Civic election results in Surrey and Burnaby marked the fall of two B.C. political stalwarts, with the once-dominant Surrey First party earning a single spot on council and the five-term mayor of Burnaby bounced from his seat.
In Surrey, Doug McCallum of the Safe Surrey Coalition claimed the mayoral race. Mr. McCallum picked up 45,484 votes, according to preliminary results, while Tom Gill of Surrey First finished second with 28,473 votes.
Mr. McCallum’s party also emerged with seven of eight council seats, a far cry from 2014 when Surrey First claimed the mayor’s office and all eight councillor positions. Linda Hepner, who won the mayoral race four years ago, did not seek re-election.
Mr. McCallum, who served as Surrey’s mayor from 1996 to 2005, but came up short in his mayoral bid in 2014, campaigned on withdrawing from the RCMP to establish an independent police force. He also said he would scrap plans to build a streetcar-type transit line in favour of a SkyTrain line.
“When I travel around the world, different mayors from very large cities, they are envious of the city of Surrey because of what we have. … We are truly a great, international city,” Mr. McCallum told supporters after his win.
“We have a mixture of different cultures that work together to make our city great. We have so many opportunities to move forward. This campaign was all about change and you have just elected a council that is going to make those changes.”
In Burnaby, Derek Corrigan, who had served as mayor since 2002, was defeated by Mike Hurley, a former president of the BC Professional Fire Fighters Association who had not previously held elected office.
Mr. Corrigan received 20,333 votes, while Mr. Hurley picked up 26,260 votes.
A Justason Market Intelligence Inc. poll released last week said housing affordability was the top election issue in Burnaby. The poll said Mr. Hurley had capitalized on residents’ concerns by announcing a housing affordability plan and promising a moratorium on demovictions, in which affordable housing is demolished in favour of new condos.
“Some of the key factors were definitely the housing issue and the demoviction issue,” Mr. Hurley said in an interview.
“But also, we knocked on over 22,000 doors throughout the city. We were hearing that people were feeling that Mayor Corrigan wasn’t listening anymore and that there was a huge appetite for change.”
Mr. Corrigan staunchly opposed the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and Mr. Hurley said he is also against the project. “The risk is just too great for Burnaby in my opinion,” Mr. Hurley said.
Mr. Corrigan could not be reached for comment Sunday.
Mario Canseco, president of the polling firm Research Co., said in an interview that Mr. McCallum benefited from the second and third-place finishers in the Surrey race splitting the vote. Bruce Hayne, who had been a Surrey First councillor but ran for mayor with Integrity Now, was third with 27,951 votes.
“Surrey First, which was a dynasty under [former mayor] Dianne Watts and won every single seat in council four years ago under [Ms.] Hepner, they’re left with only councillor,” Mr. Canseco said. “All of the other councillors are from the Safe Surrey Coalition and [Mr.] McCallum has complete control. I think a lot of people maybe expected something closer.”
In Burnaby, Mr. Canseco said the race for mayor changed when Green candidate Joe Keithley opted to instead seek a spot as councillor. He said votes for Mr. Keithley likely would have pulled from Mr. Hurley.
Mr. Keithley was successful in his council bid. The seven other council positions were earned by members of the Burnaby Citizens Association, Mr. Corrigan’s party.
Elsewhere in B.C., NDP MLA Leonard Krog was declared the winner of the mayoral race in Nanaimo. Mr. Krog’s departure from the provincial government will squeeze an already tight margin for the NDP, which formed government last year through a power-sharing agreement with the provincial Green Party. The Liberals have 42 seats in the house, the New Democrats 41, including Mr. Krog. The Greens have three seats and there is one independent.
In Victoria, Lisa Helps was successful in her mayoral re-election bid.