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Five races to watch in British Columbia's municipal elections on Saturday


VANCOUVER — Local elections will be held across British Columbia on Saturday. Here are five races to watch:

NANAIMO: The election could trigger a provincial byelection if Leonard Krog, a New Democrat member of the legislature, wins the race for mayor and gives up his seat at the legislature. It wouldn't be enough to tip the balance of power into the Liberals' favour against an NDP minority government that's propped up by the Greens, but it would bring it to the brink. The Liberals have 42 seats in the house, the New Democrats 41, the Greens have three seats and there is one Independent.

VICTORIA: Incumbent Lisa Helps has courted controversy through the campaign season, first with the decision to remove a sculpture of John A. Macdonald from city hall and later when the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner claimed she and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins rushed to conclude an internal investigation against former police chief Frank Elsner. Both have defended the approach they took in the Elsner case and disputed a section of the commissioner's report on their handling of harassment complaints. Helps is defending her record against challengers that include political consultant Mike Geoghegan and lawyer Stephen Hammond.

VANCOUVER: The city has seen an influx of new parties and candidates in the race to fill a void left by outgoing Mayor Gregor Robertson, whose Vision Vancouver party doesn't have a candidate running to replace him. Among those leading the race for the top seat are NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, local business owner Ken Sim and independent candidate Shauna Sylvester.

SURREY: Public safety and policing has emerged as one of voters' prime concerns in Surrey, where a task force aimed a preventing gang violence recently recommended more police enforcement. Mayor Linda Hepner isn't running again.

BURNABY: Opposing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project has dominated Mayor Derek Corrigan's five-term tenure in recent years. He's facing competition from former firefighter Mike Hurley and respondents to one recent poll put housing ahead of the pipeline as the city's top issue.

The Canadian Press

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