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New Richmond MP speculation underway

Wendy Yuan keen to be Liberal candidate in new Steveston-Richmond East riding
Wendy Yuan
Wendy Yuan, who's tried and failed several times in Vancouver to win a federal seat, has expressed an interest in running in the next election in Richmond.

With a new federal political riding up for grabs in Steveston-Richmond East, speculation on who will step forward to become a candidate is well underway.

Thanks to riding realignment - based on population level increases - Richmond will have two ridings unto itself for the next federal election scheduled for 2015.

First out of the gate expressing an intent to run is former Liberal candidate Wendy Yuan.

Yuan, a Richmond resident since 1994, is president and CEO of locally-based Bradley Pacific Enterprises, a resource export company focused on dealing with Pacific Rim countries.

Yuan ran unsuccessfully in 2008 and 2011 in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway. She was beaten both times by NDP candidate Don Davies.

In 2011, Yuan finished third on the ballot behind Trang Nguyen of the Conservative Party.

In 2008, the results were much closer as Yuan came second, just 2,799 votes behind Davies who its currently the Opposition critic for International Trade.

Yuan is a community activist and a board member at the Vancouver Multicultural

Society, and is listed as a senior advisor with the Chinese Mental Wellness Association of Canada.

In an interview with the News, Yuan said she started signing up Liberal members this summer, long before last week's announcement that Conservative incumbent Kerry-Lynne Findlay in the old riding of Delta-Richmond East had decided to run in the new, single riding of Delta, which, through realignment, was merged with the North Delta riding.

"I don't think it matters who I run against," said Yuan, 52, adding she believes her ties as a Richmond resident will stand her in good stead as the Liberal nomination process


"I'm a Richmond girl, and signing people up is the best way of getting a grassroots movement going," she said.

One possible Conservative Party candidate is Richmond city councillor, Chak Au.

Au said federal politics had not seriously crossed his mind, given he is firmly committed to running for a seat on Richmond City Council in 2014, but he is open to the prospect if approached.

Au, who spent 12 years as a local school trustee before joining city council, described himself as a "small C" conservative.

"I will leave things open," he said. "If somebody can give me a good reason, I will look at it. But federal politics is not my focus right now."

While Au is willing to listen, cross firstterm school board trustee Eric Yung off the list of potential candidates.

Yung, who was approached about two months ago to run, said he considers his job as trustee is not yet done and it would be "irresponsible spending three years getting my feet wet and then look for greener pastures" by seeking a federal seat.

He declined to name which party sought him out, and admitted the federal scene had crossed his mind.

"But I very carefully crossed it off. My energies right now are devoted to the issues at the school board level," said Yung, adding he is committed to seeking a second term as trustee in the November 2014 civic election.

Another consideration against running federally was his young family - he has children in kindergarten and Grade 5 - and time spent away from them traveling back and forth to Ottawa would be a problem, he said.