While punk is often a political genre, it’s rare to find a punk rocker in mainstream politics. That isn’t stopping Joe Keithley, though. Widely known as ‘Joey Shithead’ of Vancouver’s own D.O.A., Keithley will be standing for the BC Greens in next May’s elections.
He’s not the only celebrity vying to represent Burnaby-Lougheed, either. Former Global TV host Steve Darling, who will be standing for the BC Liberals. Keithley’s brash stage persona contrasts with Darling’s mellow on-air presence.
It is believed the two parties are purposely tapping into those contrasting profiles. BC Premier Christy Clark is thought to be placing faith in Darling’s affable demeanour attracting voters, while the Greens (often seen as an outsider party) will tap into Keithley’s edginess.
“It’s my community,” said Keithley. “I know the area really well. Steve may have worked at the [Global BC] studio in Burnaby, but you know what, I grew up here.”
Despite previous failures in the political arena (Earlier this year, in the Coquitlam-Burke by-election, and in the 2013 election), Keithley is sanguine, saying: “I think we have a pretty decent chance and I’m going to work my ass off.”
Keithley’s platform includes a stout opposition to the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline, and based on his Coquitlam bid, is also likely to be focused on education and job growth.
Prior to his entry into organised politics, Keithley was a community activist for many years, in addition to running an independent record label.
Burnaby-Lougheed is expected to be imoportant in next year’s election as it could be a swing riding. Previously held by the Liberals, the riding was won by the NDP’s Jane Shin in 2013. It was a close vote — Shin came out ahead by fewer than 500 votes.
Keithley’s competition for the riding is rounded out by Katrina Chen, a Burnaby school trustee. Chen will be standing for the New Democrats, and will hope to hold the seat for the party.