The New Democrats versus the Kult of Kuo

In an interview with Public Eye, provincial New Democrat executive director Gerry Scott confirmed Tony Nobody's nomination papers were rejected by the party's provincial executive three days ago. Mr. Kuo had earlier announced he would be running for the New Democrat nomination in Burnaby-Willingdon before going on vacation.

According to Mr. Scott, the former federal Liberal non-candidate was rejected because the 32-person executive didn't think it would be appropriate for a potential New Democrat MLA to have recently flirted with running for the Campbell administration. That's a reference to a story, published in the Vancouver Sun back in November, which quoted an email from Mr. Kuo where he wrote "I have a B.C. Liberal nomination package and a B.C. (New) Democrat nomination package. I am facing a dual draft movement from the B.C. Liberals and the B.C. (New) Democrats."

Mr. Scott also added that, yesterday, the provincial executive approved nomination papers for Chinese media commentator Gabriel Yiu and failed Vancouver-Kensington nomination candidate Umendra Singh, both of whom will now be running for the party nod in Burnaby-Willingdon.

Already campaigning for that nomination are former British Columbia and Yukon Building and Construction Trades Council executive director Tom Sigurdson, provincial New Democrat Burnaby-Willington 2001 election candidate David Myles and lawyer Michael Walton. Messrs. Walton and Sigurdson rumoured to have dropped out of the race and endorsed Mr. Yiu.

14 Comments

Maybe Kuo should make an appointment to see Dr. B.C.

What. No women?

What is Bill Siskay doing now? Is he condemning Gerry Scott? Take a look at his comments during the federal election, saying how bad Paul Martin and the Liberals were for denying Tony Kuo the candidacy. At least the NDP is more honest, and rejected Tony Kuo outright. The Liberals appointed Cunninhgam over Kuo because there really are no grounds to reject Kuo other than insanity.

Insane people have the right to run! That's what democracy is about. Now both the NDP and the federal Liberals are colluding to take out all the entertainment in our political process.

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Vancouver Sun
Page A1
May 26, 2004

Burnaby NDP back Robinson's aide as candidate

By Glenn Bohn

New Democrats chose Svend Robinson's long-time aide late Tuesday as the NDP candidate for Burnaby-Douglas, the federal seat the human rights crusader and environmental activist held for a quarter-century.

Robinson resigned the nomination last month after admitting he had pocketed an expensive diamond ring.

Taking his place is Bill Siksay, 49, an NDP member for 20 years and Robinson's constituency assistant for 18 years. Siksay praised the work Robinson has done over the years, and said he would continue it.

Burnaby Councillor Pietro Calendino -- the only other person who sought the nomination -- also praised Robinson while wooing about 200 voting NDP members in a north Burnaby seniors centre, saying they owed Robinson a large debt of gratitude for his work.

But Siksay went further.

Without any explicit reference to the $50,000 diamond ring that Robinson admitted he pocketed at an auction house in Richmond, Siksay declared: "Given what has happened in recent weeks, I'm not prepared to see that work fall by the wayside. Now, I'm not Svend, and his shoes are very, very large. There are perhaps only a few of us who would ever agree with every stand Svend has taken over the years. But like Svend, I recognize the need to stand up, speak and show courage when it matters most.

"I'm fiercely proud of Svend's record, whether it was coming out [as a gay man] in 1988, protesting at Haida Gwaii, Clayoquot and Quebec City, confronting Ronald Reagan in the House of Commons . . ."

Siksay, whose biography states that he has been living with partner Brian Burke, a United Church minister, for 24 years, offered a long list of causes he would also champion, from opposing the militarization of space to support for the Kyoto Accord to cut greenhouse gases.

Siksay won the nomination by an undisclosed majority.

He is up against Liberal candidate Bill Cunningham, whose controversial appointment by Prime Minister Paul Martin May 7 angered two Chinese-Canadians who had been seeking the nomination.

Cunningham, a Martin supporter since 1989, has been president of the B.C. wing of the federal Liberal Party since 2000.

One of the disappointed would-be candidates, Tony Kuo, accused the Liberals of discriminating against non-whites. The entire executive of the Liberal riding association quit in protest.

George Drazenovic, the Conservative candidate for Burnaby-Douglas, then urged disenchanted Liberals to consider joining the Conservative Party.

Siksay chided Martin for appointing a Liberal candidate instead of allowing a free vote.

"Paul Martin has shown no respect for democracy," Siksay said. "How dare he talk about the democratic deficit and then appoint his buddies and other turncoats as candidates?"

Robinson didn't attend the meeting, but in a statement read out there, he said he is "on the road to a full recovery" and hopes to re-enter politics one day.

The B.C. Attorney-General's Ministry still hasn't disclosed whether Robinson will face criminal charges.

