Burnaby Citizens Association sweeps the city once again in civic election
It came two days early but Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan's birthday gift was sweet nonetheless—a second-straight sweep of every civic seat for the Burnaby Citizens' Association (BCA).
The left-leaning civic party won all the seats by wide margins, with a clear lead as the results started coming in after the polls closed at 8 p.m. Corrigan was re-elected mayor with 76 per cent of the vote, compared to the 16.5 per cent received by his closest challenger, Tom Tao of the right-leaning Team Burnaby.
All eight incumbent city councillors retained their seats—Pietro Calendino, Dan Johnston, Anne Kang, Colleen Jordan, Richard Chang, Sav Dhaliwal, Paul McDonell and Nick Volkow—with Volkow taking the last spot by a 4,945 vote margin from Team Burnaby's Lee Rankin.
Rankin and fellow Team candidate Garth Evans, both former councillors, were the top vote-getters among non-BCA candidates. In fact, Team's eight-candidate slate took the next eight spots while Burnaby Municipal Greens' four council candidates finished in the 17th to 20th spots.
The race for school board, meanwhile, was also clearly won. First-time candidate Harman Pandher took the seventh and final school trustee spot by 5,765 votes ahead of his closest challenger, Glen Power of Team Burnaby.
Pandher joins incumbents Ron Burton, Larry Hayes, Gary Wong, James Wang, Baljinder Narang and fellow first-time-trustee Meiling Chia on the new school board.
In 10th place, Helen Ward was the top vote-getting candidate from Burnaby Parents Voice, a new party which fielded five trustee candidates. The group formed out of opposition over the school district's adoption of an anti-homophobic bullying policy last spring.
In fact, a number of BCA candidates credited Parents' Voice with helping get the BCA vote out.
"Your courage, school board, brought out our vote," said Corrigan in his victory speech, "and tonight we have you to thank for this sweep because the people of Burnaby came out to tell those who will be intolerant that it won't happen here."
Coun. Nick Volkow said of Parents' Voice, "You can't run a campaign on fear and intolerance and especially in this community, it's just not going to work and it was demonstrated today.
"I think they took a drubbing and rightfully so."
Coun. Pietro Calendino, the top vote-getter on council with 8.2 per cent of the vote, said that "the people of Burnaby figured out that the BCA was running the city very responsibly and it was not a coincidence that we were declared the best-run city in the country" by Maclean's magazine in 2009.
Calendino said the party recruited many more volunteers than in 2008 and speculated that could have been related to Parents' Voice, saying that party's opposition to policy 5.45 "could have backfired."
Coun. Paul McDonell said the BCA worked hard for the win and that he noted on his Facebook page before the polls closed that "the first sweep was lucky, the second one we'll earn it."
He speculated many voters came out to support the BCA school trustees in its stance against homophobic bullying and in turn cast their votes for BCA councillors as well.
But ultimately, McDonell credited the extra effort put in by the campaign team this time around.
"If you run like you're losing, you're going to win. If you run like you're winning, that's when you're going to lose."
For Corrigan's part, he thought a second sweep was possible from the beginning due to the support each individual councillor had received from the community.
He said the biggest challenge faced by the BCA was from media reports and opinion pieces that suggested the party should have an opposition on council and school board.
"We had to show the public that, first of all, they could trust us, that they believed in our government and they believed we were open and accountable. Then we had to show them there was a good reason to continue to vote for the people who were on council."
Burnaby school board chair Larry Hayes didn't expect the second sweep.
"Just having a sweep the last election I don't think there were many of us that thought the stars could align again like they did. But certainly very happy and it very clearly shows that democracy in Burnaby works great and this is what the citizens want."
Calling Parents' Voice a "fringe group" that threatened "the good things that we have in the community and the school district."
The election produced a clearer picture of what the community wants, he said.
"The community wants a school district of tolerance, of respect for everybody and the majority certainly did not fall for a lot of misinformation that was being spread, a lot of fear being spread."
