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Fin Donnelly MP (born May 27, 1966) is a Canadian politician, who was elected to the House of Commons of Canada to represent the electoral district of Port Moody—Coquitlam. He is a member of the New Democratic Party. Donnelly was first elected as a member of parliament in a by-election on November 9, 2009, in the New Westminster—Coquitlam electoral district. In the one year he spent in the 40th Canadian Parliament, he acted as the party's fisheries critic and introduced six private member bills. He was re-elected in 2011 and in the ensuing 41st Parliament he re-introduced the same six bills, two of which, concerning the crime of luring a child were adopted, were adopted in the Safe Streets and Communities Act. He also introduced the bill titled Ban on Shark Fin Importation Act which was voted upon but defeated by the Conservative Party majority. He acted was the official opposition's critic on Fisheries and Oceans until the 2012 leadership election after which Tom Mulcair moved him over to critic on Western Economic Diversification and then demoted him to role of deputy critic. Donnelly again won re-election in the 2015 federal election and was promoted back to fisheries critic. In the 42nd Parliament he re-introduced his previous bill to make closed containment facilities mandatory for commercial finfish aquaculture but the bill was defeated.

Fin Donnelly

Fin Donnelly.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Port Moody—Coquitlam
New Westminster—Coquitlam (2009-2015)
Assumed office
November 9, 2009
Preceded byDawn Black
Coquitlam City Councillor
In office
December 2, 2002 – November 26, 2009
Personal details
Born (1966-05-27) May 27, 1966 (age 53)
New Westminster, British Columbia
Political partyNew Democrat
Spouse(s)Lynda Donnelly
ResidenceCoquitlam, British Columbia
WebsiteOfficial website

Prior to his election as a federal MP, he served seven years, from 2002 to 2009, on city council in his hometown of Coquitlam. Prior to that, Donnelly was a marathon swimmer between 1990 and 2002 during which time he swam the length of the Fraser River twice, as well as the Strait of Georgia, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and across Pitt Lake, Okanagan Lake, and Quesnel Lake.

Donnelly has announced that he will not be standing in the 2019 federal election.[1]


Early life and municipal politicsEdit

He graduated from the University of Victoria in 1989 with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and a minor in environmental studies.[2] After walking and breeding poodles for much of his childhood, he swam competitively for 16 years in his college[3] and completed 14 marathon swims between 1990 and 2000, including across Pitt Lake, Okanagan Lake, Williams Lake, Quesnel Lake, and down the Raush River.[4] He swam across the Strait of Georgia four times, like in 1991 when he swam from Sechelt to Nanaimo in a benefit swim for the Georgia Strait Alliance.[3] In 1994 he swam the Strait of Juan de Fuca, from Port Angeles to Victoria.[5] In 1995, and again in 2000, Donnelly swam the length of the 1,325 km Fraser River, from Mount Robson Provincial Park to Vancouver, ending in False Creek.[4] Many of his marathon swims were used to raise awareness of local issues affecting the rivers and lakes and their watersheds and raise funds for non-profit groups concerned with the protection or restoration of those rivers and watersheds. Donnelly founded the non-profit organization Rivershed Society of British Columbia in 1996 and worked as its executive director.[6]

In 2002, at the age of 36, Donnelly decided to seek election to the Coquitlam City Council. His high profile swims and campaign focused on sustainable development made him a likely candidate to upset one of the incumbents.[7] Donnelly and Barrie Lynch were both successful in gaining a seat on council, upsetting two of the incumbents, though Donnelly's campaign manager unexpectedly died Cameron Lipp two weeks before the election.[8][9] In his first term on council, Donnelly put forth a successful motion that the city send a letter to its sister city, Laizhou in China, expressing concern over the persecution of Falun Gong.[10] In the 2005 council election, the four councillors that stood for re-election won, including Donnelly who received the most votes over all other candidates.[11] In the 2008 council election, Donnelly again obtained the most votes in the council election.[12]

Federal politicsEdit

The 43 year-old Donnelly entered federal politics after his local member of parliament Dawn Black vacated her seat in April 2009.[13] In a June NDP constituency meeting Donnelly won the NDP nomination on the first ballot against fellow Coquitlam city councillor Barrie Lynch and New Westminster councillor Lorrie Williams.[14] Port Moody councillor Diana Dilworth won the Conservative Party nomination, civil and environmental engineer Ken Beck Lee won the Liberal Party nomination,[15] and Rebecca Helps was acclaimed as the Green Party nominee.[16] The by-election was called for November 9 and Donnelly, who was supported by campaign visits by party leader Jack Layton, and Dilworth were considered the front-runners.[17] With only a 30% voter turnout, Donnelly won the by-election with 50% of the vote.[18] Since being elected in 2009, Donnelly has been active on a number of different issues of concern to British Columbians, particularly those focused on society, the environment, and the economy.

