Monday, October 17, 2011

At the great risk of sounding like a hoarder, here is my blog from a time when I was the moderator at Whonnock's all candidate meeting. How simple things seemed then. On November 10, 2011 I will find myself back in the Whonnock Community Hall. On this occasion it seems I am to be moderated rather than moderating. Ah, bring back the simple days eh.

Through the moderator's lens

The political actor, his audience and the amateur behavioral scientist 

An all candidates meeting for mayoral and council candidates running in the 2005 District of Maple Ridge local elections was held at Whonnock Community Centre on Thursday, November 3rd, 2005 from7:30pm to 10:00pm. This meeting was aimed at providing all the candidates an opportunity to present themselves to the electorate and for the public to ask brief questions on specific issues that concerned them. 

This was the first of several all candidates meetings scheduled be held in various areas of Maple Ridge prior to election day on November 19th, 2005. The organizers asked if I would act as the moderator. I explained that I had never done this sort of thing before and as I heard myself speaking these words of modesty I thought to myself hang on, being a virgin moderator makes it all the more exciting. "Sure, let’s have at her," was my final answer. 

The role of moderator, albeit in the arena of local Canadian politics, has added new knowledge to my life as a political observer. In the past, as an audience participant and frequent interrogator of the candidates, I found that the subject of my own questions filled my thoughts and it was often hard to concentrate on the questions posed by other participants, let alone follow the answers from the candidates. If one is a newcomer to an area it often becomes hard to follow some of the questions without knowing the history. Maple Ridge, for instance, has a population exceeding 70,000 souls and yet every public gathering is attended by a small band of hard core residents, numbering no more than between 200 and 400 at the most. In one sense, the 70,000 are saying to the few hundred go ahead and mould our future because we are too busy going about our daily affairs, and besides which there is little we can do to influence the affairs of our community, what will be will be. In many other countries this is not the case as seen when thousands not only wish to be heard, but take things into their own hands through mass civil action. Thankfully that is a rare occurrence in Canadian political life, excluding of course job action. 

The candidates at an all candidates meeting come mostly prepared for the meeting. Preparation means writing a speech that concisely articulates the key reasons for wishing to be elected. It may also means anticipating certain questions that may be directed at one for historical reasons or perhaps for reasons linked to more contemporary events. In British Columbia we recognize from observation that the meat and potatoes of local government is the determination of land use. Pick any District or City in British Columbia and subject it to time and task study to determine the amount of time devoted to discussion on all matters that could be described as falling under the category of land use and it will come as no surprise to learn that in local politics land is the only issue. All other departments of civic management beat a hasty path to Planning Department in any given district. The reason for this quite simply is that the land provides the cash upon which all other activity is based. Maple Ridge is no different. The entire community relies on property taxes supplemented by hundreds of subsets of income-sources such as all those that fall within fees-for-service. Candidates, knowingly or not, when making their pitch, are first and foremost asking the voter to be allowed to care for or husband and nurture the one asset that keeps a District healthy; land. 

There are other many important issues too; community plans, financial plans, transport plans, governance, environmental protection, inter-government relationships, public safety and crime prevention, economic development plans, providing education at every level and all the detail that these major categories imply. Most candidates recognize the need to address each of these issues at some point in their campaign, but will focus on those specific issues that are closest to their personal beliefs (a good idea) or those issues that are most likely to assure them of a successful outcome (a better idea, if getting elected is the goal.) 

The difficulty arises when the personal beliefs of the candidate cannot be matched to the issues most likely to win them the required number of votes to win a seat. How does a candidate make himself or herself sound passionate and convincing when speaking publicly about a subject that truthfully is only of passing interest to the speaker? Moreover, how well-equipped are the public in Maple Ridge when it comes to detecting sincerity and conviction? Many of them will provide the answer that they are extremely well-equipped and knowledgeable when it comes to municipal affairs. Certainly the 200 or so participants who attended at Whonnock Community Centre can claim that they know more than most citizens when it come to what's cooking in the Ridge. 

