BURNABY, B.C. — Burnaby North-Seymour
Former New Democrat MP Svend Robinson is attempting a political comeback in Burnaby North-Seymour, nearly 15 years after his theft of an expensive diamond ring brought an end to his decades-long career. Robinson pleaded guilty to theft over $5,000 after stealing an engagement ring from an auction where it was valued at $64,500 in 2004. He revealed he was suffering from bipolar disorder at the time and says he has paid for his “stupid mistake.” He announced in January that he was jumping back into political life for two fundamental reasons: climate change and the affordable housing crisis. He’ll attempt to unseat Liberal Terry Beech in the riding that contains the terminus of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The Liberal government has purchased the pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion, but Beech voted against the project in the House of Commons, saying a majority of his constituents oppose it.
Population: 102,486 (Elections Canada)
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Incumbent: Terry Beech (Liberal)
Main challengers: Robinson is held in high regard among NDP supporters and also grew up in the community. The Conservatives turfed Heather Leung as their candidate late in the campaign over comments she made in the past about lesbian, gay and transgender people. Leung’s name remains on the ballot as a Conservative, however. Astrophysicist Amita Kuttner is the Greens’ pick, while the People’s Party of Canada has chosen Rocky Dong, who made a splash in June with an unusual boxing-themed campaign video.
Election history: The riding encompasses an area previously included in Burnaby-Douglas and North Vancouver before boundaries were redrawn in 2012. Beech won the 2015 election with 36 per cent of the vote, beating retired judge and NDP candidate Carol Baird Ellan, who earned 30 per cent of the vote.
Fun Fact: Brian Sproule, the Marxist-Leninist candidate in Burnaby North-Seymour in the last federal election, obtained the fewest votes of any candidate in the country with just 39 ballots cast for him.
The Canadian Press