(Dustin Godfrey / Burnaby Beacon)

Burnaby Greens won’t challenge Mayor Hurley in local election this year

If the BCA also doesn't challenge Mayor Mike Hurley, he may go without any party-backed opposition in the 2022 local election.

By Dustin Godfrey | February 16, 2022 |5:00 am

The Burnaby Green Party will not be challenging Mike Hurley’s seat in the upcoming local election, with the slate’s lone incumbent councillor saying he fully backs the mayor.

That could leave the sitting mayor without any party-backed opponents if the Burnaby Citizens’ Association also backs Hurley.

Currently, the BCA and the Burnaby Greens are the only local parties registered with Elections BC in Burnaby. But in elections past, other electoral organizations have popped up in Burnaby, including the right-wing Burnaby First and the longer-standing Burnaby Voters’ Association.

BCA president Leila Lolua told Burnaby Beacon early this month that her party has not yet made a decision on whether or not it will run a mayoral candidate.

And with the slate’s close alignment with Hurley on council, it’s entirely plausible that the BCA would simply support Hurley.

The Beacon has asked BCA officials in the past about whether they would like to bring Hurley into the fold—he does meet the criteria of being a member of the NDP. However, the party and Hurley have both been effectively mum on the issue.

Joe Keithley, the Burnaby Greens’ only sitting councillor, said his party is still making plans for how to run in the forthcoming local election.

The slate does intend to run candidates for both council and school board, Keithley said. But what’s still unclear is how many candidates in each race will be endorsed by the party.

Since all votes for city councillors are pooled together, rather than individual races to represent wards, smaller parties sometimes strategize by running a limited number of candidates.

“We’re looking at different possibilities, so we haven’t completely decided,” Keithley said.

While that limits the number of people they can potentially elect, it also focuses the party’s voters on a few specific candidates, increasing their likelihood of being elected.

The BCA’s nomination race is already ongoing, with the vetted candidates now awaiting a nomination meeting at the end of March, at which point party members will begin voting.

The Greens, meanwhile, are expecting to hold a nomination meeting sometime in May, leaving the successful candidates with a four- to five-month runway before the local election.

As for himself, Keithley wasn’t clear on whether he would have to run for his party’s nomination again, but said he believed he would. But he said he felt confident in his candidacy.

All BCA incumbents are guaranteed a spot in the next local election.

And Keithley said he was planning to run again, following his first successful run in 2018 after years of running for green parties at various levels of government.

“It’s turned out [that] this is a great job. It’s really engaging,” he said. “It’s really fulfilling to be able to do things that you want to do.”

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Dustin Godfrey

Reporter at Burnaby Beacon

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