Paul Hillsdon

Building a New Normal

Hi, I’m Paul, a fourth generation mixed-race Canadian from Surrey, BC. I’m seeking the nomination to become your federal NDP candidate in Surrey Centre.

I’ve worked hard as an activist and urban planner to help build a better city for us all. Over the past decade, I’ve been fighting for:

🚝 Better Transit
🌲 Sustainable Development
✊🏾 Social Justice

As we emerge from this pandemic, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our communities.

We can’t go back to normal.

We need a New Normal.

Together, we can bring a progressive agenda to Ottawa.

Platform

What I’m Fighting For

Affordability for All

The cost of living is too high. By investing in public services, we can reduce expenses on those who can least afford them and create a more affordable city.

I support:

  • Expanded Public Housing
  • Universal Childcare
  • Tuition Free Post-Secondary
  • Long-Term Care Reform

Extended Health Benefits for All

We do not have universal medicare in Canada. Essential medical benefits should not be conditional on your job contract.

I support:

  • Universal Prescription Drugs
  • Universal Dental & Vision Care
  • Universal Mental Health Care

Good Jobs for All

Too many people can’t get ahead. Employers are gaming the system to avoid paying you for your labour. All workers deserve a livable wage and basic rights.

I support:

  • Pay Raises for Essential Workers
  • Sick Days for All
  • Unions & Co-ops
  • Community Benefit Agreements

Climate Action Now

Our leaders have wasted too much time. We must act swiftly to decarbonize our economy and adapt to extreme weather events.

I support:

  • Sunset on Fossil Fuels
  • Zero Emission Homes & Transport
  • National Clean Energy Grid
  • Investing in Community Resiliency

Justice for All

We live in an unjust society. Together, we must confront the roots of our ongoing oppression including colonialism, colourism, and white supremacy, among others.

I support:

  • Justice for Indigenous Peoples
  • Empowering Marginalized Communities
  • International Solidarity with Oppressed Peoples

Build Downtown Surrey

We can build Canada’s next great city. We must invest in next generation infrastructure to ensure we create an inclusive downtown for everyone.

I support:

  • Expansion of SFU & KPU
  • Building a Federal Jobs Hub at Surrey Central
  • Expansion of SkyTrain into Langley, Newton & South Surrey

Paul’s Timeline

Paul is an urban planner, born and raised in Surrey BC. As an activist and public servant, he’s fought for better transit, sustainable development, climate action, and social justice. 

He has a Bachelor’s in Geography from SFU and a Master’s in Indigenous Community Planning from UBC. 

He is a fourth-generation Canadian with a mixed ancestry of Japanese, Chinese, British, Dutch, and Irish heritage. 

He lives with his husband Ali and their labradoodle, Hershey.

For more detailed information about Paul, please see the timeline below:

1990s

Early Life

Paul was born at Surrey Memorial. He attended French Immersion at Martha Currie Elementary and Sullivan Heights Secondary.

As a child of separated, working-class parents, he grew up in rental and co-op housing. Paul has lived in basement suites or apartments in Fleetwood, Newton, and Cloverdale.

1990s
2006-2009

LGBT Youth Advocacy

At 16, Paul came out to his family. He became active in LGBT & youth organizations, engaging in youth leadership development opportunities.

He was a founding member of the Surrey Leadership Youth Council and CampOUT! This was BC’s first summer leadership retreat for queer and trans youth.

2006-2009
2007-2008

Blogger

Paul started blogging. He wrote about social and political issues, including education, sustainability, and transportation.

His writing caught the attention of the Vancouver blogging community and the local media.

2007-2008
November 1, 2008

City Council

Feeling the city wasn’t doing enough to address climate change or invest in transit, Paul decided to run for city council.

His platform was focused on four key pillars:

• Sustainable development
• Green spaces
• Transportation options
• Vibrant communities

With no name recognition, handmade signs, and a budget of $500, Paul received over 12,000 votes.

Paul’s campaign priority to expand rapid transit in Surrey caught the attention of regional media and mayor, Dianne Watts. It became a key priority during her term in office.

