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

I wish to chair the Indigenous Reconciliation Committee. I have previous experience chairing meetings, and it doesn’t hurt to have an actual Indigenous person chairing the meeting.

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

Yes, I live at Brow of the Hill area but really, my favourite neighborhood is probably downtown because that is the gem in the rough that has the best potential to make New Westminster an attraction. While we don’t have a walled city, UNESCO World Heritage Site like the one I am writing this from: Old Quebec City, we do have a history of the New Westminster Quai which with great vision and passion, we can turn this place into an attraction and a place where people will want to be. We are the original Capital City of the Province of British Columbia, we had the first hospital, maybe even one of the first court houses, and we have some fine Victorian style buildings. As we demolish the past to make way for the future, perhaps, we can think about heritage conservation and re-create a unique Victorian era heritage village, even it means relocating structures (actually this is being done take for example 8th Street or Blackford Street).

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

I’m not a big fan of “temporary modular housing”; however, the Indian Reserve I am a part of near Cranbrook BC, went with modular construction for a new school and gymnasium and it seems to work well even though its situated right beside one of British Columbia’s finest Victorian era wooden churches (St. Eugene Church). I would prefer stone masonry structures, but I guess modulars could also be clad in stone facades to give it that permanent feel. What people need to understand is that we need to think outside of the box when it comes to creating low cost solutions for the homeless, the at risk and for people in need. If it works for the Aboriginal community, why would it not work for Queensborough? There is a building downtown Vancouver made of shipping containers. As we move into the 21st century we need to keep an open mind about what we are building, how its done and to how to be more efficient. I would have voted with an unequivocal yes because we need solutions and the modular housing is just that. I am thinking that architecture wasn’t the real problem it was perhaps, NIMBYism (not in my backyard). As much as we want to have a beautiful and lovely city we also need spaces for the less affluent and such spaces should not be in segregation.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

I don’t hunt Sasquatch and believe that would be in poor taste. Some people believe Sasquatch are almost human and we don’t go out hunting humans (at least not anymore). If I wanted to find Sasquatch to see one or to take a picture, I would have Todd Standing on my team.

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

I can relate to this question on two levels, I don’t consider myself a youth as I am not a spring chicken anymore. With respect to renters, I am one. With respect to new immigrants, I am married to one. How do I propose to engage with them, I think City Hall could be more open, could consider brochures in other languages including Chinese, Indonesian, Tagalog, etc. We could have community get-together’s for social events. When we get to know our neighbors we become closer as a community.

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

Well at first I was going to say Helter Skelter because I just saw Paul McCartney play that song at a sold out show in Quebec City but then I changed my mind and went with Jukebox Hero by Foreigner.

Thank you Troy!

Nadine Nakagawa answered my questions!

Nadine Nakagawa is running for New Westminster City Council, and she answered my questions!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

Nadine: I don’t support the use of muppets to describe personalities. Controversial enough position to start with? I hate the term “chaos muppet”. Don’t @ me.

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

I was last at City Hall to file my candidacy paperwork. Before that, probably the Temporary Modular Housing Public Hearing and before that likely an ACTBiPed meeting. To make City Hall more welcoming, we should add more comfortable seating to start. We should then ask members of the community what would make their City Hall feel more welcoming. This was done by the WINS table a few years back and we should incorporate their feedback. To make meetings more comfortable, perhaps we should consider a Council Meeting 101 package and workshop. We should also strive to use plain language and bring council meetings into the community.

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

The Buy Low Foods community room was an incredible community asset and I hope residents support grocery stores that have community rooms.

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

The to-be-created Renters Task Force. I’d also like to chair the Community Social Issues Committee that I’ve sat on for a number of years (sorry Councillor McEvoy)

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

As the immediate past President of the Brow of the Hill Residents Association, I can confidently say #BeLikeBrow

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

I would have voted yes. I have previously worked as a Housing Support Worker for the Elizabeth Fry Society and understand how soul shatteringly difficult it is to find affordable (read 30% of your income) housing, particularly for people on income assistance, disability, or a pension. We are in a housing crisis and I believe that everyone has a right to housing.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

My golden retriever Gus. He’d love to meet a Sasquatch. In fact, he’d love to meet just about anybody. We really wouldn’t be hunting, just going out to say hello.

