Longtime New Democrat Robinson considers political return in Burnaby riding

OTTAWA — Former New Democrat stalwart Svend Robinson says he is strongly considering a return to federal politics, noting his former party is facing challenging times.

Robinson, 66, represented the Vancouver-area riding of Burnaby for 25 years.

He left politics in 2004 after he admitted stealing a diamond ring from an auction, saying he was under too much strain at the time.

Since then, he has spent time in Switzerland working with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. After retiring last year, Robinson and his partner moved to Cyprus.

If he decides to run, Robinson said he would seek election in Burnaby North—Seymour and hopefully help out the NDP candidate in the next riding — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who is expected to face a byelection in Burnaby South in February.

In the 2015 federal election, the NDP won Burnaby South by just over 500 votes.

“I will do everything I can to support Jagmeet and support him in his campaign for election in Burnaby South. Hopefully if I’m a candidate in a neighbouring riding, that will be of some assistance,” Robinson said on the phone from Cyprus.

Despite insisting he hasn’t made up his mind, Robinson said he spent a month door-knocking in the riding this fall and sent a letter to residents saying he is seriously considering a run. His letter closed by pointing out a nomination meeting will take place early in the new year. “And then we will have to work very hard together over the months leading up to the election in October of next year to take back the riding. Let’s do this!”

Speaking from Cyprus, Robinson said he thinks he could add some veteran know-how to the federal NDP given the number of experienced caucus members not standing for re-election next year.

Liberal Terry Beech is running again in Burnaby North—Seymour, which is set to become a battleground riding next year over Liberal pledges to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline. The pipeline ends in the riding.

“I think the next election is going to be a make or break election for the future of the climate and if I run, those issues will be front and centre,” Robinson said.

Janice Dickson, The Canadian Press

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