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MP Stewart to run in new Burnaby South riding
With his current Burnaby-Douglas riding split into two for the next election, New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart has decided to run for re-election in the only one to remain entirely in Burnaby.
Stewart will campaign in the new federal riding of Burnaby South, which includes the southern portion of his current electoral district plus parts of Burnaby-New Westminster currently held by fellow NDP MP Peter Julian.
The move is in response to a decision by the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for B.C. to create the new riding of Burnaby North-Seymour, combining North Burnaby with North Vancouver, despite opposition from residents on both sides of Burrard Inlet.
"I have given it considerable thought," he said, adding it's been a daily topic of conversation for him since the commission's final decision in August. "For me, I virtually have no links to North Vancouver … my links are closer with Burnaby than with North Vancouver so I chose Burnaby in the end."
Stewart says he plans to help the NDP recruit a suitable candidate for Burnaby North-Seymour who ideally has strong ties on both sides of the inlet.
While the next federal election is not expected until 2015, Stewart noted that other MPs across Canada, including Conservative James Moore and New Democrat Fin Donnelly (New Westminster-Coquitlam-Port Moody), have already announced their intentions. Donnelly will run in the new Port Moody-Coquitlam riding next time around.
"This is really an Elections Canada timeline now," Stewart said. "Mine was probably one of the most radical changes in the country so that's why it's taken me a bit longer to think through this."
Elections Canada's process of creating the new electoral districts includes establishing new constituency associations with legal requirements such as new bank accounts and executives. And with some believing a 2014 election could be possible, Stewart said he expects nominations will be held next year to ensure the party is ready in any case.
For MP Peter Julian, his current riding of Burnaby-New Westminster will be no more, replaced by New Westminster-Burnaby East, which will include all of the Royal City and less of South Burnaby.
Julian is currently mulling over whether or not to run for the BC NDP leadership, to succeed outgoing leader Adrian Dix, and hasn't actually thought about the next federal election.
However, "I live right in the middle of the new riding (New Westminster-Burnaby East) and my family's lived there for four generations and I feel very much at home in that community, but it's not something I'm thinking about right now."
He said he is glad to hear Stewart and Donnelly will run again in the new ridings as "they really make a solid contribution to Parliament and their communities."