Opinion

COLUMN: Which New Westminster councillors will run again in 2014?

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Of today’s city council, who plans to run next November?

Coun. Lorrie Williams certainly will make a bid to stay.

“I want to see Wait for Me, Daddy through,” she said when I reached her in Ottawa two weeks ago. The reference, as some will know, is to the new statue to be unveiled next Oct. 4 to commemorate the iconic 1940 photo by the same name depicting young Warren “Whitey” Bernard reaching out to his father as he marched down Eighth Street to be shipped off to fight during the Second World War. Following the statue’s unveiling, there will be a commemorative stamp issued by Canada Post, and in 2015 New West will host a “Grand March” re-enactment of the image in the photo, which may include military units from across the country.

Williams was in Ottawa for a Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting, and was also visiting the Royal Canadian Mint with hopes of getting a coin to recognize the famous photo as well.

When I reached Coun. Bill Harper, he was more circumspect, saying he likely won’t make a decision until next spring. But it’s clear he’s still enjoying himself.

Coun. Jaimie McEvoy also says he hasn’t decided, but I’ll be shocked if he chooses not to run.

In last week’s column I talked about Coun. Chuck Puchmayr’s plans, because he’d been rumoured as a mayoral candidate. Puchmayr said he won’t decide anything until next spring—mayor, council or otherwise—though his comments suggested at most he’d be considering a return bid for council.

In the same column, Coun. Jonathan Coté said he’s considering a bid for the mayor’s job. And I’ll bet if he opts not to, at very least he will run again for council.

Coun. Betty McIntosh is the lone wolf on the outside what she calls the “band of five” councillors endorsed by the New Westminster and District Labour Council.

For her part, she isn’t ready to say anything yet.

“I’m not telling,” she told me. “I have plans — that’s it.”

It’s clear she’s found it difficult being on the outside lately, and some things, such as being removed as the council liaison to the Hyack board, have stung.

In 2011, Cal Donnelly lost the council seat he’d occupied for 18 years. When I reached him last week he said he’s “always interested,” in a possible run.

“I haven’t decided yet,” he told me. “I’m still looking at it.”

Voice New Westminster, the civic electors group that has endorsed and supported a slate of candidates in the last two civic elections, has yet to organize anything for the November 2014 election.

According to Patrick O’Connor, the group will choose a new president early in the new year, and will again support a slate.

Certainly in 2011, Voice council candidates Susan Wandell, Gavin Palmer, John Ashdown and David Noshad weren’t too far off a spot on council—though in this game, 1,300 or more votes might as well be a million.

Local blogger Patrick Johnstone was recently named New Westminster Citizen of the Year at the chamber of commerce’s Platinum Awards. He said he’s considering a run for city council.

And no doubt there are others waiting in the wings.

It’s always a tough battle for newcomers. Getting an endorsement from the labour council or Voice seem to be the best way for someone to have a fighting chance.

• Chris Bryan is editor of the NewsLeader.

(NOTE: For insight into New West's political power players, my 2011 column on the subject is still relevant)

 

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