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Election 2013: The race to represent

Five candidates, four weeks. The provincial election is coming to an end and on May 14 voters will choose the new MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky.



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Richard Warrington

Green day in West Van


Green Party candidate Richard Warrington explains on the phone he hasn't been able to get out on the road yet. It's the day of the deadline for candidates to register, Friday, April 26, and since he declared his intentions to run earlier in the week he has been concentrating on securing the 75 signatures needed to get on the ballot.

This now accomplished and submitted to Elections BC, he can turn his mind to campaigning. He invites me to an all-candidates gathering the following afternoon at the West Vancouver Memorial Library.

The Civic Association of Iranian-Canadians has organized it; 40 or so members of that community, along with other voters, assemble to hear candidates from two ridings, West Vancouver-Sea to Sky and West-Vancouver Capilano. Attendance is not compulsory, four candidates out of five from the latter riding are there, and two — Warrington and the NDP's Ana Santos — make it from West Vancouver-Sea to Sky. There's Earl Grey Tea and homemade cookies.

Questions come in English and Farsi (translated). Warrington tackles the task as a teacher would. He refuses the mic offered and raises his voice to the point where the hard-of-hearing, who inevitably seat themselves in the final row, can hear him. He writes copious notes as the other candidates answer questions and stands each time his turn comes.

He's a persuasive speaker; his inexperience and the impossibility of the Greens forming the next government are not hidden. He says the Greens would be lucky to get four MLAs to Victoria, but this would be an influential beachhead into bringing their influence into the legislature. He refers to his 25 years in Denmark and what it taught him about sustainability. He is relentlessly hopeful and he says he ran to fill the Green-shaped hole in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky.

"I became a politician about a week ago when someone told me, 'there's no Green candidate in your riding!'... We'd like to see balance and sustainability at all levels of government. Green is not just green environment. We'd like to see sustainability in the economy, in social services as well. I support those values and that is why I am talking to you about the Green Party today," he tells the audience.

Campaign manager Taylor Verrall tells me they had been playing catch-up a bit after coming into the running so late.

"The other teams have their signs up and they've been working the ground a bit," he says, adding they will concentrate on those areas in the riding that are traditionally strong for the party. "Last time around, with (former candidate) Jim Stephenson, we got 23 per cent of vote. That's a respectable amount for a party that has never elected an MLA."

10 Questions with Richard Warrington:

  1. Name one thing we don't know about you:
    I once went skydiving.
  2. Describe yourself in three words:
    Patient, principled, and persistent.
  3. Describe this riding in three words:
    Vast, diverse, hospitable.
  4. Apart from politicking, what do you most like to do?
    Read, run, sail and say, "yes" to questions like, "How would you like to..?" (Actually don't even like "politicking" that much).
  5. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    A new challenge or adventure — and being able to share it with my special someone.
  6. What books do you have on your bedside table?
    A spy thriller, Plato's Apology, and two to three magazines that I never seem to get to.
  7. What is your greatest achievement to date?
    The personal ballast I got from finishing my first marathon.
  8. Tell us about what you got up to on your last non-work/non-campaigning outing in this riding.
    A several-hour long run on a new trail near Horseshoe Bay.
  9. Which living person do you most admire?
    The Dalai Lama.
  10. What is your motto?
    "I've been put here on Earth to be good toward others. What the others are here for — I don't know." The real quote is: "We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for, I don't know," by W.H. Auden.