Vancouver-Kingsway riding is clash between NDP and Liberals

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Day 34 of the 2008 Canadian elections
Stories from the 2008 Canadian Federal Elections
National Parties

Bloc Québécois
Conservative Party of Canda
Green Party of Canada
Liberal Party of Canada
New Democratic Party

Sunday, September 28, 2008

In Vancouver-Kingsway, David Emerson's old riding, the Conservatives aren't considered to really be in the running; the real competition is between the Liberal's Wendy Yuan and the NDP's Don Davies with Green's darkhorse candidate presumed to be not in the front.

The history of the riding can, in some measure, be read in the parties fielding candidates; in addition to the four national parties there are contestants from Libertarian, Communist, and Marxist-Leninist parties. The rich diversity of the riding has less than half of all households reporting English as the first language at home.

Emerson cited this diversity after announcing he would not be running for a third term. "The reality is, Kingsway was an eminently winnable seat," said the Conservative Minister. "Not because I'm a hugely popular fellow in Kingsway, but because of vote splits and the way the first-past-the-post system works."

Key in those vote splits are issues dividing the Liberal and NDP candidates. Naturalized Canadian Yuan points to her immigrant history, giving her an empathy with the immigrant and ethnic neighborhoods of the riding. “I came with limited means but through hard work, I got recognized and became a successful businesswoman. I understand what immigrants have to go through to reach what they want.”

“I really respect and appreciate and like the multicultural fabric of our riding,” says her NDP opponent Davies. “That’s why I live in Kingsway. I’m the only candidate who lives here with roots here.” The Teamster's lawyer is originally from Edmonton, but has been living in Vancouver environs since 1991.

The Conservative party candidate Salomon Rayek is not responding to press inquiries from several sources, and is cited as an example of a long-shot candidate - a candidate with little likelihood of being elected yet represents the party anyway.

Doug Warkentin, the Green Party candidate, ran for Member of Legislative Assembly in BC's 2005 elections in the Vancouver-Langara provincial electoral district, coming in third to the Liberal's Carol Taylor. He's lived for the past three years in the riding, an engineer and small business owner who has a history of community involvement across south Vancouver. "I see the neighbourhoods in and around Kingsway as a great place to build on the natural vibrancy of the small business sector as a backbone for ethnically and economically diverse communities."

Matt Kadioglu of the Libertarians is a relative newcomer with one previous campaign, while Donna Petersen (Marxist-Leninist) and Kimball Cariou (Communist) each have four previous contests according to Pundits Guide.

The stage for this fight was set in 2006, when newly-elected Liberal Dave Emerson crossed the floor and directly into the Conservative Cabinet, first as Minister of International Trade then as Minister of Foreign Affairs following the resignation of Maxime Bernier. His defection stirred a firestorm of controversy locally in the staunchly left-leaning riding, which had elected a Progressive Conservative candidate exactly once since it's creation in 1953 - during the 1958 Diefenbaker landslide.

In 2004 then-Prime Minister Paul Martin parachuted Emerson in, displacing the brewing contest between incumbent Liberal Sophia Leung and Ms Yuan. Emerson won the riding against Ian Waddell, the NDP candidate who had represented the riding from 1979-1988, and again by a wider margin in 2006 when other Liberals fell as victims of the Sponsorship Scandal.


Original Reporting