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"I think we really need to honour all the candidates that come forward"

Election briefs
Sasha Ramnarine
Sasha Ramnarine gathered with supporters Monday night at his campaign office to watch the election results.

The New Westminster-Burnaby NDP, Liberal and Green party candidates got to know each other quite well during the 2015 federal election campaign.

While incumbent NDP MP Peter Julian won re-election, he said he enjoyed the “tour of all-candidates’ meetings with Green party candidate Kyle Routledge and Liberal candidate Sasha Ramnarine. Conservative candidate Chloe Ellis attended an all-candidates meeting hosted by the Burnaby Board of Trade and a meet-and-greet held last week at Five Stones Church in New Westminster.

“I think we really need to honour all the candidates that come forward. All of them handled themselves very effectively. I wish Miss Ellis had come to more meetings, but I know she was out on the hustings and knocking on doors, so she was doing her job too. Mr. Routledge and Mr. Ramnarine were out as well,” Julian told the Record Monday night. “That is the foundation stone of democracy - having people to be able to make a choice, so them stepping forward is really important.”

Julian said he’s honored to be able to serve New Westminster-Burnaby residents. He planned to return to the constituency office on Tuesday to get to work.

“In this job campaign, I was essentially reapplying to my 100,000 bosses to have my contract renewed,” he said. “The only way you can have your contract renewed, I think, is by performance.”

Not all Libs are the same

Seems that some folks may have been confused by a couple of Libs on the ballot boxes.

While it wouldn’t have made a difference in the outcome of Monday night’s election, the local Liberal campaign office fielded a number of calls Tuesday morning from voters who said they’d mistakenly votes Libertarian instead of Liberal.

Liberal candidate Sasha Ramnarine received 15,166 votes, while Libertarian candidate Rex Brocki got 1,388 votes. Compare that to 2011, when the Libertarian candidate got 160 votes in the then-riding of Burnaby-New Westminster.

Sign of the times

If New Westminster-Burnaby candidates are missing signs, they may pop up in an unlikely place.

Through the years, there have been all sorts of stories related to candidates’ signs being stolen or vandalized during election campaigns.

Laarni de los Reyes, the campaign manager for NDP candidate Peter Julian, emailed other New Westminster-Burnaby candidates on Oct. 17 about an issue with signs.

“This morning we found two Liberal, six Conservative and two Green signs displayed in front of our office,” she wrote. “If you would like to pick them up, give us a call…”

Taking nothing for granted

While many political pundits predicted Peter Julian was a slam dunk to get re-elected in New Westminster-Burnaby, he wasn’t planning his return to Ottawa until the last ballot was counted.

Unofficial election results showed that Julian topped the polls with 22,935 votes – 7,769 more votes than his nearest challenger. Despite a comfortable lead as Monday night’s results trickled in, Julian was awaiting the final results – just to be safe.

Julian recalled that in the 2004 election he’d been declared the “loser” to the Liberal candidate and many of his supporters left the local election party and headed to the party’s main bash. After they left, he made up the votes and was declared the winner.

“I always respect seeing the final results,” he said.

Too far to go?

Queensborough residents were able to vote at the local community centre at advanced voting, but had to trek over the bridge and cast ballots on election day.

That didn’t sit well with Queensborough resident Jason Bourget.

“For Queensborough residents who don’t have a car, this poses a serious concern, as it makes voting a time-consuming ordeal that will require around an hour of travel time,” he wrote in a letter to the editor of the Record. “I suspect that many Queensborough residents who have not yet voted will simply not bother to do so, due to the time involved to take the bus, or even drive, across the bridge.”

If fewer Queensborough residents vote in the federal election than in the past, Bourget said it’s because it has been made “unreasonably difficult” to do so.

Just across the river, Quayside residents had two polling stations where they could vote – one at the Inn at the Quay and another at Riverbend Co-op.