The moderator is the one person in the room, along with the timekeeper, who has to follow the words of every question and the words to every answer without loosing focus. For one as distracted as I, this meant an enormous challenge. To the effort of simply following the words one has to add what I can only describe as the RGB-factor. That is to say the red, green blue factor. When speaking, the candidate’s words are coloured much like a photograph, by layers of personal history, external and internal events, time and circumstance, background, upbringing, education, experience, character and personal beliefs. The observer, for his part hears and views of the speaker simultaneously through the lens of his eyes and ears, assembles and analyses the information and responds either inwardly to himself or outwardly through a counter or agreeing statement. It is challenging enough for most of us to focus on a single conversation over short periods. Doing so over a long period deepens the challenge and things get really difficult when we set up public conversations between twenty or thirty people on one side and say 200 or 300 people on the other, as in the case of all candidates meetings.

Another aspect attached to the moderator's lens could be some knowledge of the candidates themselves. This moderator, on this evening in Whonnock, could claim to have some degree of knowledge of each candidate either through private or public discourse. Not wishing to sound in any way corny or patronizing when this moderator looked across at the seated candidates it was with a sense of warmth, brought about perhaps by the knowledge that the candidates for the most part were prepared to offer themselves up for public scrutiny in a quest for bettering our community. The differences of opinion took then and always will, second place to the basic desire to help. So, from the solitary tripod of this lens, what did the moderator see?

Nervousness was tangible in each candidate, more so in the mayoral candidates than in the council incumbents and hopefuls. It is interesting to observe what passes for outward camaraderie in public and then having to listen to the scuttlebutt on the street which paints and entirely different picture of what the candidates think of one another. It is curious too that, once the election has passed, the seven elected ones will be forced to spend three years in civil and polite debate, notwithstanding the drubbing and backstabbing they may have had to endure from another during the campaign. Our capacity for being two-faced and double-dealing is never more evident than in politics. And no, it is not a trait that shows up exclusively on the left, right or down the middle. Duplicity is omnipresent in political life. It also makes the words of politicians hard to follow. And the words of lawyers, journalists, salesmen and so on.

The Maple Ridge 2005 campaign occurs in the same year that the public became engaged in the longest public hearings to ever be devoted to that central and illusive document known as the Official Community Plan ("OCP"). Perhaps more than any other public document the OCP touches the lives of us all and perhaps that is why is has become such a heavily discussed document. Ostensibly the public will have the final word on the OCP and it will go before the new council in 2006 for approval. He who makes sense of the OCP makes sense of Maple Ridge for many years to come.

The candidate speeches could be divided into those that were critical of past actions and those that spoke positively of future actions, normally in the shape of countermands. "I will correct past mistakes." countered by, "What mistakes? Look at all the achievements." The public will decide on November 19 whether mistakes were made and improvements can be found through displacing the existing team with new candidates or perhaps the public will take the view that we are doing OK and lets keep going the way we are. We all know there will be casualties and victories; we just don't know where they will occur.
Through the moderator's lens it seemed that those candidates who personalized their speeches came across less electable than those who simply stuck to the issues. The voter could care less about the travails of the candidate. Oddly, it seems quite often that the voter could less about the triumphs of the candidate. The voter, like the candidate, cares frequently only about himself. You would need a moderator's lens to see this. There is ample evidence however that both the public and the elected officials in this community care greatly for the place where we live. The way we express our care though can be be confusing. Good government should have clarity as its goal. Clear thinking is what this moderator will be looking for over the next two weeks so that a clear decision can be made and a clear future planned.  

Friday, September 02, 2011

2011 Council Bid for Blogger


Claus Andrup In Bid For Maple Ridge Council

MAPLE RIDGE, British Columbia, (September 2, 2011) – Claus Andrup announced today that in November he will make his first bid to be elected to council in the District Of Maple Ridge.

A resident of Maple Ridge since 1994, he has for a long time been engaged with the community and the District through a number of volunteer positions, notably the Maple Ridge Historical Society, the Community Heritage Commission and the Economic Advisory Commission.

Claus is married to Deborah. Their daughter Olivia is pursuing a film acting career and studies languages and theatre at the University of British Columbia. Eldest daughter, Georgina Kirsten Andrup lives in England and is mother to the most recent addition to the family, Spencer Ernest Derbyshire.

During the spring of 2004 Claus worked as the project committee representative with a diverse and dedicated group of participants from all over Maple Ridge on the Smart Growth On the Ground initiative. The project aimed at establishing the ground rules for taking the downtown centre towards 2021.

