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Meet your Mission civic election candidates

They answer a couple of question with their thoughts on the most important local issues
Voting day for the municipal by-election is April 4. File photo.

Election day is getting closer and the Mission Record offers this one-stop primer to the big vote on Oct. 15.

While Oct. 15 is election day, there is an advance voting event this Saturday, Oct. 8, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mission Leisure Centre.

Otherwise, polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 15.

To vote in this election you must be:

18 years or older;

a Canadian citizen;

a resident of B.C. for at least six months;

a resident of Mission;

not disqualified from voting under any law.

Below you will find answers from Mission candidates to a couple of simple questions we posed. Mayoral candidates got 100 words per question, while council and trustee candidates had a word count of 50 words.

Here are the two questions: 1) why are you running for public office and 2) what are the two most important issues facing Mission for council or school board.

RELATED: Sparks fly over Mission waterfront plans at all-candidates’ meeting


H.S. Kenny Braich

1: I am running for mayor because we need a complete overhaul of leadership at city hall whereby all citizens, staff and councillors are respected and represented by someone who will tell them the truth and fight for them and this community at every level and every turn instead of lying and protecting their personal friends, jobs and cliques. Instead of being one of the most progressive, vibrant, financially and socially healthy communities in the province, Mission is choking on massive conflicts of interest, corruption and economically ignorant decisions rooted in prejudice, racism, ego and sheer stupidity. I will change that.

2: Jobs and housing. Over 70% of our workforce leaves town and we must reverse this by restoring confidence for major industries to locate here especially in the face of the corrupt Martini/Netflix waterfront study decisions which rebuked thousands of jobs, billions in economic stimulus and tens of millions in increased tax revenues. We must also increase housing across all sectors and must aggressively solve the RV and tiny home regulatory issues to help provide affordable, low-income and homeless sheltering which is possible by partnering with our First Nations communities who are not blocked by ridiculous and expensive red tape.

Dustin Hiles

1: I didn’t come from wealth or inherit opportunity. I worked hard to build a distinguished career in classical music. Unfortunately for so many, simply working hard just doesn’t cut it anymore. I’m running for mayor because things have to change. I stand for safety, affordability, and opportunity here at home. I’ll work hard to build a community where people feel safe in their own neighborhoods, a Mission where families can afford to build a life together, a home where we take care of our most vulnerable, honour Indigenous partnerships, support emerging industries and small businesses, and protect our environment.

2: The major issue facing residents today is affordability. Gas, groceries, and bills are becoming unbearable because taxes keep going up. The incumbent wants to keep Mission a “Park and Ride” suburb of Surrey. I’ll work hard to build affordable high-density housing and lower property taxes to give families the support they need. We also face extremely serious safety concerns. Homelessness, poverty, mental health, and the opioid epidemic threaten the livelihood of families and residents in Mission. I’ll support the RCMP and hire more officers, as well as mental health-care workers, and enforce bylaws that keep our neighbourhoods safe.

Paul Horn

1: These are challenging times. Mission will be faced with formidable obstacles and opportunities, so we will need experience, vision, and leadership to navigate effectively. Serving as mayor isn’t easy, but that’s why I want to continue the job. I love our home and understand the work we need to do. We need a mayor who will engage and partner with neighbours, community organizations and other levels of government. We need a mayor who will carry himself with grace, poise, and professionalism. That’s the type of mayor I have been and will always be.

2: Unfortunately, there are more than two, but Mission has identified affordability and housing as their biggest areas of focus, and I agree. Keeping costs as low as possible during a time of dramatic inflation will be important, and so will be helping people to work locally. If we can help people save on the high costs of commuting, everyone will benefit. We must also ensure there are homes for people of all backgrounds (retirees, first-time buyers, renters, people who need supports). I have more to say on other issues on my website.


Earl Babich

1: To bring integrity, fiscal responsibility, oversight of entire city spatial planning, improve health services, education, construction of new recreation facilities (ie: lacrosse arena, pickleball), improve accessibility of the city connection Centennial Park to Mission Bridge Park, connecting downtown Mission to the waterfront with a skybridge and green walkways and bikeways.

2: Eliminate corruptions from city hall. Undo the pretzel (cheers, Rocky!). Second, eliminate homelessness, improving housing security for all while saving Mother Earth by investing in vehicles, infrastructure, lawnmowers, equipment trucks, street cleaners, excavators etc. that are electric and rechargeable. Next, improve education, schools, recreation and transportation services. Love Mission.

Pash Brar

1: I’m running for council because service is in my DNA. I hope that together we can create a better quality of life for all those who live in Mission. Life is not all about money - it’s family, friends, and creating memories. Let’s make Mission a place to work, play and stay.”

