Burnaby’s “godfather of punk” is after a provincial NDP seat in neighbouring Coquitlam.
Speculation has been rampant for months, but Burnaby resident Joe Keithley of DOA fame confirmed Wednesday his nomination papers have been approved by the NDP for the Coquitlam-Burke Mountain constituency.
Keithley said he chose the Coquitlam riding after all the NDP constituencies where he lives in Burnaby were filled. However, Keithley said Coquitlam made sense as another option since he lived in the city for a time when he was younger, even driving a cab for a while. He also noted he has family living in the city and, if elected, he would likely move from his present home in Burnaby.
“It all kind of fits together, I think,” he said, noting his nomination papers were approved by the party just last week.
A longtime social activist through his music, Keithley, who ran for the Green party provincially in the 1990s, said he’s taking another crack at politics in order to bring about change.
“I’ve been an activist in music the past 35 years; I’ve tried to do my change that way,” the 56-year-old said, adding he believes the NDP has a good chance of forming government after the next election.
“In this case, it’s time to make a change from the inside.”
Liberal MLA Doug Horne currently holds the riding. Keithley said he doesn’t expect to sail through the nomination process, suggesting he’ll have to battle at least a few names in the constituency for the spot. He is confident his high-profile status should give him an advantage, both during the nomination process and in a general election.
“Really, my plan is to try and meet with every single member of the party in the riding and try and convince them face to face (that)I would make a good candidate and, therefore, I would have a good chance of making a good MLA,” he said.
It could still be months before Keithley gets put through the rigors of the nomination process. The Coquitlam-Burke Mountain NDP Constituency Association doesn’t even have a date set for a nomination meeting.
Constituency association president Scott McRitchie told The Coquitlam NOW a nomination meeting isn’t expected until late fall or even next year, adding there is no hurry to hold one.
As for a potential candidate, McRitchie said he’s met Keithley once, calling him a “nice guy” who has a “different perspective on things,” noting the musician’s social activism and business sense.
“He’s not 25 anymore. He doesn’t look the part of a punk rocker,” he said.
McRitchie indicated he’s not sure just how well Keithley would do if he does get the nomination.
“The riding is heavily skewed to Asian residents, and so I don’t know how well he’ll resonate in a community like that, but you never know,” he said.
Earlier this year, Keithley told the Burnaby NOW he intended to run under the NDP banner but wouldn’t say exactly where.