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Federal Election Profile: Burnaby and New Westminster

Last Updated Jan 13, 2016 at 1:28 pm PST

(iStock Photo)
Summary

There is a new riding boundary in the region recently created by the electoral commission

The Burnaby riding sits where the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline would end

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – New riding boundaries and an area fired up over oil and pipeline issues are top of mind in the election campaigns in New Westminster and Burnaby.

The riding to watch in this region is a new one, according to UBC Political Scientist Max Cameron — Burnaby North Seymour, which spans across Burrard Inlet.

“Well it’s a new riding, so it doesn’t have a defined personality,” he says. “It was created by the new boundaries that were set up by a recent electoral commission.”

“It’s a riding that actually encompasses some fairly diverse pieces of real estate. On the one hand you’ve got Burnaby and right there is the refinery and the port where the Kinder Morgan pipeline would reach its terminus. And across the way, you’ve got North Seymour, a fairly affluent community, much more likely to vote conservatively or for the Liberals, much more likely to vote for the NDP in Burnaby.”

So which way might it go?

Cameron says his take has changed since the writ was dropped.

“It appeared to be an NDP/Conservative race, but as we’ve seen the fortunes of the NDP slide a little bit and the Liberals, have been doing quite well, that means then it gets to be much more of a tight three way race. And of course, [and] add to the mix the Green candidate, who’s a professor at Simon Fraser who was arrested on Burnaby Mountain protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline, you’ve now got yourself a very interesting potential four-way race.”

And the Trans Mountain pipeline is one of the key issues in this area — also probably the reason why it’s a safe bet that two NDP incumbents could be re-elected.

Peter Julian in New-Westminster Burnaby and Kennedy Stewart in Burnaby South have both championed the issue over their last four years as MPs.

But Julian says there are other things top of mind like the economy, infrastructure and health care.

“When we look at Burnaby Hospital, when we look at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, the cutbacks are starting to have a real impact on those hospitals’ abilities to serve.”

All three ridings in Burnaby and New Westminster have different electoral boundaries than in 2011.