2: First, housing. We don’t have enough and we need the right kind. People need to have good, affordable housing here in Mission. Second, we need to have well-paying jobs so people can live and work in their hometown and don’t have to sacrifice quality of life to feed their families.

Mark Davies

1: I am running for re-election to make life better for everyone in Mission. It’s the reason that drives me –that I can make change that helps a resident find shelter, for our businesses thrive, to seek local jobs, and create opportunities to increase resident enjoyment in our community.

2: Housing and local jobs. Housing issues - development timelines, affordable housing strategies, homelessness, and growth/infrastructure management. Jobs - Local quality employment creation is another key issue – to help residents work, live, and recreate in Mission. Both issues are key concerns of Mission residents – and council must address.

Arsh Dhaliwal

1: I want to give back to Mission. Mission has given my friends and family everything. I was able to grow up here and continue doing great things professionally while residing here. I now want Mission to be the benefit of my talents (educationally and professionally). I care about Mission.

2: Our schools and hospital certainly need to be upgraded. Our schools are over capacity, and our hospital lacks many services (some would say it’s a glorified first-aid center). I will continue to push to resolve these issues.

Angel Elias

1: I have first-hand knowledge of the business and the non-profit community, and I’ve had a hand in everything from fundraising for food banks and youth centres to sports and education, and health care. After raising my children, it seems like the right time for the next step in my life and serving our community.

2: Lack of services such as mental health service, health care, and schools. While these are provincial-funded matters, as a city we can advocate and work with our provincial government to bring the much-needed funding to provide these services. Another important issue is managing growth and having the infrastructure to sustain the growth.

Jag Gill

1: To represent the people of Mission and our community’s well-being and interests. I believe with my youth, skillset and experience, I can be a leading voice in shaping Mission. Mission is a growing community; we must ensure existing residents see the benefits of that growth and not just the burden.

2: This is difficult to answer in 50 words because It’s very easy to list the problems. I want to list the problems I have seen in four years and my plan to address them. Here are two, housing affordability, and Infrastructure from parks, roads all the way to transportation.

Carol Hamilton

1: I am seeking a third term on council because I believe, moving forward, experience matters, and I have that experience with a broad knowledge of the role and commitment of a city councillor. The current council has updated several masterplans. The next council will want to see that these plans are implemented.

2: Investing in infrastructure to support growth as well as maintaining our current infrastructure will be a priority. Fiscal responsibility is also a priority for me. Council should be mindful to balance spending and taxes. The choices we make today will determine what kind of future our children and grandchildren will inherit.

Shailu Handa

1: This city is my home and what happens here over the next four-year term will affect us all. I want to voice our concerns and bring about improvements with a can-do attitude that my work and personal experiences have taught me. I have a very strong work ethic and am very dedicated and dependable.

2: I believe on the forefront is the much-needed Infrastructure updates and upgrades, including the high school, the roads and overpasses, and the hospital. Secondly, affordability, where renting or buying the prices are higher in comparison to income equality and jobs outside of town. Unhomed and social investment are up there, too.

Ken Herar

1: I’ve decided to seek re-election in hopes of continuing my representation of the many voices in our community. Mission will be experiencing growth over the next many years, but the direction, we take is something that I want to be a strong voice for, in advocating for a livable and walkable community.

2: For me, it’s about keeping taxes low to moderate, without cutting community services, over the next four years. I’ve demonstrated this when voting against two tax increases during a pandemic. Secondly, working with our provincial government to obtain funds for the construction of new schools and many other necessary upgrades.

Paul Hockridge

1: To provide good leadership, to plan and build for the future. My past community service and business experience provides valuable ideas to be shared and a passion for Mission. I’m committed to do the right thing for Mission and sometimes make decisions that benefit the community but not me personally.

2: Public Safety. Due to rapid expansion and densification, are our ambulance, police and fire sufficient? Following on this my second is: Are we expanding too rapidly? In our hurry to increase the tax base, our infrastructure is being left behind. We need to take a breath and catchup our infrastructure.

Brandon Kealey

1: I believe we need younger people with new ideas and fresh perspectives, and to bring politics back to the basics: listening to the people. Community engagement is crucial, and I’m committed to listening to and learning from all residents. Please reach out to me if you’d like to chat 604-376-2610.

2: We need affordable homes, especially for our single parents and low-income seniors. We also need to expand our commercial/industrial tax base in order to take pressure off residential property taxes. These will be my priorities if elected — ensuring Mission is a more affordable place to live.

