From Fire Fighter Quarterly, Fall 2018 issue – After a powerful election campaign using the IAFF’s trademark gold and black, 6th District Vice President Mike Hurley was elected Mayor of Burnaby, British Columbia, in the October 20 election.
A former president of the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters Association (BCPFFA) and Burnaby Local 323, Hurley unseated long-time Mayor Derek Corrigan by capturing 53 per cent of the votes cast. Corrigan had been mayor since 2002 and had served on council since 1987.
“I am grateful to Burnaby residents for receiving my team in the way that they did,” Hurley said following the victory, which prompted congratulations from IAFF members and affiliates across North America. “It will be nice to have a voice for fire fighters and all of labour being heard in the room with mayors across Canada. And for Burnaby it will mean some respect coming back to the fire department, which seemed to be absent some time from the mayor’s chair.”
General President Harold Schaitberger called Hurley’s election a win for fire fighters everywhere and a validation of the IAFF’s political action formula. “Mike has been an excellent IAFF leader and he will make an excellent mayor for the people of Burnaby,” he says. “Thank you to everyone who helped get him elected and for continuing to believe in the IAFF gold and black as a force in politics.”
On the campaign trail, Hurley was constantly surrounded by fire fighters from Local 323 and across the province and other parts of western Canada who worked on his campaign and helped install signs, knock on 25,000 doors and get out the vote on election day. Hurley says 90 per cent or more of Local 323 members helped during the campaign, and thanks Local 323 President Jeff Clark, a 2017 Canadian Political Training Academy graduate, for organizing the Local’s efforts.
The campaign was chaired by 6th District Vice President Emeritus Lorne West and was assisted by a core team of 12 people with help from many other IAFF and BCPFFA leaders and members whose hard work put Hurley over the top in a hotly contested race. Hurley calls it “a textbook campaign” that followed what’s taught in the IAFF Political Training Academy.
Hurley’s four-month campaign focused attention on a number of growing social issues in the city, including community safety and housing affordability. Burnaby, British Columbia’s third-largest city with a population of over 230,000, struggled with those issues under the previous regime that allowed developers to demolish rental properties and replace them with high-end condos.
Hurley is not the first IAFF 6th District Vice President and former Local 323 leader to occupy the mayor’s chair. Bill Copeland was elected in 1987.
With the commitments that lie ahead, Hurley has stepped down from his position as IAFF 6th District Vice President.