More cannon fodder

Our unofficial and intrepid provincial New Democrat nomination correspondent Adam Tondowsky reports the founding president of the Canadian Farmworkers Union, Raj Chouhan, will be representing the party in Burnaby-Edmunds during the upcoming election. Mr. Chouhan currently works as the bargaining director for the Hospital Employees' Union. Public Eye has also learned Weldwood of Canada Ltd. manager Bob Simpson, an ex-provincial Liberal, has been elected the New Democrat candidate for Cariboo-North. According to insiders, his competitor, former caucus researcher Sarah Hilbert-West, received 93 votes to Mr. Simpson's 150 (with most of his support coming in the form of mail-in ballots from the southern end of the riding). The following is a copy of Mr. Simpson's campaign bio.

Who is Bob Simpson?

A Husband & Father

I have been married nineteen years to Trish Simpson, an elementary school teacher. We have 2 wonderful, academic, athletic and artistic children: Jonathan (14) and Jillian (12). We’ve lived in Quesnel for almost 20 years, and choose to continue to live here despite many opportunities over the years to move away.

An Immigrant

I was born in Glasgow, Scotland where I grew up in the post-war slums before being moved to a new government housing scheme. My parents, both uneducated labourers, worked very hard to bring us to Canada and to create a new life in this great country for me and my four brothers. We originally immigrated to Winnipeg, Manitoba but my family made their way West after a visit to BC when I was stationed at CFB Esquimalt in Victoria during my time in the Navy.

A World Traveler

I spent two years in the Canadian Navy, traveling to Japan and up and down the Western Coast from Alaska to Mexico. Subsequent to this I traveled extensively throughout Canada, the US and Europe. I’ve lived for extended periods in Glasgow, Chicago, Vienna, Cairo, Khartoum (Sudan) and Brussels. In the late 1970’s, I took food, clothing and literature to political and religious dissidents throughout Eastern Europe when it was behind the "Iron Curtain" and did literacy work in Sudan during the onset of the civil war that has since devastated that nation. During this same period I took supplies into the political refugee camps in Vienna and the Ethiopian refugee camps in southern Sudan.

An Educator

After graduating from the University of Victoria with a B.A (History) and a B.Sc. (Biology), I completed my Professional Teaching Certificate and came to Quesnel to teach at Quesnel Secondary. During my seven years at this school I was Science Department Head, coached basketball, initiated and sponsored the Environment Club, and created a number of new programs which engaged students more directly in their own learning.

A Writer

For a number of years I wrote an environmental column for the Cariboo Observer and freelanced for a variety of magazines. For a time I was a feature writer and Associate Editor for a national environmental magazine called "Earthkeeper," for which I covered the Rio Earth Summit and the first few Globe Conferences in Vancouver. I also researched and drafted the BC Roundtable on Environment and Economy’s “Education for Sustainability” discussion paper.

An Entrepreneur

After leaving teaching, I started my own consulting business, primarily working in the areas of community and human resource development. During this time I did the initial research for a community forest in Quesnel, facilitated the announcement of the Cariboo-Chilcotin CORE Report, and initiated the recycling program in Quesnel. I also ran a Small Business training program for EI recipients. My final contract as a consultant was to research, start-up and manage the North Cariboo Community Skills Centre, the most successful of these centres in the province. While I was consulting, I also started up a retail store called "Fundamentals" which sold high end toys, games and puzzles along with teaching aids and supplies. I also owned J & J Shoes with two partners.

A Volunteer

For the past few years my work travel schedule has precluded me from committing to community-based groups and activities. Prior to this however, I was involved in many provincial and local initiatives, including: the Fraser Basin Management Board, the BC Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Business Association, Rotary, the City of Quesnel’s Environmental Committee, and the Quesnel & District Economic Development Commission. I am currently a member of the Quesnel 2020 steering committee and active on the QSS Parent Advisory Council.
I have also organized many sports events (such as the Dragonman Triathlon) and have coached basketball, soccer and cycling (including taking a team to the BC Summer Games). For the past three years, my entire family has committed December to February to the Kersley Musical Theatre and we’ve sung, danced and acted together with the other talented folks in that organization.

An Athlete

I was named the 2002 Male Triathlete of the Year for British Columbia after winning my age group at the National Championships in Edmonton and the Provincial Championships in Penticton. In 2002, I placed 5th at the Triathlon World Championships in Cancun, Mexico. I am also an Ironman, competitive mountain bike racer, and was Interior Tae Kwon Do Sparring Champion (Intermediate Division).

A Hard Worker

I've worked hard all my life. I left home at age 16 and had to work my way through University. As a youth, I worked as a labourer in the mining industry, a meat packing plant, a mobile home manufacturing plant, and a plywood plant. I also tree planted in Northern Alberta and BC.

For the past eight years, I've worked for Weldwood of Canada. I started with Weldwood Quesnel during the start-up of the new lumber mill and have gradually been advanced to my current position as Manager (Corporate) Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership Development. I support change processes throughout our operations in BC and Alberta, and coach management teams on how to have a more participative workplace.

1 Comment

Thanks for covering the story. Just a couple of corrections. My stint with the Liberals was short, late 1995 and early 96 and I walked away when I realized that under Campbell the Liberals were liberal in name only.

According to the vote count, I won both the mail-in and the voting in the house. The majority of the votes overall were from the Quesnel area, the southern votes were in the minority, so it would not have been possible for me to have won on the strength of my southern support (an area that's been neglected by our MLA). Those gathered at the nomination meeting responded enthusiastically to the announcement that I would be their candidate.

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