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Election results cause New Westminster-Burnaby candidates to question the pandemic election call

Candidates appreciate “respectful” local campaign
New Westminster-Burnaby Candidates 2021
Five candidates ran in New Westminster-Burnaby in the 2021 federal election: Clockwise from top left: Kevin Heide (PPC), Rozina Jaffer (Liberal), Peter Julian (NDP), Paige Munro (Conservative) and David Macdonald (Green).

“For this we paid $600 million?”

That’s the question posed by New Westminster-Burnaby Green candidate David Macdonald about Monday night’s federal election results, which suggest the political landscape in Ottawa isn’t going to be all that different than it was before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a snap election.

“A campaign during the fourth wave of the pandemic was never going to go as well as it should – for any party,” Macdonald said in an email to the Record. “I refused to allow any door-to-door canvassing by volunteers because I could not have lived with myself had a single volunteer or a single voter contracted the Delta variant as a result of a chat on the doorstep.”

With mail-in ballots still being tabulated as of the Record’s presstime, the final breakdown of seats in the House of Commons is yet to be finalized. 

Currently, the Liberals sit on top with enough seats (158) for form a minority government, followed by the Conservatives (119), the Bloc (45), the NDP (25) and the Greens (2). That’s not all that different than the results of the 2019 federal election, when the Liberals won 157 seats in the House of Commons, topping the Conservatives (121), the Bloc (32), the NDP (24) and the Greens (two).

“Basically it’s very similar to the composition of Parliament before Mr. Trudeau called the election,” said incumbent NDP MP Peter Julian, who was re-elected in New Westminster-Burnaby. “It begs the question: why did he call an election in the middle of a pandemic?”

Macdonald said two seats won by the Greens aren’t the five he’d hoped the party would have in the House of Commons, but he’s confident they will serve Canadians well.

“This is by no means the end of the GPC,” he said. “Do we need electoral reform?  Ask the Conservatives, who won the popular vote but got fewer seats than the Liberals.”

Macdonald said he’s proud that he gave 1,860 of his neighbours a Green Party of Canada candidate they could vote for in the election. “I'll be able to look my grandchild in the eye and say, ‘Granddad did what he could, my love.’"

New Westminster-Burnaby Liberal candidate Rozina Jaffer placed second in the local race with about 23.9% of the vote.

“It looks like we are about similar to what we were when we went into this election,” she said of the national results. “I think all of the parties how have to have learned a lesson. I think they all have to work together a little bit more with a little more efficiency. I think that’s the important thing right now. What we are learning is that the parties need to learn to work together.”

In calling the 44th federal election, Trudeau had hoped the Liberals would win enough seats to form a majority government.

“I take things as they come. I am sure there was always a lot of hope that we would win a majority, but I don’t necessarily look at it that way,” Jaffer said. “For me, it is what it is.”

New Westminster-Burnaby candidates reached by the Record had high praise for their opponents in the 2021 election campaign.

“Peter Julian is to be congratulated on his seventh win.  It was well deserved.  Peter has been a tireless public servant for the people of New Westminster-Burnaby,” Macdonald said. “I'd congratulate the other candidates as well because the campaign was always respectful.”

Jaffer wished Julian the best of success in the new Parliament and thanked the other candidates for their well-run campaigns.

Julian, a veteran politician, acknowledged the contributions of all candidates.

“I congratulate all the other candidates who stepped forward. It is something that is very important in our democracy. I think it’s very, very important that people step forward for all of the other parties,” he said. “All their candidates presented their cases as effectively as possible. I thank them for their contribution to our democratic life.”

The Record reached out to New Westminster-Burnaby Conservative candidate Paige Munro and People’s Party candidate Kevin Haige but had not received a response by presstime.