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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Winner Declared - Delta Free Press Candidate Challenge

Delta Votes 2010 By-electionSince announcing the candidate challenge, two question gets asked all the time. "Why are you doing this challenge?", and "Isn't endorsing a single candidate biased?"

The answer to the first question is easy. By-elections rarely inspire people to get out and vote. When you add to that, the general malaise of having an election cycle which spans the summer months, you get even less participation. The Delta Free Press Candidate Challenge was our attempt to inject some excitement into this less than exciting by-election and get the public more involved with the candidates.

As an inducement for candidate participation the winner will receive the following:

  1. Editorial endorsement by the Delta Free Press
  2. Free advertising on the Delta Free Press (for the duration of the election cycle and pursuant to election advertising rules.)
  3. Prime lawn sign location on private land (which, as it turns out is in very short supply with the way signs are being knocked down on public land)
  4. A campaign donation of $200
  5. And (most importantly) my vote.

The second question regarding bias is even easier to answer, "Yes, it is absolutely biased." That's really the point of an editorial endorsement and I make no bones about it. I have chosen one candidate above all the others for reasons that affect me and the people I care for. I looked for personality, integrity, and trustworthiness as key factors and then I carefully analyzed each candidate. Who in the community was supporting them? What was there platform? Where did they publicly stand on the issues? I took all my research and distilled it down to what really mattered. Then I chose the absolute best person to represent Delta until the next general municipal election.

Initially the challenge was issued in the form of a questionnaire. What came as a shock was the resistance by the candidates as a whole to actually fill in a very generic online form. I took into account that many of the candidates may not be tech savvy and gave them low tech options as well, but to no avail. I'm not going to try and augur the reasons why some candidates chose to ignore the questionnaire. I can only guess that they either:

a) felt that the readers of Delta Free Press, which measures in the thousands since the by-election, wasn't their target audience, or
b) they didn't want their answers out in public fora to be picked apart and debated.

An act of cowardice? Maybe. But lets be honest with ourselves. Perhaps we expect too much of the people that would contend for the public's trust?

Fortunately, the field managed to cull itself, as it usually does. With only Kathleen E. Higgins and Sylvia Bishop choosing to answer the questions facing our community, this should have made my decision easier, but I will say without hesitation that both Higgins and Bishop are model candidates. I believe their ethics and integrity are above reproach and we would be so lucky to have four more candidates of their caliber in next year's election.

I don't want to go into too much detail about how I chose the winner as I intend to write an analysis of each candidate in future columns (consider yourselves warned). After weighing my choices, I have decided to endorse the candidate that I feel can bring the strongest voice to the council chamber, someone who will stand up for all of Delta's citizens, a shining beacon of righteousness to correct the faltering moral compass of our current mayor and council, a political warrior who wont sell the future of our children off to greenfield developers offering magic beans. It is for this reason that I am pleased to endorse...

Sylvia Bishop

Sylvia Bishop


  1. I was wondering when you were going to announce a winner. I think your choice is spot on. I was reading another local publication today and they were talking about candidates from the south. There is really only one choice in this election and you chose well. If you don't vote for Sylvia Bishop you are voting to develop the Southlands and every other piece of farmland that you can grow a house on.

    Devries doesn't have much of a following. She towed the Liberal line for a long time and has nothing to show for it.

    And Ian Paton? A vote for Ian "Pave the Farm" Paton is as good as saying, "I hate my children and grandchildren and I want them to struggle as hard as possible their whole lives searching for a decent source of fresh food."

    Fortunately, Mayor Lois Jackson's endorsement of Ian Paton is the kiss of death here in the South. There is no love for her here and Krista Englland can attest to that. So unless Paton has some new found support in the North he's done, and good riddance.

  2. As everyone knows, Ian Paton is a long time farmer and Delta resident, 3rd generation with a 4th generation of Paton's also now living on the same family farm. He is all about saving the farmland, farmers and farming families that have continued to farm here in Delta for many generations, in spite of armchair "experts" like yourself.
    Where do you come up with "pave the farm" Paton from??

