Mission opera singer plans to run for mayor this year

Mission opera singer Dustin Hiles rubbed elbows with Ottawa politicians last week when he performed at a post budget dinner March 22 for Peter Milliken, speaker of the House of Commons and his guests.

Politics and opera are the two great loves of Hiles’ life and he said it was a great experience combining the two that night.

Hiles moved to Toronto a couple of years ago to pursue a singing career and was on contract with the Canadian Opera Company when he met the speaker after the last election in 2008.

“We became friends,” said Hiles, who lists Milliken as one of his mentors.

The evening started off with O Canada and Hiles sang Canadian folk songs throughout the evening.

“It’s such a pleasure to have met so many people,” said Hiles, who plans to return to Mission in June when his contract expires.

Hiles misses the B.C. rain, but it is also here where he plans to launch his political career.

“I’d like to run for mayor,” said the 22-year-old. “It’s something I’m considering.”

Hiles says he’s friends with Mission’s current mayor, James Atebe, but he believes more needs to be done and the community must move in a new direction.

Property taxes are shamefully high, and council needs to help secure jobs and bring more businesses here, said Hiles.

While Hiles might be pursuing a new career, he isn’t abandoning his singing roots as he still hopes to perform at private functions.

“I love singing opera.”