As Thom never misses a chance to remind me, a campaign co-ordinator for CHF BC has many opportunities for travel to places they might not otherwise be fortunate enough to visit.
My first trip to Burquitlam took me to the office of Dawn Black, the NDP candidate in New Westminster Coquitlam. Campaign offices everywhere and regardless of party are curiously alike – typically an empty and unadorned retail space full of volunteers hammering signs and drawing obscure marks on large constituency maps tacked to a wall all overseen by a harried and over-worked campaign manager.
Dawn’s office was no exception, and we sat down for coffee amid the bustle. (Campaign coffee, by the way, also does not vary by ideology. I sometimes wonder if the parties have joined in a bulk buying program.)
Her reaction to my by now well-rehearsed summary of the section 95 crisis was also familiar. Her eyebrows shot up and she re-summarised my summary in an incredulous tone and looked at me as if to make sure I was serious. I assured her that, regrettably, I was deadly serious and added the leaky co-op situation for good measure. “Eight” she exclaimed when I happened to mention the number of co-ops, out of 68, that have been fixed. She shook her head and said we could certainly count on her and her colleagues to press for a resolution to these issues. Then she surprised me with a detailed and knowledgeable discussion of the importance of affordable housing and the best ways to deliver it. It turns out that Dawn spent ten years on the board of Habitat for Humanity and worked on a project in Burnaby. It must have been a real hands-on board for her to have picked up that level of knowledge.
I left the office for the journey back to Vancouver pleased to have made my first trip to Burquitlam.