  3. Oh Bob....yes I remember you now. The one who isulted the DFI and the farmers of Delta. Nice one.
    I think you also made reference to Yoda.
    "Armchair expert" is a great name for you.

  4. SUPRIZE, SUPRIZE, SURPIZE! I'm shocked that it took you this long Elvis! After all, how much time does it really take to announce a pre-determined outcome. The real suprize however will come at around 9:00pm on September 18th. Stay tuned...the sound you will hear will be that of me....laughing my ass off!

  5. Bobs comments are a little over the top but I can understand his passion. Ian Paton did show up at municipal hall and the Metro meetings to back Toigo's Golf course development plan which required land to be removed from the ALR. Now whether you agree or not with the reasons why the land should have been allowed out. Why would Ian be on record, giving his expert opinion as a farmer that the land was unfarmable and therefore the best use of the land would be a condo development and expanded golf course?

    What was his motivation? What did he have to gain? It wasn't really a farming issue. The reason he did it is because his "friend" asked him to and as a "friend" he was obligated to do it.

    Now fast forward to after the election. What happens when Ian's "friend" puts forth a development plan for the Southlands? You get the picture. In the Optimist Paton said in regards to the Southlands, "council must consider any development application without preconceived bias." He then went on to say,"this property provides no irrigation water, which is essential to today's soil-based farmers. Few, if any, Delta farmers have shown interest in renting or leasing this property for farming purposes."

    We need to be very clear on this major point. Ian Paton will vote to develop the Southlands. He has shown to be a very loyal "friend" and when you have friends like Sean Hodgins, Peter Toigo, Lois Jackson, Scott Hamilton, Robert Campbell, and Bruce MacDonald his loyalty will be tested all the time.

    Ian Paton is the stalking horse they talk about in the Optimist. He is the litmus test to see if the developers can go crazy with the greenspace that is left in Delta.

  6. Hey Bob Sanders not Manders,

    Who are you voting for and why?

  7. Dear John Q. Public

    Ian Paton is a real farmer. He is on his tractor when others are drinking martinis. He is a voice for farming and agriculture. At the public hearings for the so-called "Toigo" development Paton spoke about the difficulty in remediating the land under discussion and to the other problems associated with farming parcels like this one. Another real farmer, Peter Guichon also spoke at the hearings and took the same position as Paton. There is no way to rationalize the economics of farming this land. It just is not possible to remediate this land and farm it at a profit. Are the people of Tsawwassen going to subsidize the farmers for farming land like this or do we all just want to look out over the bucolic acerage and claim that we saved the land while we have another martini?
    Paton is pro agriculture. Paton is not an armchair farmer(with no interest or knowledge of farming) looking to protect the view from the patio.
    An expanded golf course was always a permitted use on this land and the land the golf course occupies is in the ALR.
    The ALC approved the removal of the land for the development on the basis there was a net benefit to agriculture from the application. This comes from the addition of the land behind the Town and Country to the ALR and the placement of this and other lands under the ownership or control of the Corporation of Delta and covented to be used for nothing other than soil based agriculture.
    Paton is a real farmer who knows the economic realities of agriculture. That is his agenda. His motivation is the preservation of the ALR and the viability of farming in Delta. His friends are other real farmers.

  8. Actually, his real friends are developers and he has said so many times. He has been a long time friend to Sean Hodgins and Ron Toigo, both of whom are the two most prolific developers in South Delta. Will Mr. Paton even be able to ethically vote on any development that is proposed by their companies? I would think not because there is an automatic built in bias already. I also noted Mr. PAton's qualified statement on the development of the Southlands and would say from that answer he already has his answers as to why it should be developed.
    Besides the fact that he has been so happily and thoroughly endorsed by the tax and spend and develop wherever members of council, Mayor Jackson and Councilors Hamilton, Campbell and McDonald should serve as a warning. If you want the same old, same old at Delta Hall then by all means vote for Mr. Paton. I'm sure he's a very nice man but honestly do we really need another lapdog for Mayor Jackson and company? Do we need another councillor who is afraid of asking questions and making strong statements like we have in the very nice but ineffective King and the fraidy cat Pederson? I don't think so.
    We need someone who has proven herself able to do battle with the powers that be. Sylvia Bishop is no shrinking violet and while I may not agree with everything she may stand for at least I know what she stands for and she won't say one thing then do another. Nor will she preface her comments at council meetings with this statement, "if you don't mind your worship I'd like to ask..." like Pederson does.
    It's time for someone who's capable and that's Sylvia Bishop. Right choice Elvis, way to go.

