Some Maple Ridge candidates contend that lists sent out before the election influenced the results.

Maple Ridge council winners were on lists

E-mails sent promoting pro-shopping candidates, all but one elected

Saturday was Grover Telford’s second municipal election and his second loss, even though more people voted for him this time than in the 2008 campaign.

But it’s the way he says he lost, which he attributes to a list of candidates defined as pro-shopping, that bothers him.

That list, comprised of candidates Cheryl Ashlie, Judy Dueck, Bob Masse, Al Hogarth and Mike Morden, hurt his chances of getting elected to Maple Ridge council, said Telford, who doesn’t know who created it.

“I was quite surprised by the numbers I didn’t get.”

He pointed out that all he’s been spouting for the last three years is the need to bring in more shopping.

“I’m a little puzzled by the results, to tell you the truth. I’m sure that affected my vote count by a long shot. It left a bad taste in my mouth.” He knows people make up all kinds of lists during an election, “but at least be upfront about it.”

Another list compiled by Residents for Smart Shopping, a local group supported by mall developer SmartCentres, which wants to put a mall in Albion flats, endorsed Dueck, Ashlie, Morden and Hogarth and two challengers for council seats, Masse and Graham Mowatt.

All but Mowatt got elected.

Residents for Smart Shopping sent that candidate list to its members, as well as to SmartCentres, which in turn sent it on to the recipients of its own e-mail list.

Sandra Kaiser, vice-president of SmartCentres, said her company forwarded the e-mail from Residents for Smart Shopping to its own database, comprised of 1,100 recipients who’d contacted its own Albionshopping.com website.

The e-mails, and changing the billboard in the flats, was the extent of SmartCentres’ involvement in the election, said Kaiser.

“We’re transparent, everybody knows what we stand for.”

She disagreed that endorsing a list of candidates swayed the election results.

“I wish we were so powerful.”

People who want more shopping are aggressive about asking for that. “People in Maple Ridge seem to be fairly well-educated and well-informed and they made their own decisions,” Kaiser added.

“There are a lot of reasons why people win and lose elections.”

Nathan Hildebrandt, land development associate with SmartCentres, said the company wasn’t involved in the anonymous list, which appeared on a business card with candidates’s names.

The email from Residents for Smart Shopping made no recommendation about who to support for mayor, but pointed out that challenger Craig Ruthven is a member of its group.

The company didn’t provide any financial support to any of the candidates, said Kaiser.

Hildebrandt was surprised Ruthven ran for mayor.

Morden didn’t know he was on SmartCentres’ candidate list until Tuesday, after the election.

He said a candidate could potentially be damaged by being included on a list which he or she didn’t approve.

“I guess it’s a free country and people put together lists all they want.”

He didn’t have an opinion on whether he should have been contacted by SmartCentres, however.

He’s also seen the other list, but didn’t know who compiled it.

Dueck said if council candidates are complaining, they should look at their own platforms.

“It was a tough campaign and we all worked hard,” she added.

“At the end of the day, democracy played out, whether you agree with it or not.”

She knows who contacted her about being on lists, but didn’t want to say who they were because she didn’t know if the lists materialized or not.

But her name was absent from other lists, such as the one released by the Maple Ridge Neighbourhoods website, or unions, she pointed out.

“There were lists all over the place, so I don’t know what the issue is here,” she said.

“It’s not significant at all. This has gone for years and years.”

Dueck said all candidates’ votes had decreased because 1,000 fewer voters turned up at the ballot box.

“There’s a whole host of reasons why people get elected and their platforms are probably the most important piece.”

She and Cheryl Ashlie supported and helped each other during the campaign, but Dueck said she didn’t make up a list.

Dueck was also OK with Residents for Smart Shopping putting her on a list without first getting her approval.

“They don’t have to get my permission, they’re endorsing me.”

Mowatt said he’s worried about the present council, that with the defeat of Craig Speirs and the resignation of Linda King, there are no representatives from the left side of the political spectrum.

“I don’t think you have a good council if you don’t have representation of people that make up your community.”

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