40th ParliamentEdit

Donnelly entered the 40th Canadian Parliament during its third session, which lasted one year, during which time he served as the party's national fisheries critic.[19] During that year he sponsored six private member bills, none of which advanced far enough to be voted upon. He sponsored two amendments to the Criminal Code, both of which Dawn Black had previously introduced in the previous parliament: Bill C-520 would have added the offence of luring a child to those offenses prosecutable in Canada even if committed outside Canada and Bill C-521 would have expanded the offence of luring a child to include all means of communication rather than solely through a computer.[20] In March 2010, he introduced Bill C-502 that would prohibit oil tankers in the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. In May 2010, he introduced Bill C-518 which proposed to amend the Fisheries Act to require commercial finfish aquaculture only take place in closed containment facilities. He also proposed Bill C-526 that would have expanded Employment Insurance coverage received as a result of illness, injury or quarantine from 15 to 52 weeks.

41st ParliamentEdit

For the 2011 election, Donnelly was acclaimed as the NDP candidate[21] and again challenged by Dilworth, Lee, and Helps, as well as Roland Verrier for the Marxist–Leninist Party.[22] This time with 60% voter turnout, Donnelly won the riding with 46% of the vote and his party formed the official opposition to a Conservative Party majority government. In the ensuing 41st Canadian Parliament, Donnelly re-introduced, all in 2011, the six of the private member bills he introduced in the previous parliament. While, again, none of the bills advanced far enough to be voted upon, the two proposed amendments to the Criminal Code regarding luring a child were adopted in the Safe Streets and Communities Act. In December 2011, Donnelly sponsored a new private member bill, the Ban on Shark Fin Importation Act (Bill C-380), but it was defeated at second reading in March 2013 with the Conservative Party majority voting against it. In the NDP shadow cabinet Jack Layton re-appointed him as critic on Fisheries and Oceans. In the 2012 leadership election, following Layton's death, Donnelly endorsed Nathan Cullen.[23] Tom Mulcair won the election to become leader of the party and he moved Donnelly to critic of Western Economic Diversification.[24] A year and a half later, Mulcair re-assigned Donnelly to be the deputy critic to both Fisheries and Oceans and Infrastructure and Communities for the remainder of the parliament.

Alan KurdiEdit

On September 3, 2015, after the death of Alan Kurdi, Donnelly stated that he had handed a letter from Alan Kurdi's aunt, one of his constituents, to Immigration Minister Chris Alexander requesting that he look into the case of the Alan Kurdi's refugee application, which, according to Donnelly, was later rejected.[25] On the same day, it was reported that the Alan Kurdi's family had not in fact applied for refugee status in Canada, and that the letter primarily concerned the family of Alan Kurdi's uncle, for whom an application had been submitted but been rejected for being incomplete.[26][27] Donnelly subsequently faced criticism for his role in the spread of the false information regarding Alan Kurdi's family's nonexistent refugee application.[28][29] Mulcair later defended Donnelly, saying that no apology was warranted because the letter had mentioned both families, and stated that he "couldn’t be prouder to have someone of the strength, integrity and hard work as Fin Donnelly" in caucus.[30] On September 10 the Ottawa Citizen reported that: "Abdullah Kurdi’s brother Mohammad and his family were named in a G5 refugee resettlement application , while simultaneously, Abdullah and his now-dead wife and children were included and named along with Mohammad’s family in a lengthy set of correspondence, over a period of months, to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and senior CIC officials."[31]