  9. I am also a supporter of Sylvia Bishop. George Hawksworth was a retired school teacher and so is Ms Bishop. You can tell by the thoughtful comments both have made. This is the first of the wave of change thats needed at municipal hall. Most of the sitting members have been there for a long long time, and its time we had more new faces in the chamber. I sure would support a 3 term (9 year) limit for mayor and council. Its time we had a full time mayor, not one we share with the GVRD. Like the song says, The times they are a changing. About time!!

  10. At the debate I liked how Kathleen Higgins had ideas, not just ideals and general statements about Delta's "new vision". She seems to me like a smart lady for council.

  11. Not sure why you are not seeing what alot of us are seeing by endorsing Bishop over Kathleen Higgins. Here Delta has an opportunity to elect a forward thinking long time resident, who has lived and raised her family here for more than 3 decades so she has lived thru the changes and recognizes where Delta needs to go in the future. It is difficult to see how there could be a more qualified, well rounded candidate who has been successful as a lawyer, community worker, wife and mother. She has her priorities straight and her vision for Delta is the biggest reason we need her on council.

  12. Let me be clear on something. I think Katleen would make an excellent councilor and I wouldn't want to dissuade you from supporting her. Her passion about affordable housing is second to none.

    My choice of Sylvia Bishop over Kathleen Higgins should in no way reflect the admiration I feel for Kathleen Higgins. I spent weeks deciding who I would choose, I spoke to so many people from all over Delta to get their opinions on the candidates, and when my mind was made up I felt personal anguish about disappointing Kathleen. So much so, that if she does run in the next election I will endorse her with all my heart. You can expect to see her billboard grace my lawn.

    In the end, the decision came down to who I felt would be the most effective candidate in replacing George Hawksworth and who would send the right message to this council a year before the general election. Too me, Sylvia Bishop is the best woman at THIS time to elect to Delta Council. She is the wake up message that is needed at municipal hall. As a matter of fact, sending Sylvia Bishop to City Hall foreshadows Kathleen's rise to councilor in the next election.

    This is the change we have been waiting for.

    Elvis Glazier

  13. I would also like to add that if more people had the high family values that Kathleen possesses, the world would be a much better place.

    Elvis Glazier

  14. My parents are acquaintances of Sylvia Bishop, and there exact words regarding her campaign tactics and her mud slinging were "we expected better from Syliva".

  15. It is rare indeed when a candidate offers an original, well-researched and well thought-out solution to any problem facing a municipality. Kathleen Higgins has done just that on a number of issues affecting Delta residents. Her training as a lawyer is probably one reason for this. Beyond that, her dedication and true desire to improve the lives of her fellow Delta residents is a fresh and valuable alternative to so much mediocrity and political rhetoric that permeates politics at every level in British Columbia. I'm voting for Kathleen and sincerely hope that every Delta resident considers doing so as well.

  16. I'm a first time buyer, and Kathleen Higgins is the only candidate who has an actual plan for ordinary people like me to buy a home in Delta. That's why I'm supporting her.

  17. This is Kathleen Higgins. To anyone who would like to speak with me in person about my platform or any other issue affecting Delta, please come to Scottsdale Centre at Scott Road and 72nd Avenue on Saturday, September 11th, from 10 am to 6 pm. I will be in the mall, at a table at the exit to Save-On-Foods. I will have copies of my 2009 Delta Housing Task Force Submission so that anyone who wishes can discuss with me ideas for how to achieve affordable home ownership in Delta.

  18. you have any idea what is going on in the rest of Delta this weekend???

