Burnaby City Hall. (Dustin Godfrey/ Burnaby Beacon)

Municipal election 2022: Burnaby’s major parties

As the municipal election nears, here’s a quick explainer of Burnaby's three major political parties and what they do.

By Srushti Gangdev | September 9, 2022 |5:00 am

With the municipal election just over a month and a half away, we at the Beacon are in full election mode!

So far, we’ve laid out the list of candidates for mayor, city council, and the school board, along with a rundown of some of the major issues affecting our city that you can expect to hear more about in the coming weeks.

There are a few other names, though, that you’ll see tossed around a fair bit—the names of the three major parties making bids for council and school board positions.

Here’s a quick explainer of who those parties represent and what they do. None of the parties have released detailed platforms at this time, but we’ll be sure to update you when they do.

The parties

Burnaby Citizens’ Association

The Burnaby Citizens’ Association is Burnaby’s longest-standing municipal party—Alan Emmott (former city councillor and later, mayor) and Eileen Dailly (former school trustee, and later Burnaby North MLA, education minister, and deputy premier) founded the party in 1955.

It’s held frequent majorities on city council since then—including in 2018, when it successfully elected seven out of eight council members. However, its majority has slimmed since with the departure of two prominent voices in council chambers.

Longtime councillors Colleen Jordan and Dan Johnston exited the BCA in early 2020, after a rift revolving around the party’s policy on subsidizing social housing in the city. Now deceased councillor Paul McDonell chose to join the pair as independents. Another long-time member of the BCA, Nick Volkow, died just a month before McDonell.

The party bills itself as a progressive association that believes in “social democracy and economic, social, and environmental justice.”

And it takes pride in several city accomplishments over the past decade, including Burnaby’s climate action framework, the tenant assistance policy, the secondary suites program, and the living wage program among others.

The Burnaby Citizens’ Association is running eight candidates for city council: Alison Gu (incumbent), Antara Deb, Daniel Tetrault, James Wang (incumbent), Maita Santiago, Pietro Calendino (incumbent), Reah Arora, and Sav Dhaliwal (incumbent).

It has seven candidates for school board: Bill Brassington (incumbent), Gary Wong (incumbent), Jen Mezei (incumbent), Kristin Schnider, Larry Hayes (incumbent), Mikelle Sasakamoose, and Peter Cech (incumbent).

Burnaby Green Party

Although it was first formed in 2011, the Burnaby Green Party found its first successful council candidate in the form of Joe Keithley in 2018—breaking a BCA monopoly.

The party operates on six principles: participatory democracy, sustainability, social justice, respect for diversity, ecological wisdom, and non-violence.

A previous Burnaby Green platform details commitments for combating climate change (such as clean energy initiatives, expanding access to EV infrastructure, and advocating for a ‘15-minute city’). However, the party informed the Beacon that its official platform will be updated closer to the municipal election.

The previous platform details a housing policy that would create a housing commission with residents, experts, and city staff, along with providing more 99-year leases to partners who can provide co-op, rental, and social housing. It would engage with the public on whether the minimum rental components for medium- and high-rise buildings should be raised above the current 20%.

On transportation, the Burnaby Greens want to make Burnaby less ‘car-centric’ through initiatives like constructing at least 30km of new paved bike paths through the city, and ensuring that sidewalks and intersections are safe and accessible for people with mobility issues.

And as the city prepares to review its official community plan (OCP), the party would consult the public on slowing the development of what it calls ‘tower islands’, versus the rezoning of single-family areas to allow for some three to four-storey rental housing buildings.

The Burnaby Green Party is running four candidates for city council: Carrie McLaren, Jasmine Nicholsfigueiredo, Joe Keithley (incumbent), and Tara Shushtarian.

It’s supporting two candidates for school board: Harinder Parmar and Jeff Courson.

The party is not running a mayoral candidate.

One Burnaby

The newest municipal party on the slate, One Burnaby was launched by incumbent councillor Mike Hillman just a few short months ago, in late June. As we’ve previously reported, the party says it’s taking a more centrist approach to the main issues.

On its website, One Burnaby says it’s “committed to building a Burnaby for families,” is in support of more transit options for the city–including the SFU gondola, and will support public safety.

On launching the party, Hillman said his work on several previous political campaigns in Burnaby, including now mayor Mike Hurley’s 2018 campaign and Hillman’s own successful city council campaign last year has taught him that a coalition of voices working together is good for the city.

On the topic of development, Hillman lauded Burnaby’s work on densifying the four town centres. As the city embarks on its OCP review, he wants more clarity on how Burnaby can create a better framework for ‘urban village’ neighbourhoods, that aren’t major urban centres or transit hubs, but are busier areas than single-family neighbourhoods.

He’s also in support of gentle densification in single-family areas.

The party is running six council candidates: Brea Huang Sami, Mario Miceli, Mike Hillman (incumbent), Mona Grewal, Richard N. Liu, and Richard T. Lee.

It has not nominated any candidates for school board.

One Burnaby does not plan to run a mayoral candidate—instead, it’s endorsing Mike Hurley for re-election.

The independents

There are three council candidates running in the election who aren’t associated with any party at all: Deborah Skerry, Gulam Firdos, Heymann Yip, Ken Arnold, Konstantinos Roccas, Martin Kendell, Michael Angelo Robinhood, Scott van Denham, and Tom Tao.

You can read more about them in our previous story here, and read all the candidates’ full biographies on the city website.

Mayoral candidate Mike Hurley (incumbent), running unopposed, is also independent.

Srushti Gangdev

Reporter at Burnaby Beacon

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