Investigators with the RCMP detachment submitted their report to prosecutors in late April. Special prosecutor Len Doust, a defence lawyer hired by the Attorney-General's Ministry, was to recommend whether Robinson should be prosecuted.

An official who speaks for the ministry's criminal justice division could not be reached Tuesday to answer questions about the matter.

gbohn@png.canwest.com

Hey I referred to it as a cult before you did Sean, there will be legal action regarding this (I can assure you of it).

Seriously though, the NDP did a smart thing here. And if Tony Kuo decided to do this with regards to the BC Liberal nomination, the most logical thing for them to do would be to reject the nomination. Mr. Kuo seems like more of a determent than an asset.

Yah think?

Had Tony Kuo remained quiet, he would still have a chance to run for the fed Lib in the next election. Bill wont live up to the legacy left by Svend. Now, she has become a Tony nobody, NOBODY CARES.

I would also like to announce that I am running for the NDP nomination in Burnaby Willingdon. Hope to get lots of support.

Warren

It is fundamentally undemocratic of the NDP not to let him try for the nomination. If the members in that riding want Tony Kuo, that is there business.

The NDP has managed years with some completely useless and non progresive MLAs - why would this be worse than that?

All this speaks to is that power in BC is the hands of a small group of people within the major political parties and they work in their own interests, not in the interests of increased voter choice.

We need BC STV

That is ridiculous Bernard. Every party has every right (and indeed a responsibility) to screen candidates. All parties do this because of the damage to the party that can be caused by an embarrassing candidate. This would not change under STV either. Indeed, I would argue that under STV parties would bear an even greater responsibility to screen the people who appear on their party lists.

I have to mostly agree with Bernard.

We do need STV.

However, I think that parties in general should not deny the candiacy of an individual unless their is a good reason to, such as criminal records, problematic public statements, mental sanity, etc.

Now whether Tony "no party will let me run for a nomination" Kuo, has done things that should warrant his elimination from even running in a nomination is a good question.

He did try to run for the Fed Libs, but hey there are a lot of lefty fed libs who vote BC NDP.

It is a tough call to ban Kuo from even trying to run for the NDP nomination.

I think the NDP is being a little two faced in that if the BC Libs or Fed Libs or Fed Conservatives barred someone like Tony Kuo from even running for a nomination there would be crys of racist and or elitism.

Oh wait that did have in Burnaby Douglas in 2004, certainly did not help Bill "Mark Marisen Appointed Me and Blocked Tony Kuo" Cuningham.

Cheers
Newman

I'm no dipper, but I think the NDP made the right decision in not letting Kuo run. The nomination process for all parties is the weak link and the avenue by which all kinds of shameless self promoters propell themselves into positions of power. Unfortunately, the will to change the nomination process isn't there among those who have managed to get nominated and then elected. Most parties' nomination approval processes are a joke. They might screen out pedophiles but not much else.

I have to agree with Sam. It is a parties responsibility to screen for candiadates who are less than open in their reasoning behind running for a certain party. Tony Kuo is an oppturtunist pure and simple. He sees the large oriental population in Burnaby and can smell votes, and a nice new job. Whats next Tony, Greens? If Tony truely believes he is the candidate that Burnaby (for some reason) needs, than why not run as an independent?

We have political parties that have a lock on political power and then set up a nomination process that effectively means most people in BC have simply accept the choices of tiny groups of in people. And then the parties use their undemocratic powers to twart people that want to run for them.

Is there any reason the NDP can give the Tony Kuo should not run for them? Certainly he seems to have been a member of the NDP, so is his crime that he has the temerity to speak out?

This fundamentally corrupt use of arbitary party power is simply wrong.

We need electoral reform in BC now.

We need to have proper campaign finance reform

We need to have open and public primary processes for who gets a party nomination. It is undemocratic that closed private societies are allowed to disenfranchise 98% of the people of the province.

Bernard

ps If there was a primary process, I am 100% there would be a lot more women running for the NDP. Primary processes are not fully under the control of middle aged upper middle class white professional men.

Bernard, don't be disingenuous; you KNOW that absolutely anyone, so long as they are not already a member of another political party, is free to join the NDP, or any other party, for that matter. What's more, most candidates have been going door to door for some time, trying to get as many people as possible into the 'tiny groups of in people' you reference. The concern over Tony Kuo, I believe, was the fact that he was not an NDP member as recently as several months ago, when he boasted publically of having a BC Liberal nomination package in his posession. Can you name any other potential candidates that you feel have been unduly thwarted?

If you've been watching the NDP's nomination process, and it seems you have, I'd be happy if you could show me evidence of the interference you speak of. There are a lot of things in this world to hold such righteous anger towards, but I fear that you're drastically off-target here.

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