Claus says: ”I have the profound sense today that Maple Ridge is on the brink of achieving many of its long held aspirations and, indeed, reaching those ‘greater heights’ it has set its sights on.” He adds: “I would be honoured to play some small role, assisting with the process and participating in the many decisions that will come before council over the next three years.

In 2010 Claus wrote the Radio Haney opinion column for the Maple Ridge News.

He has spent three decades establishing and working with publicly listed companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange in the natural resource and utilities sector, and is a founding director of a new Vancouver-based property developer with interests in California.

He is keen to promote the continued revitalization of the downtown core and is a proponent for densification and increased business, and cultural and leisure activity in downtown area. Maintaining and protecting the current urban boundary is his central platform.

At 62 Claus continues to play soccer in the BC Old Timers soccer league and still pursues his lifelong passion of long board surfing.

Voters can meet Claus at an open house on September 24th at the St. Andrews Heritage Church on 116th Ave, located just off the Haney Bypass.

Maple Ridge resident Ian McLeod has agreed to act as Mr. Andrup’s financial agent.

~ Ends ~

Further information or

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A slothful judiciary in British Columbia does little for public confidence

Monday the 8th August 2011 saw some of the worst public disorder in London's history. By Thursday 11th August 2011 arrests exceeded 900, the London Courts are sitting 24 hours a day and already many of London's worst thugs are doing time for a senseless crime against London. Canadian law enforcement agencies, particularly here in British Columbia - to be specific the Vancouver Police Department, must be looking on in awe, green with judicial envy.

Vancouver's Stanley Cup abomination in the streets around the downtown happened so long ago that I have already forgotten the score. What I have not forgotten is the brilliant and brave work of the VPD, assisted by hundreds of caring citizens.

It is an old and worn out complaint, but where the "F" is our judiciary. Where the hell are the courts? We know where the thieves, vandals and thugs are. They are enjoying another summer, in the full knowledge that BC's courts, in their sloth and almost meaningless existence will do little or nothing to see to it that vandals, like any other criminals should be made to pay, and pay severely, for senseless crimes against their communities.

In London, by contrast, the London loafers and thieves are already on their way to Her Majesty's facilities where, I suspect, they will find that even the general population in Britain's prisons may have the welcome mat out (in the worst possible way). 

Next year let's send BC's judges to Britain for Summer Camp - "How to Treat a Criminal the Old Fashioned Way 101"

Sunday, August 07, 2011

What do you mean my head is in the clouds?

The role of sports in community building


It is hard to imagine a human activity that does more for binding and building communities than sport; whether it is the World Cup in Cape Town, the Winter Olympics in Vancouver or the Tour de France, or the PGA.

Every Sunday morning in the summer we show up at Merkely Park as we have done for many, many years. We run around for an hour or more, have a beverage and laugh afterwards and then go home, already looking forward to the next Sunday. Many will agree that Sunday mornings is 'where its at'.

Photo: Don Waite, Maple Ridge, July 2011

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

There are no candidates living in the woodwork anymore

Some people say on the street and here and there that we will see as many as 30 candidates on the ballot for Maple Ridge Council this year. That is fantastic as it will doubtless (one hopes) attract more voters.

Also on the street we hear - as we do every time that Maple Ridge goes to the polls - that we need new faces and voices (ears?) on council. And each year we see a ton of familiar faces elected - same voices, same ears.

The big, big question is always agricultural land and how it is used, or abused.

Driving along the connector this glorious warm and still evening from Pitt Meadows towards Maple Ridge to our north across a matrix of small farms and sheer green, as sweeps up elegantly toward the foothills and the Golden Ears, majestic against a darkening sky I had to ask myself if I would be prepared to allow any development on what lay before me. The answer was 'no'.

Looking south from the connector toward Maple Ridge around Laity and 216th I contemplated allowing homes and subdivisions all down to the connector, east and west. Probably would, slowly, over time. Simple: north of the connector remains as it is, south of the connector, let the developers and the ALC duke it out.

With only 15% of our land in the ALC, we need to protect that tiny asset. It is not a matter of farming or soil testing or farm receipts, the economy or the future of the planet. It is just too damn pretty to give up.

