Despite some disappointments, the November 19, 2005 community elections saw at least 22 current or former CUPE members and three staffers voted on to municipal councils and school boards throughout British Columbia.
“Thanks to the hard work of our activists and staff, we did better this time than ever before,” said CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill. “You can see it in the results.”
Two current members endorsed by their locals, Lawrence Chernoff (CUPE Local 873) and John Ranns (CUPE Local 1978), were elected mayor of their respective communities, Castlegar and Metchosin.
CUPE members were also elected to councils and school boards in the Kootenays, Prince Rupert, Richmond, Quesnel, Coquitlam, and New Westminster.
On Vancouver Island, Ben Isitt (CUPE Local 4163) came tantalizingly close to beating incumbent Alan Lowe to become mayor of Victoria. In 2002, Isitt was defeated by a two-to-one margin. This time, he took almost 44 per cent of the vote, falling short by 1,400 votes.
In Burnaby, the good news was that former CUPE BC Secretary-Treasurer Colleen Jordan and staffer Kathy Corrigan were re-elected to council and school board, respectively. The bad news was that the progressive Burnaby Citizen’s Association council was cut in half.
In Surrey, CUPE Local 402 President Laurie Larsen finished two votes short of a seat on a school board desperately in need of progressive voices. Once again, that lonely task will fall to Terry Allen (CUPE Local 379).