New Westminster council candidate misses second deadline

New Westminster city council candidate Harp Sihota could be ineligible to run in the next civic election even though he wants to.

Sihota has missed two deadlines to file his campaign financial disclosure statement. The first was March 19, a deadline all New West candidates met except for Sihota and Coun. Jaimie McEvoy, who filed his the next day and paid a $500 late fee.

A report to city council said numerous reminders were sent to all candidates before the filing deadline, and a letter was sent to Sihota on March 29 reminding him to file by April or he would be ineligible to run in any provincial civic election in 2014.

When contacted by the NewsLeader on Friday, Sihota said it was the first he had heard about the problem because he's been in Los Angeles setting up a branch of his corporate finance business. Sihota said he had left his Canadian affairs up to his brother. Although his sibling paid his bills, the notices from New Westminster he set aside.

"He doesn't go into my personals," said Sihota from California.

He said the city should have called him since his cell number is on every document he has ever filed with the city and his phone is always on.

Sihota said he paid all of his campaign expenses—close to $2,000—himself, and is willing to fork over the $500 late fee. But despite receiving just 905 votes and finishing second last, he wants to run again in 2014, something he won't be able to do if he's ruled ineligible.

The staff report on Sihota will be forwarded to the provincial inspector of municipalities Julian Paine. Sihota said he has already contacted Paine in the hope he'll be eligible to run again.

"He said he will take a look for me," said Sihota on Monday. "I told him what had happened, and we'll see where it goes from there."

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