Opinion: Burnaby is becoming a national political laughingstock. Enough!

This first anecdote is going to sound like an egregious back-patting extravaganza, but I’m writing about it anyways.

I was at a Burnaby restaurant with a friend when a young server approached me and asked if I worked for the NOW. Once confirmed, she shared how she recently had read some of my blogs about Heather Leung and she was so embarrassed by it all that she had decided to vote for the very first time in her life on Oct. 21.

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I had inspired her.

After she walked away, my friend said with all the sarcasm he could drip that I had probably paid her to say that in front of him.

I should have felt proud, but I was too busy being embarrassed by this debacle – one of many to hit Burnaby politics in the past year.

You see, I watch the analytics closely showing who reads Burnaby NOW stories and from where. During the past few months that I have been writing about Leung and her homophobic beliefs, it’s clear that a lot of people reading these stories are not just from Burnaby, but from across Canada.

Things have come to a head in the past week as the Conservative Party of Canada first Leung as a candidate. That news has been intensely read across our nation.

Great, another political embarrassment for Burnaby.

It’s just the latest in a string of them. The last one was during February’s Burnaby South byelection when Liberal candidate Karen Wang was first by her party for something she posted on WeChat.

karen wang press conference one
It seemed like every possible Metro Vancouver media outlet was on hand for the Karen Wang press conference. - CHRIS CAMPBELL PHOTO

Wang doubled-down for a minute by staging a bizarre press conference in front of pretty much every media outlet in Metro Vancouver. That story also shone a national spotlight of shame on Burnaby.

Then there was Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, who ran for the People’s Party of Canada. Her antics during the campaign were widely read by people across Canada. So was her candidacy for Burnaby school trustee in 2018, which highlighted her anti-transgender views.

Burnaby is actually a reasonably progressive city, but these high-profile incidents are giving people a bad impression of our city.

I’m fed up with it. I’d rather people talk about all our new rainbow crosswalks and our second Pride festival and the fact that Burnaby's Svend Robinson was the first openly gay federal politician in Canada instead of this hateful garbage.

I can’t wait until Oct. 22.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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