Nov 3,2011 Tri City News
The union representing city and school board staff in the Tri-Cities is endorsing 24 candidates running for office in the Nov. 19 civic elections.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) yesterday released its list of endorsements, covering Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and Anmore (there is no election in Belcarra as all candidates were acclaimed).
In Coquitlam, CUPE is supporting Coun. Barrie Lynch for mayor as well as councillors Neal Nicholson and Selina Robinson plus challengers Randy Delmonico, Craig Hodge, Fred Soofi and Vincent Wu for council; the union is also backing incumbents Gail Alty, Diane Sowden and Gerri Wallis for the School District 43 board of education.
In Port Coquitlam, the union is not backing anyone for mayor but is throwing its support behind incumbent council candidates Glenn Pollock and Brad West plus challengers Jamie Arden, Chris Carr and Dean Washington; it’s also backing Bob Lee for one of PoCo’s two school trustee jobs.
In Port Moody, CUPE is supporting Coun. Mike Clay for mayor plus, for council, Coun. Bob Elliott and challengers Rick Glumac, Barbara Junker, Sylvia Richardson, Zoe Royer and Robert Vagramov (there is no election for school board as both incumbents were acclaimed).
And, in Anmore, CUPE is recommending to its members incumbent Heather Anderson for mayor.
Many of the those candidates also have received endorsements from other union organizations. Last month, the New Westminster and District Labour Council endorsed, in Coquitlam, Lynch, Delmonico, Nicholson, Robinson, Soofi and Wu; in PoCo, Mayor Greg Moore plus councillors Pollock, West and Darrell Penner; and in PoMo, Glumac, Junker and Kevin Hagglund. For school trustee, it also backed Brian Robinson in Coquitlam.
Tri-City union presidents Ken Landgraff (Local 386, which represents Coquitlam civic employees), Dave Ginter (Local 561, SD43 employees), Cheryl Rutledge (Local 498, PoCo city workers) and Bill Blackwood (Local 825, PoMo city workers) were at the CUPE national convention in Vancouver and were not available for comment by press time yesterday.
But Bruce Richardson, vice-president of the SD43 CUPE local 561 said candidates who are considered for endorsement tend to have a “social-minded agenda.” He also said some receive financial donations while others prefer just to be on the poll card sent out to the 5,000 CUPE members who live in the Tri-Cities.
“We’re not telling our members who to vote for,” he said. “It’s just, this is the list of approved candidates from your labour action party.”
Coquitlam Coun. Brent Asmundson, who garnered CUPE approval for his 2002, 2005 and 2008 campaigns, won’t be on this year’s card — likely, he said, because he was the only labour-backed politician on council not to support Coun. Nicholson’s notice of motion to bring Coquitlam’s garbage pick-up service in-house. The loss of the CUPE endorsement “is a disappointment but my belief is that I do what’s best for the citizens of Coquitlam,” Asmundson said.
Asmundson, who received $2,000 from CUPE in the 2008 civic race, said he has support from the Coquitlam firefighters’ union. As well, the Coast Mountain Bus Company bus driver expects to be backed from CAW Local 111, of which he’s a member.
Four-term SD43 PoCo trustee John Keryluk said he didn’t know until The Tri-City News called that he wasn’t CUPE endorsed this year — his first time campaigning without labour support. “Of course, it’s not good,” he said, adding, “I have been around for quite a while and I have been supportive of CUPE for years. I’m hoping the people will still vote for me.”
Brian Robinson, a Coquitlam school trustee for 12 years who also didn’t know about the lack of CUPE endorsement when contacted by The News, said he isn’t bothered he didn’t make the list, though he didn’t apply to be on it as he had in other years.
“I’m surprised but I’ll just carry on,” Robinson said. “People know me from my community work and as city councillor. I’m not planning to put up signs or hand out brochures. I just run on my name and record.”
Meanwhile, the Coquitlam and PoCo firefighters’ unions also unveiled their lists of endorsed candidates.
In Coquitlam, they are: incumbents Richard Stewart for mayor and Asmundson, Nicholson, Doug Macdonell, Mae Reid, Linda Reimer, Selina Robinson and Lou Sekora for council along with council challengers Delmonico and Hodge.
Pollock and West also have firefighters’ endorsements in PoCo while, in Port Moody, the firefighters’ union has yet to release its list.