Candace Koch

1: Because I do not see a vibrant and secure future if we continue to elect the same politicians, with the same ideas who claim to be bold. Mission is losing services and opportunities to other towns. We need new, out-of-the-box ideas and fresh perspectives at the table.

2: Seventy-five-per-cent of Mission’s tax revenue is residential. We need to create new pockets, instead of digging deeper into yours. The aggressive pursuit of commercial and industrial development in the right locations is essential. The waterfront will be critical to achieve this. A variety of housing options are needed more than ever.

Steve McLay

1: I moved from a town that is struggling from decisions that were made 20 years ago. Bad developments being pushed through, infrastructure not keeping pace with the growth, with no thought for the future. Mission has so much potential to thrive while keeping our small-town feel.

2: There isn’t enough Industrial/commercial businesses here to ease tax increases on residents. Second, we don’t invest in ourselves. What is there to do in Mission for young families? Let’s look at updating the leisure centre. We need to be bold and aggressive to get both of these things happening.

Tyler McStravick

1: I am someone who can give a different perspective. I work in the trades and I volunteer coaching our youth. I have no ties to businesses or developers so every decision I make will be honest and transparent. I will be hard-working, an advocate and a voice for you.

2: Mission is developing residentially too quickly and densely for our infrastructure. This will cause congestion not only on roads but in our schools, hospitals and cause emergency services response times to increase. That being said, we need safer and more affordable environments/activities for our youth.

Sabastien Obi

1: I am running to bring a youthful but knowledgeable perspective to the issues facing our city and the decisions being made by council. It’s time to review our past in order to look towards our future within the city and I welcome to the opportunity to do so.

2: For me, it is the excessive red tape that applicants face with building permit applications, as well as the lack of positive commercial activities for one to partake in here in Mission. We need to start creating opportunities for positive development and activities right here in Mission.

Danny Plecas

1: As a three-term councillor, l believe experience and knowledge are important in following through on recently approved plans for Silverdale and the waterfront. The utility and transportation master plans are critical components of future growth. We need to ensure these plans are managed within our financial capacity.

2: First, rapid growth places pressure on our infrastructure and community amenities. Second, escalating cost of infrastructure and operations due to inflation. Both of these issues have created an increasing burden on homeowners. Measurable relief can only be attained through well-planned development and strong financial stewardship.


Jash Bains

1: I am a mother of 3, two of whom are in Mission high school. An active community member and a concerned mother and with a financial background, I think I can be a major asset to the board in decision making. Education is at the top of my priority list with a focus on student achievement and well-being.

2: A high school is needed for the reason of everyone in Mission packed into one high school which is 70 years old and negative in almost every aspect. The other issue is the ratio of teachers/support staff to children. We also need more teachers and support staff.

Randy Cairns

1: I believe in a public education system which ensures all children receive the best quality education we can provide. I also want to continue the progress on improving student achievement and completion in our district. I will continue to advocate for sustained funding to support students.

2: Growth and the continued pressure on facilities. I will pressure government to fulfill their commitment to replace MSS and advocate for a replacement at Hatzic Elementary and new elementary school in North Cedar. There is also a need to provide ongoing support for students’ social emotional health impacted by the pandemic.

Linda Hamel

1: As a retired educator in MPSD, I continue to be passionate about public education. I know and understand the issues that need to be addressed in order for students to succeed. My goal is to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn in an effective, safe school environment.

2: As we are Mission Public Schools, equity in schools needs to be ensured. All students need access to resources, programs of support and extracurricular activities. Schools need to maintain consistent and qualified staffing levels. All staff need to feel safe and supported.

Ross Lightburn-Renaud

1: As a parent with children currently in Mission schools, I am committed to making sure each and every student excels in SD75. I bring 35 years of professional experience working directly with children and youth. I have also direct involvement working with municipal and provincial governments, and school districts.

2: Students need to feel included and safe. Always. We need a greater range of experienced support in the classrooms, such as more EAs, for students with special needs. Replacing schools such as MSS is only one step. This generation of students need our current schools improved for accessibility and success.

Tracy Loffler

1: I want to be part of the solution and do what I can to help. I’ve had children in this district since 2007 and have seen the firsthand experiences of students in our system. I bring eight years’ experience as a trustee, and I want to continue to serve our students and community.

2: The biggest issues are improving student achievement and managing growth and capacity issues. Focusing on mental health, truth and reconciliation, along with equity, diversity and inclusion will be key to improving student outcomes. Advocacy and collaborative relationships will be key to moving forward.


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Chris Campbell

About the Author: Chris Campbell

I joined the Victoria News hub as an editor in 2023, bringing with me over 30 years of experience from community newspapers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
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