Surrey Connect has introduced a candidate for council with the same name as a well-known local politician, Surrey-Newton NDP MLA and Labour Minister Harry Bains.
Brenda Locke, mayoral candidate for Surrey Connect, denied it’s a ploy to capitalize on name recognition on the ballot.
“I just think that’s silly,” Locke said. “It is just a coincidence.
“Harry Bains is a qualified lawyer, he’s grown up in Surrey, he went to high school here, and elementary, raises his kids here, he’s a great candidate for us. We’re very excited – he’s got a high ethical bar like all of us on our team and so we’re happy he’s on board,” she said. “There’s lots of issues when you’re looking for an individual and it was the demographic, where he lived, the whole thing. He lives in the Newton area so we wanted somebody from that area and we did want somebody with legal expertise, and so he fit that bill.”
Bains – the MLA – says he’s not weirded out by it.
“If they want to pick my name, you know, I’m fine with it. As long as he doesn’t do anything stupid,” he laughed. “My Harry Bains name has been involved in politics for what now, 17 years at least, right? Now in duplicate.”
“Put our pictures in there – ‘this is the real Harry Bains, that’s the other guy,’” he joked.
Bains – the council candidate – also laughed.
“I don’t see it as being a positive or a benefit. I think Harry Bains – the other Harry Bains – he’s done a lot of work for the city, and the province, and his riding for a number of years. He’s a great gentleman, but no we have no relation or anything like that,” said the lawyer, a partner law with Virsa Law Group LLP in Panorama.
“Part of my practise is dealing with the city, and dealing with city hall, dealing with engineers, the surveyors, the planners,” the council candidate explained. “And as part of my practise I’m dealing with home builders who are subdividing properties or building townhouses or building homes for the residents of the city and speaking with people throughout my practise I’m able to identify a lot of problems that engineers have with the city, or the engineers have with the city, or even the home builders themselves have with the city and that’s where I’m hoping I can leverage that expertise to build in efficiencies at city hall and hopefully work with people to fix the system so that you aren’t waiting for three years to put shovels in the ground.”
Bains completes Surrey Connect’s slate, joining Locke, Ramona Kaptyn, Sebastian Sajda, Rochelle Prasad, Pardeep Kooner, Wil Kwok, Rob Stutt and Gordon Hepner.
“We’re ready to go,” Locke told the Now-Leader on Wednesday. “We haven’t released an official document but certainly I’ve made enough statements about where we’re going. Absolutely without question our number-one issue is going to be to put integrity back into city hall, and have a high ethical and open and transparent city hall again, a city hall that’s for people. Our number two is going to be all about public safety. And issues not just stopping the (policing) transition but also about fire and how we deal with fire service, because our fire service in Surrey is understaffed as well and under-resourced. So we’ll be very focused on fire service and on bylaws.”
Jinny Sims, NDP MLA for Surrey Panorama, is the mayoral candidate for Surrey Forward, a rival slate.
“I have no comment of this issue at all,” she said of the two Harrys. “All I know is it’s not Harry Bains and it is always interesting and I don’t believe in too many coincidences.”
Are there a lot of Harry Bains out there?
“I haven’t heard that many, no, actually not,” Bains – the MLA – said.
“They got to be out there. I mean it’s not an uncommon name, right? There’s Harrys, and Bains…common names.”