Questions for New Westminster-Burnaby MP Candidates

It’s election time again! And you all know what that means — more stupid questions from yours truly!

This time it’s a federal election, and sleepy little New Westminster gets lumped together with a bit of Burnaby to form the new New Westminster—Burnaby electoral district. We have four declared candidates: Peter Julian (NDP, and considered the incumbent), Sasha Ramnarine (Liberal), Kyle Routledge (Green), and Chloe Ellis (Conservative). I’m pretty sure that at least two of the candidates will answer (at least, I think I asked them both personally), and I’m anticipating that one of them won’t given their party’s record. If anybody else out there feels like being a ghost writer for Chloe Ellis and answering the questions as a Conservative candidate, feel free!

Oh, and I’m writing these questions as a New Westminster resident, so they’re primarily focused on New West and not Burnaby. Sorry Burnaby!

  1. The City of New Westminster used to be represented federally by two Members of Parliament (Peter Julian for Burnaby-New Westminster and Fin Donnelly for New Westminster-Coquitlam). Now that New West is only going to have one MP, what will you do to ensure your voice is at least twice as loud as everybody else? Bonus question for Peter Julian: Will this mean that you’ll have to break the half a million words barrier?
  2. As everybody in New Westminster knows, we have an abundance of Save-On-Foods grocery stores, a situation created by the Competition Bureau. As the Competition Bureau is a federal intitution, what will you do as New Westminster’s federal representative to eliminate all non-Save-On-Foods stores in New West?
  3. Over the past few years we have seen two high-profile protests related to federal projects on New Westminster’s borders: the expansion of Fraser Surrey Docks to ship coal and the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Neither of these projects actually happen in New Westminster, which leads me to my question: which controversial federal project will you bring to New Westminster so we can have our own home-grown protests?
  4. Assuming your party forms the government, what will you do to bring the Prime Minster to New Westminister?
  5. How much money will your party pledge to replace the Pattullo Bridge, knowing full well that we just had a referendum (sorry, non-binding plebescite) where we rejected a tax increase that would supply the municipalities’ third of the pot and any promised federal money wouldn’t get spent anyhow? Three hundred million dollars? Five hundred million dollars? ELEVENTY TRILLION DOLLARS???

You (or Chloe Ellis’ ghost writers) can email the answers to me at brad.cavanagh@gmail.com. I look forward to them!

Update: Hey, wouldn’t you know it, some of the candidates have replied!

New West Rumour Mill, May 2015

It’s time for another Rumour Mill! There has been a lot going on in New Westminster recently, so let’s find out what the rumours are!

Rumour has it that an occupant has been found for the empty restaurant space at the Anvil Centre. People have been understandably hush-hush about it, because it’s a flagship location and any hint of news could scuttle the plans. I don’t care! I’m going to break the news! You heard it here first, folks: the restaurant in the Anvil Centre will be the brand new Darrell’s Deal Deli! That’s right, Save-On-Foods is going upscale and busting into the restaurant market in a brave and bold new way, right here in our very own New Westminster! Overwaitea Foods started in New West, so it’s only fitting that Darrell’s Deal Deli start here too. Welcome!

The POPart exhibit at the Anvil Centre’s New Media Gallery is a huge hit. Watch out though, rumour has it that the balloons are filled with carbon tetrachloride for its fire suppression properties. Gotta stay safe, New West!

On a more serious note, Tenth To The Fraser is back. Yay!

And I’m going to finish off with some topical poetry. Watch out Candice James, I’m gunning for your job!

Spring has spring
The grass is riz
I wonder where
The Lancers is

New Westminster Rumour Mill

This is first of what will hopefully be a monthly post here, where I report back on all of the rumours that are floating around the lovely city of New Westminster.

First up: the parkade. Rumour has it that Council has seen the light and they will not be tearing down half the parkade. Instead they are doubling-down and adding an extra three levels of parking! They will also be taking Columbia Street off its diet (come on people, everybody knows that diets don’t work) by removing the bike lanes and angled parking. It is expected that this will appeal to the mobile baby boomer, and the increased vehicle traffic and parking will return downtown New Westminster to the glory years of the 70s and 80s!

The canceling of the Royal Lancers dance has ruffled some feathers recently. While this is a sad end to a 100-year old tradition of grown men knocking on doors to ask fathers to turn over their 12-year old girls to go for a dance, some have felt that the dance has seen better days. Instead, the Royal Lancers will turn to the 1916 May Day celebrations for inspiration, where a demonstration of military maneuvers replaced the folk dance. Rumour has it that for the 100th anniversary of these celebrations, the Royal Lancers will shoot 12-year old girls out of cannons.

The Braid Street Bailey Bridge is open! As it is a new crossing, a modest toll of $5 for Coquitlam residents will apply.

The 2015 Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite is underway, although you wouldn’t know it because nobody has been talking about it lately. Has anybody heard anything about this thing?

That’s all for now from the New Westminster Rumour Mill!

New Westminster Police Department steps up traffic enforcement

During his 2014 campaign, New Westminster Mayor Jonathan X. Cote promised to “target regular and consistent traffic enforcement to discourage drivers from cutting through local neighbourhoods.” Three days into his term, the effects of this promise were displayed as members of the New Westminster Police Department descended upon the Queens Park neighbourhood to apprehend a driver suspected of ‘rat-running’.

The above picture is courtesy Patrick O’Connor on Twitter, who also reported that a police helicopter was calling out with a bullhorn, warning the public to watch for a suspect on foot.

The truck was abandoned at the intersection of 2nd Street and 4th Avenue, along a common route taken by drivers trying to get onto the busy Pattullo Bridge, instead of sticking to the main arterial routes. The Queens Park neighbourhood is popular for these ‘rat-runners’, with some traffic calming measures already in place. 2nd Street has no speed humps or other measures, making it an ideal street for rat-running. Unluckily for the driver of this truck, this also makes it an ideal location for NWPD enforcement.

This police action is surely the first step towards stopping commuters from using New Westminster neighbourhoods as thoroughfares. Future actions will include deployment of spike strips and increased use of the PIT maneuver.