When politicians pass their best before dates

Andrea Reimer was first elected to public office in 2002 and today she surprised everyone by announcing she’s calling it quits and won’t be on the ballot during next year’s civic election.

As recently as last month it was being speculated that Vision Vancouver’s high profile city councillor would be setting her sights on Mayor Gregor Robertson’s job. It is likely by early 2018 he too will announce his retirement in order to help renew his ailing political party.

Reimer surprised everyone today and posted on Facebook she will pass the torch to a younger and more activist generation of civic politicos come the next election.

While I have rarely seen eye-to-eye with Reimer, she deserves credit and recognition for her years of public service. She brought a far leftist viewpoint to city hall and proudly represented marginalized constituencies that felt – rightly or wrongly – disenfranchised from the power base at 12th and Cambie.

Reimer has done what few politicians have successfully been able to pull off in this province – and beyond. She left on a high and at a time when her political star was actually still rising.

Few would have criticized her for taking a shot at the top job and attempting to become Vancouver’s first woman mayor. However, with her announcement today, she has gracefully set the stage for her exit from public life in 2018.

The same can’t be said for some local New Westminster civic politicians. In fact, not only have they overstayed their welcome…they have become the poster child for those who believe in setting strict term limits.

Michael Ewen is a New Westminster School Trustee and elected as part of the District Labour Council Slate. You would think after 10 years on the school board, he would have had plenty of opportunity to make his mark.

Now what if I told you Ewen has been a trustee for 37 years? In fact, he’s planning on running again next year which means if he completes his four-year term, he will have been in elected office for 41 years.

At what point does Ewen think that perhaps it’s time for some fresh blood and new ideas? After 45 years? 50 years?

Surely Ewen has had more than ample opportunity to make his mark on the school board. Yet election after election his name remains on the ballot and he continues to get re-elected to another term in office.

Ewen could learn a lesson or two from Reimer and the manner in which she has retired from civic politics. If that were the case, he would announce that he’s not planning on running again in order to free up a spot for a new school trustee with a different perspective. But something tells me Ewen feels he needs yet another four more years to help secure his political legacy as the longest serving elected politician in BC history.


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