Burnaby City Hall. (Dustin Godfrey / Burnaby Beacon)

Here’s what we know about Burnaby’s city council candidates… so far

With the municipal election less than two months away, here are the list of candidates running for council so far.

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August 23, 2022 | 5:00 am

Election day in Burnaby is fast approaching!

Burnaby residents will take to the polls on October 15 to choose their mayor, eight city councillors, and seven school trustees.

With the big day less than two months away, many candidates have already announced their intention to run for council.

Here’s a quick breakdown of everyone who’s running for mayor and council. Running for mayor, council, or the school board? Let us know at tips@burnabybeacon.com.

Mayoral candidates

Mike Hurley, independent, incumbent: Mike Hurley—currently serving his first term as Burnaby’s mayor—is running unopposed and will be acclaimed as mayor once more on Nov. 2. The former Burnaby fire chief has lived in the city since 1988. He was elected in 2018 on a platform of improving housing affordability and opposing demovictions, amid much criticism over his predecessor Derek Corrigan’s treatment of the issue (particularly in the Metrotown area). While rents and housing prices have skyrocketed in the last four years, the city under Hurley’s helm did introduce new policies to protect and support tenants impacted by renovictions.

Council candidates:

Alison Gu, Burnaby Citizens’ Association, incumbent: At 25 years old (although she’ll be 26 by election day), Alison Gu is the youngest city councillor ever elected in Burnaby. She won her seat in last year’s by-election. She has pledged to prioritize climate justice, anti-racism, and affordable housing, and improve transit access and bike safety in the city.

Antara Deb, Burnaby Citizens’ Association: The BCA pegs Antara Deb as a “resourceful advocate for vulnerable women, seniors, and families in Burnaby.” Deb (who works full-time at BC Hydro) also became involved with United Way last year and volunteers to send supplies and care packages to Burnaby Hospital and New Vista Home Care. She lives in the Edmonds area.

Brea Huang Sami, One Burnaby: Brea Huang Sami took on Jagmeet Singh in Burnaby South in the 2021 federal election. One Burnaby says her work as a financial auditor has given her a keen analytical ability that will help her weigh decisions on city council.

Carrie McLaren, Burnaby Green Party: Carrie McLaren has worked for a Burnaby-based non-profit housing association for six years—and she says that experience ignited a passion for “all things housing”. If elected, she’s also pledging to work towards making Burnaby a more sustainable and climate-adaptive city, improving cyclist and pedestrian safety, and diversifying the forms of housing available.

Daniel Tetrault, Burnaby Citizens’ Association: Currently the president of the Burnaby Teacher’s Association, Daniel Tetrault is seeking a seat on council and intends to work for affordable housing and better protections for renters, stronger supports for teachers and students in the city, and in opposition to the TMX pipeline expansion project.

Deborah Skerry, independent: With 25 years of experience working in public safety and restorative justice, Deborah Skerry says she has the conflict resolution skills necessary for a successful city council candidate. She was also a candidate in the 2021 byelection.

Gulam Firdos, independent: According to Gulam Firdos’ bio, he is a professional city planner, an ex-board member of the City of Burnaby, and the President of the Bangladesh Institiute of Planners. If elected, Firdos says he will fight for affordable housing and rental units and be a voice to represent concerns around land issues in the city.

Heymann Yip, independent: A previous candidate in the 2021 byelection and a member of Burnaby’s Public Safety Committee and Burnaby RCMP’s the Community Policing Advisory Committee, Heymann Yip is running on a platform of public safety. If elected, he’s pledging to represent residents’ concerns on access to first responder services and health care facilities.

James Wang, Burnaby Citizens’ Association, incumbent: James Wang has sat on Burnaby council since 2014. Wang says along with promoting affordable housing, one of his top priorities on council is ensuring Burnaby reaches its goal of becoming fully carbon neutral by 2050.

Jasmine Nicholsfigueiredo, Burnaby Green Party: Jasmine Nicholsfigueiredo describes herself as “an activist, a feminist, and a union president”—she’s served the last three years as president for the Douglas College Faculty Association, where she teaches in the English department. She’s promising to work for affordable housing, mitigating climate change, and preserving green space in the city.

Joe Keithley, Burnaby Green Party, incumbent: This Burnaby-born punk rocker turned politician has sat on council since 2018. He says his priority is fighting for people’s rights—and as a councillor, his focus is on securing affordable housing and ensuring Burnaby reaches its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Ken Arnold, independent: A graduate of Burnaby North Secondary, Ken Arnold was born and raised in Burnaby and has worked in and owned small businesses in the city. He’s also volunteered with Pacific Assistance Dogs (PADS) for 15 years and with the City of Burnaby for 18 years. He’s running on a platform of community involvement and is pledging to promote small business if elected.

