Alison Gu and Mike Hillman win two council seats in Burnaby by-election in unofficial count

Hillman has a 124-vote lead over the third-place finisher, Baljinder Narang, who ran with the Burnaby Citizens Association

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      The City of Burnaby has released the unofficial results from its Saturday (June 26) by-election for two seats on city council.

      Topping the polls by a large margin was Alison Gu, a 24-year-old environmental activist and constituency office worker for Advanced Education Minister Anne Kang.

      Gu, who was running with the Burnaby Citizens Association, attracted 4,994 votes.

      That put her a whopping 1,767 votes ahead of her nearest competitor, Mike Hillman, a former membership chair of the Liberal Party of Canada in B.C.

      Hillman finished 124 votes ahead of former Burnaby school trustee Baljinder Narang in the unofficial count. Narang ran with the BCA.

      In the 2018 council election, Narang also narrowly missed getting elected, coming only 215 votes behind Joe Keithley of the Burnaby Greens.

      On Twitter, Gu described her victory as a "bittersweet moment" because of Narang's loss.

      Narang congratulated Gu over Twitter and thanked her family and various politicians for their support.

      If the unofficial results are confirmed, Hillman will become the first non-BCA and non-Green candidate to win a council seat in Burnaby since 2005.

      That year, Lee Rankin and Garth Evans were elected with Team Burnaby. In Saturday's by-election, Rankin came fourth, trailing Hillman by 166 votes and Narang by 42 votes.

      Voter turnout was a dismal 8.36 percent, with only 13,518 ballots cast. That contrasted with a 33.46 percent turnout and 49,972 ballots cast in the 2018 general election in Burnaby.

      The by-election was held because of the deaths of two veteran councillors, Paul McDonell and Nick Volkow. Both died after being elected on the BCA slate in 2018. (McDonell resigned from the caucus prior to his passing.)

      The next general election for council will take place on October 15, 2022, which means that Gu and Hillman, if confirmed, will only serve fewer than 16 months in office before facing the voters again.

      The Burnaby Greens were disappointed in the by-election as both of their candidates—fifth-place finisher Mehreen Chaudry and ninth-place finisher Teresa Rossiello—were defeated.

      Keithley, a high-profile punk rocker, is the only Green to have been elected to council in Burnaby.

      The city has been an NDP stronghold in recent years. Two of the city's three MPs, Jagmeet Singh (Burnaby South) and Peter Julian (New Westminster–Burnaby), are New Democrats, as are all four of the city's MLAs.

      The only federal Liberal representing Burnaby is Terry Beech, the two-term MP for Burnaby North–Seymour.