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Councillor Alison Gu

Councillor Alison Gu

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I was born and raised in Burnaby, attending Cascade Heights Elementary and later, Burnaby North Secondary. 

During elementary school at Cascade Heights was when I first became passionate about the environment and social justice, and during Grade 8, I started getting 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 two years. 

I graduated Burnaby North as the Valedictorian in 2014 and received the National AP Scholar award, BC Graduation Program Examinations Scholarship, and the BC Passport to Education scholarship. 

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.

During the summer after my 3rd year of university, I cycled from Ottawa to Burnaby 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 because that’s where the federal government made the decision, and ended in Burnaby, because that’s where the terminal of the pipeline would be and where the impacts of the project would be felt most directly by the community. Using photojournalism, the trip was also a way 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 attending McGill University, I also worked as a Residence Assistant (Floor Fellow), where I served as an emergency first-responder, peer counsellor, and community builder to facilitate the transition to university for 180 first-year students. Through this role, I received extensive training in equity, anti-oppression, crisis management, harm reduction, and conflict resolution.

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 one of five interns 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 allowed me to better understand how to implement a Just Transition for workers, more sustainably use natural resources, and how to expedite our climate goals. After my internship was complete, I was hired by federal MP Jenica Atwins, assisting with policy and communications work. 

I then began working for provincial MLA Anne Kang as her Constituency Assistant, working to serve the constituents of Burnaby-Deer Lake by helping them get connected with and navigate provincial government services. The most rewarding aspect of this job was whenever I was able to help a constituent get access to housing, help to solve their problem, or get them access to services they need. 

I speak Mandarin and French as second and third languages.

Awards received:

  • 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)
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