Konstantinos Roccas, independent: Konstantinos Roccas describes his campaign as “grassroots”, with no special interest groups backing him. Roccas says he’s vexed by the current state of politics, and wants to provide voters with youthful representation and a chance to bring municipal politics closer to the people.

Maita Santiago, Burnaby Citizens’ Association: According to the BCA, Maita Santiago has lived in Burnaby since 2008. She lives in Metrotown and works as an immigration consultant, and the BCA describes her as a community leader in the Filipino community. Previously, she worked in the Philippines to support and advocate for migrant workers there.

Mario Miceli, One Burnaby: The executive director of the Il Centro Italian Cultural Center, One Burnaby describes Mario Miceli as an experienced executive, strategic thinker, and innovator. He’s also had leadership experience in a number of organizations, including as director of strategic development at ICBC.

Martin Kendell, independent: Martin Kendell ran as an independent candidate both in the 2021 municipal byelection and in the federal election. Recently, he’s organized several community cleanups in the city, gathering volunteers to pick up trash as part of his “crusade to make the streets and parks of Burnaby a cleaner place”.

Michael Angelo Robinhood, independent: Michael Angelo Robinhood is a small business owner who says he wants to stand up for those who are economically and politically disadvantaged in our society. If elected, he says he will donate his salary to “abused women and childrens’ shelters”.

Mike Hillman, One Burnaby, incumbent: Mike Hillman was elected to council as an independent in last year’s by-election, and soon after launched the One Burnaby party—which will campaign on a platform of public safety and increased access to public transit. When he launched the party, Hillman told the Beacon that he is “enthusiastically endorsing” Mike Hurley for re-election as mayor.

Mona Grewal, One Burnaby: Mona Grewal immigrated to Canada 30 years ago and owns an interior design company. The party says her experience as an immigrant has inspired her to work for “culturally responsive solutions to promote assess, inclusion and meaningful engagement” for Burnaby residents.

Pietro Calendino, Burnaby Citizens’ Association, incumbent: Pietro Calendino is one of Burnaby’s longest-serving councillors—he’s had a seat at the table since 2002 and has been re-elected five times. He describes his current focus on council as advancing projects that make Burnaby better, and supports urbanization around major transit hubs while keeping single- and dual-family neighbourhoods intact.

Reah Arora, Burnaby Citizens’ Association: Reah Arora works as director of organizing and campaigns with the BC Federation of Labour. She’s worked on several political campaigns in the past, and describes herself as a proud Burnaby resident, political activist, and organizer.

Richard N Liu, One Burnaby: Richard N Liu graduated from Burnaby’s St. Thomas More Collegiate and has experience in diplomacy, international relations, and events organization. He was involved in organizing the Terry Fox Run in Beijing for more than 15 years, and in 2018 he was part of a municipal trade mission to South Korea. He is also a part of the Burnaby Board of Trade.

Richard T Lee, One Burnaby: Richard T Lee served as the MLA for Burnaby North from 2001-2017, as part of the BC Liberals. During that time, he had a stint as the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. For the Liberal Party of Canada, he ran against the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh in the 2019 Burnaby South byelection, but ultimately lost by just under 3,000 votes.

Sav Dhaliwal, Burnaby Citizens’ Association, incumbent: Like Calendino, Sav Dhaliwal has sat on council since 2002. He’s had a busy tenure since then, with numerous regional appointments: currently, he serves as chair of the Metro Vancouver Regional District, as well as president of the Lower Mainland Local Government Association and Union of British Columbia Municipalities, and national director of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Scott van Denham, independent: If elected, Scott van Denham is pledging to work towards affordable housing, accessible public spaces and safer intersections, and in opposition to the Trans Mountain expansion project. Van Denham was also a candidate in the 2021 byelection.

Tara Shushtarian, Burnaby Green Party: Tara Shushtarian says she was motivated by the urgency of the climate crisis to run for municipal office. If elected, she says she will work on improving transportation and protecting green space, as well as collaborating on the building of more affordable purpose-built rental housing stock.

Tom Tao, independent: While he’s never been elected, Tom Tao has run in a number of municipal and provincial elections in the past. His candidate biography claims Burnaby has to do better in promoting trust between council and residents.

What issues are most important to you as a voter in Burnaby? Let us know by sending us an email at info@burnabybeacon.com.

Srushti Gangdev

Reporter at Burnaby Beacon

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