Hayes said the school board still has much work to do to educate those opposed to policy 5.45 and show them that adopting it was the right thing to do.
He was surprised at how ineffective Team Burnaby was in the campaign, saying "it was very difficult for them to come up with a platform to criticize how the school district was being run."
Team Burnaby council candidate Garth Evans credited the BCA's organization and greater financial resources for its win and suggested that the Greens and Parents' Voice might have taken votes away from Team candidates.
Evans was disappointed that there will be no opposition for the BCA.
"If anything bad's been going on up at city hall we're not going to find out because [council is] not going to look for it," he said.
"Really, it's our fault," Evans said of Team's loss. "We didn't run a good enough campaign, we didn't obviously present a sufficient alternative program."
He added, if Team Burnaby is ever to mount a successful campaign against the BCA, it will have to find someone who can run effectively against Corrigan for mayor.
"Because it's all him. Those guys (council) are riding his coattails."
Following are the preliminary results with 37/37 polls reporting.
Derek CORRIGAN 25,053 76% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Tom TAO 5,450 16.5% TEAM Burnaby
Allen HUTTON 1,600 4.9%
Sylvia GUNG 850 2.6%
CITY COUNCIL (first 8 elected)
Pietro CALENDINO 18,822 8.2% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Dan JOHNSTON 17,735 7.7% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Anne KANG 17,368 7.6% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Colleen JORDAN 17,364 7.6% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Richard CHANG 17,209 7.5% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Sav DHALIWAL 17,029 7.4% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Paul McDONELL 16,624 7.2% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Nick VOLKOW 16,406 7.1% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Lee RANKIN 11,461 5% TEAM Burnaby
Garth EVANS 10,705 4.7% TEAM Burnaby
June JEFFRIES 8,654 3.8% TEAM Burnaby
Jeffrey CHIU 8,347 3.6% TEAM Burnaby
Jim FAVARO 8,245 3.6% TEAM Burnaby
Ray POWER 7,873 3.4% TEAM Burnaby
Lotus CHUNG 7,625 3.3% TEAM Burnaby
Graham MURCHIE 7,144 3.1% TEAM Burnaby
Carrie McLAREN 4,656 2% BURNABY GREENS
Adrianne MERLO 4,497 2% BURNABY GREENS
Matthew STUART 4,403 1.9% BURNABY GREENS
Rick McGOWAN 4,371 1.9% BURNABY GREENS
Nick AKVENICH 3,211 1.4%
SCHOOL BOARD (first seven elected)
Ron BURTON 18,478 9.1% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Larry HAYES 17,751 8.8% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Gary WONG 15,349 7.6% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
James WANG 14,975 7.4% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Baljinder K. NARANG 14,638 7.2% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Meiling CHIA 14,489 7.2% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Harman S. PANDHER 13,438 6.6% BCA - BURNABY CITIZENS
Glen POWER 7,673 3.8% TEAM Burnaby
Bonda BITZER 7,452 3.7% TEAM Burnaby
Helen WARD 7,326 3.6% Burnaby Parents' Voice
Alex HUI 6,985 3.5% TEAM Burnaby
Rennie MAIERLE 6,917 3.4% TEAM Burnaby
Anne Sharleen SYLVA 6,637 3.3% TEAM Burnaby
Gordon WORLD 6,108 3% Burnaby Parents' Voice
Charter LAU 6,071 3% Burnaby Parents' Voice
Helen H. S. CHANG 5,805 2.9% BURNABY GREENS
Pablo SU 5,533 2.7% TEAM Burnaby
Scott JANZEN 5,455 2.7% BURNABY GREENS
Homara AHMAD 5,241 2.6% Burnaby Parents' Voice
Jeff KUAH 4,997 2.5% TEAM Burnaby
Long XUE 4,578 2.3% Burnaby Parents' Voice
Franca ZUMPANO-LUONGO 4,057 2%
Jade TOMELDEN 2,257 1.1%