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New West Progressives to start naming candidates in February

Lifelong New Westminster resident takes over as NWP president
Independents 2018
Independents Troy Hunter (second from left), Steve Tsonev and Benny Ogden joined the New West Progressives at their 2018 election night party.

The New West Progressives will soon begin announcing some of the candidates they’ll be supporting in the 2022 civic election.

Brian Goss, who was recently elected as the group’s president, said a number of people who want to run for the New West Progressives have been going through a vetting and interviewing process. He said the group expects to announce its first group of candidates at the beginning of February and plans to release the names of additional candidates as they’re approved.

“We have some candidates that we are going to present to the board of directors for approval,” he said. “In the meantime, we are ongoing with people who are submitting their applications to us. We have got a series of meetings set up for a couple more candidates.”

The New West Progressives formed prior to the last election and ran a slate of city council and school board candidates in the 2018 civic election.

Goss said Mayor Jonathan Cote’s decision not to seek re-election has sparked great interest in the council race. He said the NWP “will probably” have a mayoral candidate, as well as several school board and city council candidates on the ballot for the Oct. 15 civic election.

According to Goss, residents interested in running for the NWP in the fall election aren’t active in any major political parties, but they support a variety of parties including the NDP, Libertarian, Liberals, Conservatives and Greens.

“My personal belief is I think the big political parties should stay out of the municipal elections and keep it on a local basis,” he said.

Goss said the candidates are united in their desire to represent and promote New West. He said the candidates currently being considered have a wide variety of experiences, but none of them have been elected in the past.

“They have some great ideas, want to serve, but are perhaps not politically aware of how to run a campaign,” he said. “That is where we will come in and help do the door knocking and the brochures and stuff like that.”

Goss, who got involved with the New West Progressives in 2019, served as the president of New Westminster-Burnaby federal Liberal association from 2013 to 2021.

“I have been a longtime resident of New Westminster. What I was noticing is it seemed like the same old group of people get re-elected and re-elected and re-elected,” he said. “I have had some people in the neighbourhood approach me and say, ‘I’d really like to run for city council but I haven’t got a clue how to go about it and I have no election experience.’”

Goss said the New Westminster Progressives plan to finalize their slate in May.

“I’m so impressed with the calibre and depth of the candidates we have been speaking with over the last few months,” he said. “I’ve been actively working with our nominations committee and I look forward to making some key announcements on this front in the coming weeks.”

Goss has taken over the role of NWP president, replacing Daniel Fontaine, who helped found the group and will now serve as past president.

“The timing just worked out well in the election year because there is going to be lots of stuff for me to do without having to have a forward-facing role as the president,” Fontaine said. “With Brian being there and willing to take it on, it was awesome.”

In the 2018 civic election, the newly formed New West Progressives elected one candidate to school board (Danielle Connelly). Fontaine, who placed seventh in his quest for one of the six seats on city council, said he hasn’t decided whether he will be running for council.

“I can tell you the number of calls I’ve had post Mayor Cote’s announcement has been a little overwhelming,” he said. “For me, I am just listening right now. It gives me the opportunity to listen, to have coffee, to chat with folks from within the community. It’s a big step to make a decision to run. At the moment I don’t have any intention of doing that, but I am listening and when people are calling or emailing and encouraging me to do that, I am not going to dismiss it. It’s worth me having a chat with them but I haven’t made any final decisions.”