For the first time in the band’s history, the chief of the Kwikwetlem First Nation is publicly backing Tri-City municipal candidates.
Today (Friday), a spokesperson for Chief Ron Giesbrecht said he’s promoting — but not endorsing — six contenders vying for mayoral and council seats in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.
They are, in Coquitlam, Richard Stewart for mayor and Brent Asmundson and Dennis Marsden for council; in PoCo, Priscilla Omulo for council; and in Port Moody, Mike Clay for mayor and Tasha Faye Evans for council (Evans also has the support of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation).
Chief Giesbrecht is throwing his weight behind the candidates based on their First Nations-friendly platforms; no challengers approached him for support, the spokesperson said.
Stewart told The Tri-City News the chief’s approval “I think reflects the work that we’ve done in building a stronger relationship with our First Nation and working to strengthen the discussions and consultations that we should be engaged in on issues of mutual interest.”
And though Kwikwetlem has outstanding land claims for the Riverview Hospital and Colony Farm grounds, which are in Coquitlam, as well as properties in PoCo, “it doesn’t change anything,” Mayor Stewart said. “He and I have a mutual respect and that’s the basis for any future agreement, is to be willing to understand each other’s interests and perspectives.”