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Team credits BCA resources, vote-splitting for election result

Lee Rankin of Team Burnaby -
Lee Rankin of Team Burnaby
— image credit:

Team Burnaby council candidate Lee Rankin credited the deep pockets and organization of the Burnaby Citizens' Association (BCA) for its repeat sweep in the civic election.

"Politics at the heart is simple, the BCA does a good job of identifying the vote and pulling the vote," Rankin said Monday. "I would say they did it very well this time."

The percentage of votes the right-leaning Team received should have translated into some seats on council and school board, but the BCA simply did a better job of getting its supporters out to the polls, he said.

Another factor was the addition of two new parties to the local civic scene, the Burnaby Municipal Greens and Burnaby Parents' Voice.

Rankin, a former longterm councillor, said no independent candidate has been elected in Burnaby since 1981 and no member of a "splinter group" has ever been elected in the city.

"The simplest, most obvious lesson is to challenge the BCA, a one-opposition umbrella would work. Splinter groups have never succeeded, and independents have never succeeded in 30 years now."

On the school board front, Rankin said Team had some strong candidates, "but Parents' Voice with their banging their one-note drum sucked all the oxygen out of the Board of Education debate."

Looking forward, Rankin said Team Burnaby will continue to build towards the next election and noted that the party received many votes likely because a monopoly in civic government is unhealthy.

"It's not a knock against  the local scene, one would say that if it were the provincial or federal government. It's unhealthy. You can't shine a light on things that a light needs to be shined on."

On election night, Team Burnaby council candidate Garth Evans also credited the BCA's superior organization and financial resources for its win and suggested that the Greens and Parents' Voice might have taken votes away from Team candidates.

He was also disappointed  there will be no opposition for the BCA.

"If anything bad's been going on up at city hall we're not going to find out because [council is] not going to look for it," he said.

"Really, it's our fault," Evans said of Team's loss. "We didn't run a good enough campaign, we didn't obviously present a sufficient alternative program."

He added, if Team Burnaby is ever to mount a successful campaign against the BCA, it will have to find someone who can run effectively against incumbent Derek Corrigan for mayor.

"Because it's all him. Those guys (council) are riding his coattails."

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

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