  19. I'd like to put this whole "mud slinging" accusation against Sylvia Bishop to rest. Bishop saw Sean Hodgins and Ian Paton having lunch together in a North Delta White Spot. She merely described their reaction on seeing her observe them. How is that mudslinging pray tell. It was also a fact that Mr. Paton was politicing at a Beach Grove Golf Club mens night with 2 local aldermen. He admitted it. That some members found to be a poor use of a social evening was expressed by those members. Because of that lunch the public was made aware of the fact that Ian Paton and Sean Hodges are old friends. Something that I, for one, didn't know but was glad to be made aware of since Mr Hodgins is the owner of numerous large tracs of land not only in Tsawwassen but also Ladner. How will it be ethically possible for Mr. Paton to vote on any issue when involving properties and developments owned by Mr Hodgin's are brought forward at council meetings? I can't see that he could, ethically I mean. We've also learned that Mr. Paton is also a very good friend of Ron Toigo who is also one of the most prolific developers in Delta. How will that work?
    I'll give huge odds as well that Mr. Paton has been the resipient of a great deal of campaign money from both men individually as well as from various companies that they own. I'd also say that since our Mayor has declared her generous support we can also expect that there is a lot of money from their provincial Liberal friends being used as well. We all know Jackson and her compatriots are very good friends of Premier Campbell. At least we'll be able to see where Mr. Paton's campaign money came from and exactly how much before the next municipal election. That will be very interesting indeed.
    I agree with the editor. Mrs. Higgens sounds like a very nice and worthwhile candidate. However, I think it's her very niceness that would work against her on this council as it is made up currently. King and Pedersen are nice it seems but ineffectual. They can't stomped on all the time. We need a fighter like Bishop in there now. Next election will be better for those who are nice and have good ideas. Hopefully the next municipal election will represent wholesale change and their ideas will be listened to.
    Oh and since so many of Mr. Paton's supporters seem to stalk this paper can I request that you stop knocking over other people's signs? It's getting terribly obvious when only the Paton signs are left standing.

  20. Lynne Tait....sounds like a lot of accusations and assumptions on your part. I would go so far as to say defamation of character. If you are going to make accusations, you'd best have some facts behind you. Please consult your buddy Debbie McBride on this.
    Elvis, do you want to go there???

  21. Well Lynne....if you'd like to put the mud-slinging to rest, then stop doing it.

    Get your facts straight, quit running down the competition, and stop with the accusations.

    It's pretty simple.

  22. I don't think anyone's character has been defamed. How is Ian Paton having lunch with Sean Hodgins mud slinging? Just a couple of friends having lunch together. It is an undeniable fact and not illegal.

    Ian Paton at Beach Grove Golf Club Politicking? That is true too. It was men's night and he was a guest.

    Two alderman? I don't believe we call them that in Delta, but the councilors you speak of are Hamilton and Campbell and they, along with Jackson make up the DIVA political party that Ian Paton represents in this by-election. So that is truthful too.

    All three elected members of DIVA did endorse the Liberal candidate over Vicki Huntington. Public record and true. The DIVA's have allied themselves with the provincial Liberals and they are unabashed about it. True, but not illegal or unethical either.

    Campaign money? Ian Paton probably has the most expensive of all the campaigns. We don't get to know campaign contributors until after the election. I wouldn't doubt that the developers and the powerful farming families (though in many instances you could lump both of those groups into one and just say powerful developers with farms, that farm or don't farm) have financed him heavily. As I have no doubt that many people that have an interest in seeing the Southlands and other greenfields developed have put their support behind Paton.

    In order to defame ones character you have to knowingly lie and nothing Lynne Tait said wouldn't hold up to judicial scrutiny. Another prerequisite would be that the person whose character you are defaming actually possesses some character.

    You're safe Lynne.

  23. "looking like lovers caught" having lunch? Hiding in North Delta???
    Comments about Beach Grove??
    All of Ms. Lynne's comments are based on the Debbie McBride article. Perhaps we should repost that. Oh that's can't. Too much legal liability. The whole article was full of insinuations, assumptions and flat out lies. Therefore, nothing Ms. Lynne says can be taken with any truth. Oh and if she wants to post a last name, she might want to use her real one.

    All the signs have been getting knocked over. Obviously some people get them up faster than others. Get over it.

    Which "powerful farming families" have developed land??