42nd ParliamentEdit

New electoral districts in the Greater Vancouver area, added for the 2015 election, resulted in Donnelly moving to the re-created Port Moody—Coquitlam riding, which effectively would shift his representative area northwards by removing New Westminster and adding the entirety of Port Moody. In the election, Donnelly was challenged by City of Vancouver's chief digital officer Jessie Adcock for the Liberal Party, Canadian Forces veteran Tim Laidler for the Conservative Party,[32] and Green Party member Marcus Madsen, as well as Roland Verrier of the Marxist–Leninist again. Though Donnelly won his riding with 36% of the vote, the Liberal Party won the general election and formed a majority government with the Conservative Party taking over the official opposition status and the NDP as the third party. With a reduced number of MPs, party leader Tom Mulcair appointed Donnelly to be the NDP critic for Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard,[33] again, a post he previously held in 2009-2012 and since acted as deputy to. In the 42nd Canadian Parliament he, again, sponsored the private member bill C-228 which proposed to amend the Fisheries Act to require commercial finfish aquaculture only take place in closed containment facilities[34] and this time it was voted on, in December 2016, but defeated with a majority of the Liberal Party MPs (who were granted a free vote) and the Conservative Party voting against the bill, though all NDP, Bloc Quebecois and Green Party MPs voted in favour. In March 2016 Donnelly re-introduced the Ban on Shark Fin Importation Act (Bill C-251). It only received a first reading but was introduced into the senate by Conservative senator Michael L. MacDonald in April 2017.[35] Donnelly did not re-introduce his previous bill to prohibit oil tankers off B.C.'s north coast, though the government house bill Oil Tanker Moratorium Act (Bill C-48) was introduced that would accomplish much the same except it would still allow small general purpose tankers.

Electoral recordEdit

2015 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Fin Donnelly 19,706 36.05 -4.41 $108,104.25
Liberal Jessie Adcock 16,888 30.89 +22.36 $46,085.20
Conservative Tim Laidler 16,112 29.47 -17.02 $143,435.34
Green Marcus Madsen 1,878 3.44 -0.82 $7,735.81
Marxist–Leninist Roland Verrier 83 0.15
Total valid votes/Expense limit 54,667 100.00   $212,494.90
Total rejected ballots 174 0.32
Turnout 54,841 69.69
Eligible voters 78,693
New Democratic notional gain from Conservative Swing +6.31
Source: Elections Canada[36][37]
2011 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures[38]
New Democratic Fin Donnelly 23023 45.9 -3.7 69,420.54
Conservative Diana Dilworth 20806 41.5 +5.7 85,804.33
Liberal Ken Lee 4068 8.1 -2.2 22,734.54
Green Rebecca Helps 2160 4.3 +0.0 2,238.04
Marxist–Leninist Roland Verrier 95 0.2 +0.2 0.00
Total valid votes 100.00% -
By-election on November 9, 2009

resignation of Dawn Black

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Fin Donnelly 12,129 49.6 +7.8
Conservative Diana Dilworth 8,753 35.8 -3.0
Liberal Ken Lee 2,514 10.3 -1.0
Green Rebecca Helps 1,046 4.3 -2.9
Total valid votes 24,442
Total rejected ballots
Turnout 24,442 29.9%