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

By bringing people who identify as renters, new immigrants, and youth onto committees and task forces and asking them how to do this and then listening to them. By going out into the community to places where people we want to reach gather. By being humble. By practicing cultural humility. By asking questions. By never making excuses for why it’s not happening. By asking people to come and then making space for them. By not giving up until our public engagement reflects our community.

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

My theme song is Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix.

Thank you Nadine!

Questions for New Westminster mayoral and city council candidates, 2018 version

It’s election time in New Westminster and you know what that means? Questions! And not highly personal and completely offensive questions written by an asshole, I have some silly and serious questions! Let’s go!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

Psst, candidates, I’ll email these questions to you soon so hang tight with your responses!

Mapping the 2018 New Westminster Election Candidates

Now that the nomination period is over, we know who will be running for municipal public office in New Westminster in 2018. We have:

  • 4 mayoral candidates (1 will be elected)
  • 14 city council candidates (6 will be elected)
  • 16 school trustee candidates (7  will be elected)

New Westminster’s election isn’t as chaotic as Vancouver’s. We don’t have anybody running under an alias (unless you count James “Jimmie” Bell), we don’t have anybody running for two positions, and we don’t have anybody running who lives outside of New Westminster.

Update: After some comments on Facebook and discussions I’ve had, I’ve removed the map. Although candidates’ addresses are (currently) public information, making this information more widely disseminated can potentially discourage some to put their names forward, as home addresses can be used by people who aren’t so nice to do not so nice things.

The geographical information of where candidates do and do not live is still interesting, however! Here’s a little summary of which candidates live in which neighbourhoods (as defined by the city’s Residents’ Association Boundaries map):

Connaught Heights

No candidates.

West End

Troy Hunter (council)

Moody Park

Mark Gifford (school trustee)

Chinu Das (council)

Mary Trentadue (council)

Chuck Puchmayr (council)

Glenbrooke North

Cathy McCallum (school trustee)

Ellen Vaillancourt (council)

Nikki Binns (mayor)

J.P. Leberg (school trustee)

Douglas Woodward (school trustee)

Massey Victory Heights

Lisa Graham (school trustee)

Brow of the Hill

Paul McNamara (council)

Steve Tsonev (school trustee)

Benny Ogden (council)

Angela Sealy (council)

Nadine Nakagawa (council)

Patrick Johnstone (council)

James Bell (mayor)

Queens Park

Bryn Ward (council)

Alejandro Diaz (school trustee)

Daniel Fontaine (council)

McBride Sapperton

Jaimie McEvoy (council)

Cyrus Sy (school trustee)

Mary Lalji (school trustee)

Danielle Connelly (school trustee)

Maya Russell (school trustee)

Scott McIntosh (school trustee)

Dee Beattie (school trustee)

Anita Ansari (school trustee)

Quayside

Mike Ireland (council)

Downtown

Harm Woldring (mayor)

Jonathan Cote (mayor)

Queensborough

Gurveen Dhaliwal (school trustee)

 

And just to keep things on the up-and-up, here’s the original (and now kind of redacted) blog post.

What we do have is a map:

It’s pretty easy to see that there are some neighbourhoods that are under-represented (Connaught Heights doesn’t have any candidates, Queensborough, West End, and Massey Victory Heights only have one each) and some that are well-represented (Moody Park and Brow Of The Hill). Sapperton has eight candidates!

Mayoral candidates all live between First and Seventh Streets. Well, I’m not entirely sure if that’s true because Harm Woldring put his residential address to be that of his business downtown. But hey, who am I to say that he doesn’t live there?

Council candidates all live between 13th Street and Cumberland. Only one lives in Sapperton.

School trustee candidates have the largest geographical spread, from Queensborough to Sapperton.

Use this information however you want! Maybe you want to vote for people that live furthest from the Fraser, now you’ve got an easy reference guide!