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School board candidate first Indigenous person to run for office in Burnaby

Burnaby Citizens Association announces two new trustee candidates for October 2022 municipal elections: federal civil servant Mikelle Sasakamoose and finance executive Claire Chun Wang.
trustee candidates 2022
The Burnaby Citizens Association has announced two new school board candidates for this fall's municipal elections: Mikelle Sasakamoose and Claire Chun Wang.

If the Burnaby Citizens Association has its way, there’ll be two new faces on the local school board this fall.

The BCA has announced two new candidates.

The first is a federal public servant and the first Indigenous person to seek elected office in Burnaby, according to a news release sent out Tuesday.

Mikelle Sasakamoose is a member of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation.

She is also Secwepemc and Syilx and was born and raised on her reserve at Tk’emlups te Secwepemc.

She works in Indigenous relations and is a three-term board member with the Simon Fraser University Childcare Society as well as a current Burnaby Parks, Recreation and Culture Commissioner.

“As a parent with two daughters currently in the Burnaby public school system, Mikelle is running for school trustee to fight for the things that matter to Burnaby parents, including creating school services and programs that support all students, educators and school staff,” states the release.

The second new candidate announced Tuesday is a finance executive and currently serves on BCIT’s board of governors and the Insurance Council of BC. 

Claire Chun Wang has two children in Burnaby public schools and has volunteered from early education, through kindergarten to Grade 12 and in post-secondary education in Burnaby, according to the release.

“Claire is committed to delivering future-proof education, engaging communities with respect, and understands the need to advocate for a fully funded public education system that meets the needs of all students and staff,” states the release.

BCA president Leila Lolua said the party’s choice for the new candidates reflects the will of members and supporters for representatives who reflect the community, with more diversity and equity.

“I’m delighted to have such impressive, intelligent and committed women joining our incumbent trustees on the BCA slate,” Lolua states in the release.

Current school board chair and BCA trustee spokesperson Jen Mezei echoes Lolua’s sentiments.

“Mikelle and Claire are committed to progressive policies and action that support diversity, equity and inclusion,” she states in the release. “Their unique lived experiences and perspectives will further strengthen the BCA trustee slate as we continue on a path towards reconciliation and lead change in public education through an anti-racist lens.”

The rest of the BCA school board candidates announced Tuesday are incumbents: Bill Brassington, Peter Cech, Larry Hayes, Jen Mezei and Gary Wong.

Current BCA trustee Ryan Stewart was not listed on the school board slate.

The BCA’s nomination process for city council candidates will be complete by the end of March, according to the release.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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