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Big money did the talking in Burnaby byelection with 8% voter turnout

When it comes to winning a seat on Burnaby council, money still talks.
New Burnaby city councillors Alison Gu and Mike Hillman.

When it comes to winning a seat on Burnaby council, money still talks.

Alison Gu and Mike Hillman are Burnaby's latest council members and they were among the biggest spenders in the June 26 election to fill two empty seats, according to financial disclosures from Elections BC.

According to the disclosure statements, the Burnaby Citizens Association spent more than $93,000 on the campaign for its two candidates, Gu and Baljinder Narang, who came in third place. According to the statements, the BCA still has a $152,000 surplus in its account.

Hillman spent more than $51,000 on his campaign, followed by Lee Rankin, with $7,000. The Burnaby Green Party spent just $5,400 on the campaign for its two candidates, Mehreen Chaudry and Teresa Rossiello.

So the BCA and Hillman outspent their opponents by a wide margin.

Few people, however, turned out to vote.

On June 26, voters headed to the polls to cast their ballot to fill two vacant seats on council and had 14 candidates to choose from. The number of voters was extremely poor, seeing just 13,518 voters cast a ballot out of a registered 161,772 voters which equates to an extremely low percentage of 8.36%. 

When all was said and done, Gu received 4,994 voters (19.36 per cent). 

Hillman would finish with 3,227 votes (12.51%).

But it was extremely close for Hillman, who only beat out Gu's running mate Baljinder Narang by 0.48% (12.03%). 

Former councillor Lee Rankin also came close to Hillman, receiving 11.87% of the vote (3,061). 

  • With additional reporting by Jess Balzer


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