With a little less than six months left before voters head to the polls in a provincial election, the Liberals have injected a little star power into one race in Burnaby.
On Sunday, the party announced former Global B.C. anchor Steve Darling will be the candidate for Burnaby-Lougheed in the next election.
He’ll take on NDP candidate and current school trustee Katrina Chen and Green party candidate Joe Keithley.
Darling said after he was let go by Global B.C. last month, he was looking for a change in direction and decided to enter politics because of a passion for the province and his family.
“I felt it was the right opportunity to try and make a difference, because I’ve done that my whole career in trying to make a difference with charities and people’s lives and things like that,” he told the NOW.
The former anchor said he chose the Liberals because he sees the party as being fiscally responsible and agrees with the party’s message that the economy is the most important issue.
Darling, who lives in Port Coquitlam, said he’s excited to run in Burnaby-Lougheed, where he worked for 18 years at Global’s studio, adding he feels like he’s “coming home again.”
In what is sure to be a big campaign issue locally, Darling offered his thoughts when asked about the demoviction issue in the Metrotown area.
The candidate suggested there is money on the table for affordable housing from the province but added all three levels of government need to be at the table for the discussion. And, in a break from partisan politics, he praised Mayor Derek Corrigan and said he wants to have a conversation with the mayor on the issue.
“I like him a lot, I think he’s a good guy, and I think he really cares about Burnaby as I do, so I think if we have the right conversations that issue can be solved,” he said.
On the issue of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Darling said he was happy to see the recent announcement by the federal government of $1.5 billion for oil spill response, adding it was long overdue.
If the pipeline is approved, he said, he’ll be fighting to make sure all of the province’s conditions are met and the expansion happens in a responsible and safe way.
“Right now, resources are an important part of the economy, and we have to find a way to manage those resources but also make sure we keep everybody safe,” Darling said.
Just a couple days after the Liberals picked their candidate, Keithley, the lead singer for the punk rock band D.O.A., was named the candidate for the Green party.
“I am running in the May election because we need honesty and compassion in government,” Keithley said in a press release. “The B.C. Liberals and the B.C. NDP only answer to the special interest groups that give them money. My approach is to look for a solution that will lead to more cooperation and to the people having more say; I call this grassroots democracy.”
This isn’t the musician’s first foray into politics. Keithley ran for the Greens in the Coquitlam-Burke Mountain byelection in February but finished in third.
With the two new candidates in the mix, the riding just became one to watch in 2017.
The riding is up for grabs after the NDP’s Jane Shin announced she would be leaving politics after just one term. Shin won the riding in 2013 by about 750 votes.
Prior to 2013, the MLA for the riding was Liberal Harry Bloy.
Randy Rinaldo was named the candidate for Burnaby-Lougheed earlier this year, but after a series of controversial tweets he made in 2012 resurfaced, the B.C. Liberal candidate announced he wouldn’t be running in the 2017 provincial election.
Darling joins MLA Richard Lee (Burnaby North) and Karen Wang (Burnaby-Deer Lake) as the three candidates so far for the Liberals. The party has yet to announce a candidate for the Burnaby-Edmonds riding.
The NDP’s four candidates in Burnaby are Janet Routledge (Burnaby North), city councillor Anne Kang (Burnaby-Deer Lake), Chen (Burnaby-Lougheed) and current Burnaby-Edmonds MLA Raj Chouhan.