councillor-alison-gu2.jpg

Hello

I believe that values like equity, justice and compassion should guide governance. As your councillor, I'll fight for climate justice, affordable housing and embedding anti-racism and equity into every policy and plan.

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Biography

Born and raised in Burnaby, I attended Cascade Heights Elementary and later Burnaby North Secondary. I first became passionate about the environment and social justice in elementary school. During grade 8, I got involved in community leadership–most extensively with the Burnaby North Environmental Club. I went on to become an executive a year later and then served as president for 2 years.

I also received a full-ride scholarship to McGill University, where I studied Kinesiology with a specialization in the intersections of public health, environment and social inequity.

The summer after my 3rd year of university, I cycled from Ottawa to Burnaby to protest against the Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline project while fundraising for the legal fees of the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, Coldwater, and Secwépemc First Nations. I started in Ottawa, where the federal government decided to proceed with the pipeline and ended in Burnaby, where the pipeline's terminal would be and where the project's impact would be felt most directly by the community. I also used photojournalism to showcase the beauty of the natural environment and push us to take urgent action to protect it.

In my 3rd and 4th years of university, I worked as a Residence Assistant (floor fellow) and served as an emergency first-responder, peer counsellor and community builder to facilitate 180 first-year students' transition to university. I received extensive training in equity, anti-oppression, crisis management, harm reduction and conflict resolution through this role.

During my time at McGill, I also served as Environment Commissioner for the Students' Society of McGill University. I wrote and implemented comprehensive sustainability policies, designed and implemented mandatory sustainability training for students and staff, consulted on multiple task forces, chaired the Environment Committee, obtained a $15,000 grant to create an accessible, sustainable and alternative fitness space and organized a climate strike.

After graduating, I was 1 of 5 people accepted out of over 300 in Canada to the GreenPAC internship. Through this internship, I worked for federal MP Richard Cannings on Parliament Hill. His role as shadow critic for natural resources helped me understand how to implement a just transition for workers, use natural resources more sustainably and expedite our climate goals. After my internship, federal MP Jenica Atwins hired me to assist her with policy and communications work.

Later I worked for provincial MLA Anne Kang as her constituency assistant. I served the constituents of Burnaby-Deer Lake by helping them connect with and navigate local government services. The most rewarding aspect of the job was assisting a citizen get access to housing, solving their problem or getting them access to services they need.

I speak Mandarin and French as second and third languages.

Memberships and Committee appointments

Recognition

  • Top 25 under 25 Environmentalist (2020)

  • Adriano Tassone Research Award (McGill University)

  • Greville Smith Prestige Scholarship at McGill University ($40,000)

  • National AP Scholar (2014), AP Scholar (2013)

  • Valedictorian, Burnaby North Secondary (2014)

  • Award of Merit for Community Leadership - TD (2014)

  • Graduation Program Examinations Scholarship (2014)

  • Passport to Education (2014)