Journal: News & Comment

Tuesday, June 29, 2004
# 7:39:00 AM:

Plus ça change...

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In my riding of Burnaby-Douglas, voters elected New Democratic Party candidate Bill Siksay by a comfortable but not overwhelming margin yesterday.

The NDP and its leftist predecessor, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, have held this riding for most of the past 50 years (including having party founder and leader Tommy Douglas as Member of Parliament). MP Svend Robinson, who stepped down under controversy only a few weeks ago, had served here for 25 years. Siksay didn't even have signs ready when the election was called, yet he won anyway, despite being opposed by a hand-picked star candidate, Bill Cunningham, who is President of B.C.'s division of the federal Liberal Party.

Like Robinson, for whom he has worked as an office assistant for nearly 20 years, Siksay is openly gay—yet I was pleased that no one, Siksay included, made any sort of issue whatsoever out of it during the campaign. In that and many other things, Siksay has benefited from Robinson's long legacy here in Burnaby, and in Canada's Parliament. As he has said himself, Robinson is a tough act to follow, but Siksay is well placed to do a good job. The NDP has nearly twice as many seats as it did before the election, and with a Liberal minority government in place, things could be interesting in Ottawa for the next few years. Or months.


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