It is so, so important to stay focussed on the brown fields development in Maple Ridge, wherever we can find it. My money is on the downtown. Tons of opportunities for savvy investors, developers and realtors, right in the heart of Maple Ridge. The evidence that some have seen this opportunity is obvious. Hogarth is just one of them. Others will follow suit.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The circling candidates

Who knows when a political campaign starts. Did the Andrup campaign begin when this blog was launched in 2005? Perhaps. It certainly hosts many, many political comments.

I drafted the first all-candidates for my 2011 campaign in October 2010 - some 11 months ago. My bet is that many others have done the same. There is something to be said for not making one's intentions known too soo. That strategy seems to be what candidates in Maple Ridge use a lot. Newbies like me, are tempted to get out there as soon as possible with our ideas and plans. That could be a mistake. Time will tell.

Yesterday I created a Facebook page called simply MapleRidgeMatters (a double entendre of sorts) and I also kicked off a new Twitter account called @RidgeMatters (shortened by rules at Twitter).

No matter how many social networks or websites you have, we are all agreed that nothing beats pressing the flesh and exchanging views with voters, and that is my aim. There are some 24,000 households in Maple Ridge - that's a few days work for sure. But I have a plan - I think. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Game on. Maple Ridge 2011.

I met with one of the other candidates today.  This was the first time we have ever sat down to get to know one another. Old Maple Ridge meets new. Rumble in the jungle. I love it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Haney Days and 'We call it Haney'

Haney is changing rapidly. New construction, new ideas, community spirit lifting.
And an incredible Facebook group called "We call it Haney" - if you are interested in Haney, join "We call it Haney".

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Ok, if we are going to have a summer this year, let's start now!!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

From the Maple Ridge TIMES

Group cleans up park


While many were at the home show, some local citizens spent Saturday morning digging through debris

Ash Milton volunteered his time.

Ash Milton volunteered his time.

Photograph by: Amy Judd, TIMES

Bottles, cans, needles, clothes, and tons of yard waste were just a few of the items found by the Port Haney Neighbourhood Change Initiative volunteers on Saturday.
They spent four hours starting to clean up a proposed park space on 223rd Street at St. Anne Avenue.
"We're getting rid of the garbage," said Christine DiGiamberardine, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows parks and leisure services staff liaison. "We're creating a sense of pride and ownership in the neighbourhood."
"Members of the group were concerned this area was kind of run down," said Michelle Ninow, a consultant hired by the District of Maple Ridge to help with the Port Haney revitalization.
"Everything we do is about improving the neighbourhood."
Ninow recognized it was a big job they were taking on, and Saturday was just the start.
Local resident and caretaker of Haney House Tom Little, said he was volunteering to help improve the community.
"I just want to make people more aware of it," he said. "So it doesn't look so shabby."
DiGiamberardine said this clean up will help residents be able to say "I live here, I care. I can walk through here, I'm not afraid of tripping over garbage or anything."
The Port Haney Neighbourhood Change Initiative aims to foster the development of neighbourhood leadership, proactively engage residents and stakeholders, and create a vision for the neighbourhood, among others.
Anyone can join, and for more information email

Read more:

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Five years of certainty

Congratulations to Randy Kamp and the Conservative team and supporters in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission.

Keep Canada Conservative.

The next job is to keep British Columbia thoroughly Liberal.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Action in Port Haney

Finally, the sound of heavy machinery coming from the foot of 224th in front of Don Cherry's (ex-Don Cherry's) heralds a new beginning for the old neighbourhood.

With work starting on this project I hope the hotel opposite gets going soon, and then the condos next to the Billy Miner and then the condos right next door to us.

It has taken a decade to get this far, so we can't afford to lose the momentum.

Is there hope for the waterfront in Port Haney? We will wait and see.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

New Project in the works

Aesthetic Maple Ridge

Looking at Maple Ridge over a decade of development

2011 Edition

Thursday, February 03, 2011

A lovely day in the neigbourhood, a lovely day in the neighbourhood....won' be my neighbour?

Good neighbours


Businesses and individuals were recognized for their community involvement by the social planning committee.