  24. I'd be voting for Sylvia Bishop if I lived in Delta. Delta is lucky to have her.

  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  26. Effective governance requires opposition. Regardless of your political stripe, this council has demonstrated that they need to have opposition to keep them "honest". The council endoresed Ian Paton, reason enough not to... DO NOT VOT FOR IAN. VOTE FOR SYLVIA BISHOP.

  27. Elvis...unless you can prove 3:45 comment to Ian Paton on the last sentence, I suggest you remove it a.s.a.p.

  28. "I can see from her Facebook that Kathleen is spending most of the last week of the campaign in Ladner and Tsawwassen, so I'm sure she's just as involved in South Delta as in the North Delta."

  29. As a matter of fact my last name is Tait and I'm not afraid of using my name unlike anonymous who likes to make accusations about all kinds of things all the while hiding behind a non name. As for making accusations and insinuations, I was merely pointing out facts. Facts that Mr. Paton himself has said are true. DIVA are Liberal backed politicians who proudly stood with Gordon Campbell and endorsed not just his candidate of choice - Wally Oppal - but also Campbell as a leader. Shows poor judgement and I want people on council with good judgement. I'm also pointing out that with such close and heavy ties to the major Delta developers would lead to ethical problems - perceived or otherwise - when it came to making decisions regarding their developments. Why is that so upsetting to you?
    And what is it with you and this McBride person? You merely make yourself sound foolish when you accuse people of using false names and make outlandish staements about lible Sounds like you and Mr. Paton have awfully thin skin if you can't take political heat without getting personal maybe you should rethink your involvemt

  30. Lynne Tait....wasn't it you that said you wanted to put an end to the mud-slinging??? Get a life.

  31. To V. Palmer:

    Which "powerful farming families" have developed land??

  32. Lynne "Tait". It's not upsetting...its just not the entire truth. It's your convoluded version.

    Whatever. Like 10:57am says - get a life.

  33. Sylvia Bishop is the only candidate with the will and desire to stand up and be counted!!!

    I attended the all candidates meeting and she had the perfect line of the night...Here it is: In the reply to the question from the panel of what you would do to save farm land, the question went first to Ian Paton who stated, " Well I was here when they paved the Highway 99 over farm land, then I was here when when put Highway 91 over farm land, then I was here when they put the power lines over farm land, I was here when they put the new train lines over farm land, and I was here when they put the new access to the Delta port again over farm land,

    well I guess you just have to take one for the team"

    Sylvia was next and quickly stated" Well I not going to take one for the team, and not let Delta be the pave over capital for the rest of the lower mainland, enough is enough" I will stand up and be counted and make sure that we protect what we have"

    FINALLY, someone to stand up to this pathetic mayor and council who is just in the back pocket of the developers and the even worse, Gordon Campbells liberal party.

    This council needs someone to stop Delta from being the Log it, burn it pave it capital, as once you do so, the land is lost forever. Just have a look across to Richmond to see the way NOT to do it!

    Hopefully we can stop this HORRIFIC South Perimeter freeway before it is too late!


  34.'ve got the wrong question. That answer was not the one re: farmland.

    Although you people love to twist everything around to suit your view, that answer was for a completely different question.

    Better put your hearing aid in and listen again.

  35. To Anonymous says: September 17, 2010 10:33 AM

    I say this, we can comment here in anyway we please. Your "father knows best" attitude is clearly reflective of the type of candidate you will be voting for. I will be voting for Sylvia Bishop.

  36. Eric...what is this "father knows best"?

    The answer was incorrect to the question it was referencing. The answer for saving farmland was quite different than the one quoted above, which was for a different question.

    Please use the truth if you are "quoting" someone.

  37. I for one am tired of the what would your candidate do bs that you guys are spewing.

    I live in Tsawwassen and there is only ONE issue worth voting in this by-election for. Everyone tries to distract from the obvious. But the Southlands is the issue and I for one am tired of all these NIMBY's telling me what is best for me and my community. Peter Harms will vote to develop the Southlands and I will only vote for him. Who else will represent my views of the Southlands in council?

    Peter Harms is my guy. Let's get this world class development done.