  1. ^ "Port Moody–Coquitlam NDP MP Fin Donnelly won't seek reelection in 2019". The Georgia Straight. December 8, 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  2. ^ McKenna, Gary (April 5, 2011). "Biographical information for New West-Coquitlam". The Tri City News. Coquitlam, British Columbia. p. 1.
  3. ^ a b McIntyre, Greg (August 23, 1991). "Gunning for a swim record: Ex-champ in good-cause splash". The Province. Vancouver. p. 3.
  4. ^ a b van Peenen, Paul (October 18, 2000). "The man who swam the salmon route: Fin Donnelly, who calls himself an environmental marathon swimmer, has made a 29 day, 1,357 kilometre journey down the Fraser River". National Post. p. A18.
  5. ^ Hunter, Justine (August 18, 1994). "Swimmer sets record crossing chilly Strait". The Vancouver Sun. p. B5.
  6. ^ Granger, Grant. "New Westminster News Leader – Turning the Fraser into a classroom". New Westminster News Leader. New Westminster News Leader. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  7. ^ Robb, Leneen (October 2, 2002). "Four, so far, will challenge incumbents". Coquitlam Now. p. 6.
  8. ^ Robb, Leneen (November 20, 2002). "Wins by Donnelly, Lynch break 5-4 Coquitlam split". Coquitlam Now. p. 3.
  9. ^ "Well-known B.C. environmentalist Cameron Lipp dead at 42". Coquitlam Now. November 6, 2002. p. 12.
  10. ^ Gracey, Ken (October 22, 2003). "Mayor says letter will ruin trade relationship". Coquitlam Now. p. 9.
  11. ^ Robb, Leneen (November 23, 2005). "Four new councillors in Coquitlam". Coquitlam Now. p. 3.
  12. ^ Simpson, Scott (November 17, 2008). "Council to set aside differences". The Vancouver Sun. p. A7.
  13. ^ Kurucz, John (November 7, 2009). "Meet your byelection candidates". The Record. New Westminster, British Columbia. p. 3.
  14. ^ Warren, Janis (28 July 2009). "By-election in Coquitlam or Port Moody?". The Tri City News. Coquitlam, British Columbia. p. 1.
  15. ^ Warren, Janis (August 6, 2009). "Lee to carry Liberal banner in New Westminster-Coquitlam". The Tri City News. Coquitlam, British Columbia. p. 3.
  16. ^ "Grits, Greens pick candidates for New West-Coquitlam byelection". Coquitlam Now. Coquitlam, British Columbia. August 7, 2009. p. 2.
  17. ^ Ward, Doug (November 7, 2009). "Conservatives running quiet campaign for Monday's byelection; NDP's Donnelly, Tory Diana Dilworth face off in New Westminster-Coquitlam". The Vancouver Sun. p. A2.
  18. ^ Chan, Cheryl (November 10, 2009). "NDP's Donnelly wins federal byelection; Anti-HST sentiment tipped scales". The Province. Vancouver. p. A8.
  19. ^ Lau, Alfie (December 5, 2009). "New MLA moves into critic seat in Ottawa". The Record. New Westminster, British Columbia. p. 1.
  20. ^ Mcmanus, Theresa (June 23, 2010). "Bills target child luring, abuse; City MP wants feds to close loopholes in the Criminal Code". The Record. New Westminster, British Columbia. p. 9.
  21. ^ Coyne, Todd (November 30, 2010). "Donnelly acclaimed as NDP candidate". The Tri City News. Coquitlam, British Columbia. p. 13.
  22. ^ Kurucz, John (April 22, 2011). "Your federal candidates: New Westminster-Coquitlam". Coquitlam Now. Coquitlam, British Columbia. p. 3.
  23. ^ O'Neil, Peter; Ward, Doug (March 10, 2012). "NDP girds for final debate; B.C. expected to play a big role in electing the successor to the late Jack Layton". The Gazette. Montreal. p. A10.
  24. ^ McManus, Theresa (April 25, 2012). "City MPs get seats in shadow cabinet". The Record. New Westminster, British Columbia. p. 3.
  25. ^ "Canada says it never denied a refugee application for Alan Kurdi and his family". National Post. 3 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  26. ^ Kestler-D’Amours, Jillian, Tonda MacCharles, and Jacques Gallant (3 September 2015). "Tima Kurdi's pleading letter to allow brother to enter Canada revealed". Toronto Star. Retrieved 4 September 2015.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  27. ^ "Father of Alan Kurdi, drowned Syrian boy, describes desperate ordeal to save family". CBC News. 3 September 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  28. ^ Maloney, Ryan (6 September 2015). "Fin Donnelly Bemoans 'Political Attacks' After Syrian Refugees' Deaths". Huffington Post Canada. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  29. ^ "Fin Donnelly, NDP MP, stands by attempts to help Kurdi family's refugee application". CBC News. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  30. ^ "Mulcair stands behind Donnelly, after Kurdi family confusi". CTV News. 11 September 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  31. ^ Ottawa Citizen, Sept 10, 2015, from page "Canada's Leaders need to face to the tragedy" by Terry Glavin
  32. ^ Bryden, Joan (December 29, 2014). "Hundreds take political plunge despite bad rap". Prince George Citizen. Prince George, British Columbia. p. A15.
  33. ^ Kirkup, Kristy (12 November 2015). "Tom Mulcair taps Nathan Cullen, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron for top critic roles". CBC News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  34. ^ Shore, Randy (October 12, 2016). "MP targets ocean-based salmon farms". The Vancouver Sun. p. A7.
  35. ^ Ruiter, Zach (May 2, 2017). "With Toronto's Support, Canada Moves Closer To a National Shark Fin Ban". The Torontoist. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  36. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Port Moody—Coquitlam, 30 September 2015
  37. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates
  38. ^ "Financial Reports – New Westminster Coquitlam – 2011 General Election". Elections Canada. Retrieved August 26, 2014.

External linksEdit