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Burnaby's Svend Robinson 'seriously' considering return to federal politics

Former NDP MP whose political career ended in scandal plans to door-knock in Burnaby
Svend Robinson

Former longtime Burnaby MP Svend Robinson is “seriously” considering a return to federal politics.

The New Democrat was in office for 25 years before pulling out of the 2004 race after admitting he had stolen an expensive diamond ring from a Richmond auction house.

Since then, he has spent most of his time working internationally, including for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. That tenure ended when he hit the organization’s mandatory retirement age of 65 last year.

Robinson and his partner have since coming back to B.C. from Switzerland.

In March, he told the NOW he didn’t think he would be making a return to politics, but left the door open.

“You know well enough you never say absolutely out of the question, but I had 25 years,” he said at the time.

But that door seems to be much more open six months later.

“I think it's fair to say there's been a lot of people encouraging me – not just New Democrats but other people as well – to consider getting involved again and possibly running in the area that I grew up in, in [Burnaby North–Seymour],” Robinson said last week.

The next federal election is on Oct. 21, 2019.

The riding is currently represented by Liberal Terry Beech who won in 2015 with 36 per cent of the vote over the NDP’s Carol Baird Ellan, who received 29 per cent.

Since returning to the area, Robinson said he has heard from many people disappointed with their representation. He pointed to the Liberals failure to implement promised electoral reform or address skyrocketing housing costs facing people in the riding, which includes much of North Burnaby and part of North Vancouver. 

He also said locals have told him they are concerned about the federal government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The project’s Burnaby Mountain tank farm and Westridge marine terminal are both in Beech’s riding.

School board trustee and NDP stalwart Ron Burton told the NOW in September that Robinson has reached out to him and requested help on a potential campaign.

But Robinson said he had yet to make a final call on whether to run once more. He said he would continue talking with local people in the riding, including while door-knocking, and would make a decision in the coming weeks.

“It's something that I – I think it's fair to say – I am looking at seriously,” he said.


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