Mayoralty candidate Dan Ruimy has joined four city council candidates to form a team called A Better Maple Ridge (ABMR) in the Oct. 15 city election.
Along with the former MP Ruimy, council candidates Korleen Carreras, Onyeka Dozie, Sunny Schiller, and Jenny Tan are members of the news slate.
“Over the past few months, we’ve come to realize that we share a collective vision for our city and building a better future for all,” said Ruimy. “We need to take action on affordability and improving services for residents. We need to work with the provincial and federal governments to make sure we’re not leaving a single dollar on the table in terms of funding for infrastructure and other projects.
“The current council has shown that they are more interested in infighting than getting to work, and we want to offer voters a clear alternative.”
They were scheduled to launch the slate’s campaign on Saturday night.
While some candidates are critical of the team Maple Ridge First – consisting of Mayor Mike Morden and councillors Judy Dueck, Ryan Svendsen, and Chelsa Meadus – Ruimy said it is the style of politics, and not being a slate, that is problematic.
As mayor, he would not try to silence the voices of people who are not part of his team, he said. The former MP said he has experience chairing federal government committees in Ottawa.
“You cannot stifle debate,” Ruimy said. “I learn so much more by listening to what people have to say.”
And, he said he would be conducting business before the public.
“We’re committed to debating issues at the council table – not behind closed doors, not in private, but up front.”
He said he would have no “whipped” votes, where members of A Better Maple Ridge would be expected for vote as a block.
“Our team members can vote their conscience,” he said.
However, he said the Maple Ridge First team has a considerable fundraising edge in the election, in addition to any advantage gained by being incumbents. So having an opposing elector organization levels the playing field.
Carreras is a veteran local politician, who has been the chair of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School Board, and was first elected a trustee in 2014. Dozie ran unsuccessfully for council in 2018, while Schiller and Tan are newcomers.
“We’re a group of people with very different jobs, backgrounds, and areas of expertise,” said Carreras. “But we all agree that the most important thing a council has to be focused on is getting results for our community.”
Tan, an economist, added “Cities can play a huge role in addressing the challenges we face, and attention to the triple bottom line – economy, environment, and people – is crucial for decision-making that leads to better outcomes for all, not just a select few.”
Dozie has a business background.
“It’s so important that small businesses be supported,” he said. “As the former president of the Port Coquitlam Business Improvement Society, I know that vibrant small businesses lead to vibrant communities which is good for all of us.”
Schiller, an environmental leader, has been part of the Maple Ridge Climate Hub.
“So often, we’re given a false choice in politics where we’re pitted against each other. I’m excited to run with a group of folks who celebrate diverse perspectives,” she said. “We need a council that is willing to listen, whether that’s when engaging the public or debating issues at the council table. A variety of views makes for better decisions and a better use of our resources. “
Information about the slate can be found on the website ABetterMapleRidge.ca.
The election will be Saturday Oct. 15.
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