Two businesses and three individuals were recognized for contributing to the health and well being of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
The joint Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows social planning and advisory committee gave four Spirit of Community awards at Tuesday’s Maple Ridge council meeting.
Deddy Gees of Hagen’s Travel and Brian Bekar of Mark’s Work Wearhouse received good business awards.
Claus and Debbie Andrup were nominated in the family category for the good neighbour awards, and Gail Clarke, a Yennadon resident, received the individual good neighbour awards.
The good business award was in recognition of contributions made to community events or initiatives, for example, donations of goods and services, promotions that contribute to community building, or helping to make a positive change in the community.
Ineke Boekhorst, executive director of the Downtown Business Improvement Association, gave the awards at Tuesday’s Maple Ridge council meeting. She pointed out that Gees was one of the founders of the Caribbean Festival, an annual free festival that has been running in Maple Ridge for 10 years. He also organized a free event for the staff of Ridge Meadows Hospital to show the community’s appreciation for their local hospital.
Brian Bekar was given the award because his business fundraises for the Friends in Need Food Bank twice a year by running a barbecue. They have also held events to support breast and prostate cancer, and they help to support the Junior B hockey team the Ridge Meadows Flames.
In the family category, Claus and Debbie Andrup were nominated by their neighbours. Claus Andrup was president of the Historical Society, supports several health and social causes, for example, getting assistance for people who are homeless.
Claus and Debbie were also recognized for helping prepare the Haney Wharf for the reception of Andrew Ladd who came home to Maple Ridge last year with the Stanley Cup.
Gail Clarke was nominated by a neighbour she is well known in her Yennadon neighbourhood for making sure the environs stay clean, which has resulted in a sense of pride in the neighbourhood.
The awards are given out annually to citizens of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. This year, it just happened that all those recognized were from Maple Ridge, said Boekhorst.

Read more:

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Mubarak may have resigned by the time you read this - or may not

URGENT MESSAGE FROM EGYPT: (re-post if you can)

Jerrod Dunn on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 02:11
To all the people of world
The people in Egypt are under governmental siege. Mubarak regime is banning Facebook, Twitter, and all other popular internet sites Now, the internet are completely blocked in Egypt. Tomorrow the government will block the 3 mobile phone network will be completely blocked. And there is news that even the phone landlines will be cut tomorrow, to prevent any news agency from following what will happen.
Suez city is already under siege now. The government cut the water supply and electricity, people, including, children and elderly are suffering there now. The patients in hospitals cannot get urgent medical care. The injured protesters are lying in the streets and the riot police are preventing people from helping them. The families of the killed protesters cannot get the bodies of their sons to bury them. This picture is the same in north Saini (El-Sheikh zoyad city) and in western Egypt (Al-salom). The riot police is cracking down on protesters in Ismailia, Alexandria, Fayoum, Shbin Elkoum, and Cairo, the capital, in many neighborhoods across the city.
The government is preparing to crackdown on the protesters in all Egyptian cities. They are using tear gas bombs, rubber and plastic pullets, chemicals like dilutes mustard gas against protesters. Several protesters today have been killed when the armored vehicles of the riot police hit them. Officials in plain clothes carrying blades and knives used to intimidate protesters. Thugs deployed by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior are roaming the streets of Cairo, setting fire on car-wheels as means of black propaganda to demonize protesters and justify police beatings and state torture

All this has been taken place over the past three days during the peaceful demonstrations in Cairo and other cities. Now, with the suspicious silence of the local media and the lack of coverage from the international media, Mubarak and his gang are blocking all the channels that can tell the world about what is happening.
People who call for their freedom need your support and help. Will you give them a hand?
The activists are flooding the net (youtube and other sites) with thousands of pictures and videos showing the riot police firing on armless people. The police started to use ammunition against protesters. 15-year old girl has been injured and another 25 year old man has been shot in the mouth. While nothing of these has appeared in the media, there is more to happen tomorrow. Will you keep silent? Will you keep your mouth shut while seeing all these cruelty and inhumane actions?
We don’t ask for much, just broadcast what is happening

Written by: Mariam Hussien

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hotel on books in historic Ridge

Hotel on books in historic Ridge


Well, I started this blog in 2005. My how 6 years flies.

I am sure that there must be a few things written on Radio Haney that I should have reflected on further before opening my big mouth, but opening my big mouth is what I seem to do a lot - without excuses.

Deciding to run for Maple Ridge council is probably part of 'opening my big mouth' syndrome so let's see how that turns out.

Almost every council member I have ever asked has told me that the experience is quite different from what one may expect. I believe them.

My big mouth can be followed here on Radio Haney, Facebook and Twitter - not necessarily in that order.

Who knows where this road may lead?