‘Make criminal record checks mandatory for candidates’

Kiersten Duncan has filed background check with her Maple Ridge nomination papers

Kiersten Duncan says she wants to run a clean campaign.

And she’s challenging others to show they’re clean, too, by filing a criminal record check with nomination papers.

She said that Wal-Mart and Home Depot require criminal record checks before hiring, so “the people of Maple Ridge deserve to know those who they are being asked to vote for also have a clean background.

“I think, in order to be elected to office, it should be required.”

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin said that requiring criminal record checks would be up to Elections B.C.

“If the province wants to make that a requirement. They have election guidelines that they lay out for us.”

Daykin, though, said he could live with such a condition.

“I have to have a criminal record check to be Santa Claus at Christmas time.”

But he pointed out city councillors aren’t involved with the daily operation of the municipality.

“We’re so far removed from most things.”

Mayoralty candidate Graham Mowatt said it could take more than a month to get a criminal record check.

“I don’t understand the reasoning there.”

A criminal record check could show all types of details, such as charges that have been dropped or details no longer relevant.

“I think you get more into character assassination and stuff like that. I think an election should be made on what the person says, what they want to do and not what the past is.”

Maple Ridge council candidate Dean Barbour though would be okay with the extra step of background checks for potential politicians.

“I’d have no problem with that.”

If a person is going to enter political life, his or her life becomes public.

Barbour has dealt with his own legal issues by allotting a separate tab on his deanbarbour.com website.

Fraud and forgery charges against the former executive-director of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce, were dropped in 2013.

“When the charges became public in March 2012, the reputation of integrity I have spent two decades building became tarnished and the contract work I was preparing to secure was cancelled,” he says on his website.

He’s paid a heavy price for crime he didn’t commit, he said.

Even 16 months after the charges were stayed, the effects still linger.

But in terms of running for public office, having a criminal record check or background check is a good thing, he added.