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Updated: Popular Port Coquitlam politician won't seek a third term, says she's 'proud' of work accomplished

Coun. Laura Dupont was the top vote-getter among council candidates in the 2018 election but has decided not to run in the Oct. 15 municipal election in Port Coquitlam.
Laura Dupont NDP
Port Coquitlam Coun. Laura Dupont has decided not to run in the Oct. 15 municipal election.

A Port Coquitlam councillor who topped the polls in the last civic election won't be running for a third term.

Coun. Laura Dupont confirmed in an email to the Tri-City News that she won't be running in the Oct. 15 Port Coquitlam municipal election.

"I am not intending to run for a third term on Port Coquitlam city council," Dupont wrote in her statement.

"I’m proud of the hard work I have done to make Port Coquitlam a healthy community including pushing for a comprehensive climate plan, increased tree protection within our tree bylaw and moving us towards a more food secure future," Dupont further added in her statement.

In an interview with the Tri-City News Friday (Aug. 11), Dupont said it was time to move on and create a path for more "diverse" candidates to step forward.

"I think it’s time to move along from city council," she said.

"I'd love to see a bit more diversity on council. I think we benefit the community by more closely reflecting the diversity of the residents. I’m hopeful to see us changing in that way, mimicking the community in terms of what we represent."

She is currently looking for opportunities in the private sector or social services, although she hasn't ruled out running for politics some time in the future.

Dupont, who notched more than 6,500 votes in the 2018 municipal election, took on a challenge last year by running as the NDP candidate in the fall federal election.

However, voters returned Liberal MP Ron McKinnon to the job representing Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam in parliament.

Dupont is known as a hard-working councillor who often brought up issues about preservation of the environment and trees as well as food security in discussions around the council table.

However, in 2020 she was censured by council colleagues for disclosing confidential information. She followed up with a law suit but the censure was upheld by the Supreme Court.

At the conclusion of the lawsuit, Dupont said she would continue to represent her constituents “positively, and with my head held high” following the decision by the judge.

This week, Dupont said she hopes a municipal code of conduct being developed by the B.C. government will provide more awareness about the unique role of municipal politicians, a project she supported through her role as president of the Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA).

She said newcomers to municipal politics should be prepared to accept the "risks," of working in a field where there are no protections like those afforded most B.C. workers, including WorkSafe BC, bullying and harassment protections, and BC Human Rights legislation.

During her time with the LMLGA, Dupont advocated for an office of integrity commissioner, governing the conduct of civic politicians, something she says she'd still like to see put into place.

"As workers, we're in a no man’s land of protection in the work place, I believe we need somewhere to go."

Despite not seeking a third run at a PoCo council seat, Dupont said she won't disappear completely from the municipal arena, promising to bring issues to council in the future, such as social justice and the environment.

"I care a lot about those things," Dupont said.

She said Port Coquitlam's downtown core needs to be "safe" for everybody, and more inclusive, even for people who don't have stable housing.

"Homeless people need safe downtowns as much as those of us who are fortunate have homes, safety should apply to everyone," she said.

Meanwhile, candidates who have announced they are running for a council spot include Sarah Harbord, Erik Minty, Jami Watson and incumbent Nancy McCurrach.

Mayor Brad West has also announced that he will run for a second term as mayor.