November 1, 2008
2008-2013

CivicSurrey.com

Paul launched a new blog focused exclusively on Surrey. Over five years, he wrote over 500 articles about civic issues and key developments in Surrey, charting the City’s urban evolution. He was frequently invited to speak on issues to local media as an urban commentator.

Through Civic Surrey, Paul led advocacy campaigns. They addressed school overcrowding and gang violence.

2008-2013
2010-2013

BA from SFU

Paul graduated from university with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Geography and a Liberal Arts Certificate.

2010-2013
September 1, 2013

Leap Ahead

Paul worked with Nathan Pachal, now a Langley City Councillor, to create Leap Ahead, a transportation vision for Metro Vancouver.

The document outlined a series of much-needed transit projects funded by a regional sales tax. It was presented to mayors and the local media as a policy proposal to address the BC Liberal’s transportation referendum.

The document formed the basis of the mayors’ Ten Year Plan, currently in the midst of implementation. The plan includes projects like the Broadway Subway, Surrey-Langley SkyTrain, and RapidBus.

September 1, 2013
2013-2015

Government of Saskatchewan

Paul worked for two years as a policy and legislative analyst in Saskatchewan. He supported municipalities and regions by planning for growth.

2013-2015
2015-2017

Master’s of Indigenous Planning

Paul completed his Master’s Degree from UBC. Through a unique partnership between the Musqueam Nation and SCARP, he learned about Indigenous ways of being and knowing. He completed his year-long practicum with the Toquaht Nation near Ucluelet.

2015-2017
2017-2019

Paul worked for two years as a Planner at TransLink. He led the urban integration design guidelines for the Surrey LRT and supported Indigenous engagement.

2017-2019
October 2018

Surrey First

Paul ran for City Council as part of the Surrey First team. He was proud to be a part of a slate of candidates that represented the diverse identities and communities within the city.

He campaigned on building transit-oriented urban communities, investing in parks and community facilities, and increasing youth engagement and leadership in the city. He was honoured to receive 25,000 votes.

October 2018
2019-Today

BC Government

Paul currently works as a policy analyst for the provincial government. He is working on advancing integrated transportation and development planning.

2019-Today
Today

Personal Life

Paul is married to his partner, Ali, who is a commercial lease manager at Ocean Park Ford in South Surrey.

They have a chocolate Labradoodle named Hershey.

He enjoys hiking and camping.

Today

Paul on Power and Privilege

Paul on Power and Privilege

Paul is a settler Canadian, born in Surrey, BC. He lives and works on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish-speaking peoples.

As a non-Indigenous Canadian, his heritage reflects the waves of immigrants to this continent, as well as a rich history of mixed ancestry. His family tree includes great grandparents from Japan who immigrated to the North Pacific in the 1910s, a great grandfather from China who immigrated to Saskatchewan in the 1920s, and grandparents from Europe who immigrated to Saskatchewan in the 1960s.

He traces his roots in Surrey to his Japanese grandfather, whose family settled in Whalley following the end of World War II and the internment. He has family who still lives in the area.

As a fourth-generation Canadian of mixed-race heritage, he recognizes the privileges afforded to him through the assimilation of his family into the dominant culture. Paul is a housed, university-educated, non-disabled, light-skinned, cis-gender, English-speaking man with a white name. These privileges afford him access to spaces and power that many others cannot access due to systemic unequal power structures. Yet, as a mixed-race, gay person from a working-class family with student loans, he understands the impacts of oppression, marginalization and classism.

As a younger gay man who came of age during the same-sex marriage debates, he is aware that the freedoms he enjoys are only possible thanks to the countless people who fought battles for civil rights, equality, and representation in the decades before. Similarly, he has benefitted from the Asian and BIPOC communities, and their allies, that have challenged racism, opening the door to a more multicultural Canada.

He recognizes his responsibility to pay it forward to the next generation by continuing to use his power and privilege for positive change by learning about and speaking out against injustice.

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