A Profile of June Liu: BC NDP Fundraiser and Federal NDP Candidate for Surrey

Robin Steudel – September 10, 2021

Meet June Liu. She’s Jagmeet Singh’s former CA, the field fundraiser at the BC NDP, and now an NDP candidate in this election.

June sat down with Metric’s Creative Director, Robin Steudel, to discuss fundraising, campaigning, and being an Asian woman in progressive politics.

What made you interested in politics?

I was a really loud and outspoken kid. I was that kid on the playground getting into fights on other people’s behalf. I think my parents, most of all my mom, decided “Okay, she has this passion for trying to do the right thing. Let’s channel that into something constructive, so she doesn’t rip out somebody’s hair.”

Tell me about fundraising. How do you do it?

At the core of it, it’s not hard. The reason we fundraise is because we want to make lives better for people. When I encounter my friends, or their kids, I think, “I want to build a better future for you. I want to make sure that you’re growing up in a more equitable, more fair world and that you have more access to things than I do.”

You have to reach into yourself and find what it is that compels you. Like, if you’re fundraising for an environmental organization, what is it that really matters to you? Maybe you saw a documentary about the dwindling populations of polar bears, and that stuck out to you. You have to dig deep and find what drives and motivates you, so you have that fire within.

People can always tell when you don’t believe what you’re saying. Like, even if you paid me to fundraise for a Republican, I wouldn’t raise any money because I would just sound sarcastic the entire time. Like, “Oh no, whatever are we going to do with only three jets for this Congress person? They need a fourth private jet. How will they survive without it?” That’s how it’d come across because that’s what I’d be thinking. 

How has fundraising changed during the pandemic?

I think connecting with people on a human level works, especially in person. And that’s definitely harder in pandemic times. But people are still really into interactive events. For example, everyone wants to hang out with John Horgan. 

Food delivery combined with eating online together has worked super well. All of us are craving that ‘dining out with friends’ experience. Or even mailing something as simple as a tea bag, and saying, “Let’s have tea together.” 

In the absence of in-person human interaction we can still create that neighborhood community feeling. It’s reconnecting people with their communities. It’s reminding them that, “Hey, you are a part of something bigger, and your actions impact those around you.”

How do you sell tickets for these events?

Nothing works better than a phone call. Nothing works better than some somebody saying, “Please buy a ticket and hang out with me.” That personal touch really is what compels people.

Is anyone out there having success doing email fundraising?

Yeah! Our emails definitely work. As much as people say they hate getting them, they sure as heck do love donating to them. And I will say I’m one of those people that falls for it. I got a fundraising email from someone today, and she mentioned her grandma, and I was like, “I guess there’s 20 bucks.” So emails absolutely do work.

Do you have any advice for small organizations who are looking to start fundraising?

I think the biggest thing is that you just can’t be shy about it. There’s no beating around the bush, just get to the point, and people will respect that. 

Switching gears, can you speak to your experience as a woman of colour working and running in politics?

I think that in politics—including in progressive politics —you get all kinds of people: some who are allies and some who aren’t. There’s work that progressives need to do. The biggest thing that I’ve had to learn is to really find my voice and stand my ground. A lot of times, there are misconceptions about Asian women: that we are docile, we’re submissive, we’re quiet. 

I’ve never been quiet in my entire life. I came out as a force of chaos. But subconsciously or not, people have the tendency to silence me. It definitely takes the work of other allies speaking up. But it also takes finding that peace within myself. 

I think in those times it’s important for me to speak up, because if not me who else?

What kinds of things can we do to make progressive spaces more genuinely inclusive?

People and progressive groups need to take the time to really think about who they have representing their space and their movement. It’s important to have representation without tokenization.

What do you think sets your candidacy apart? 

There are a lot of people of colour living here in Surrey. It’s actually only about 46% white. And yet we’ve only had a handful of elected representatives who are people of colour. 

Representation matters. As a young Asian woman, growing up seeing Jenny Kwan being an MLA and an MP, and seeing Katrina Chen, Anne Kang, Bowinn Ma in the public sphere definitely made me think, “Oh, hey. I look like her. We speak the same language. Maybe one day I could be like that.” And now, I want other women and girls to see me as somebody who is their team member, as a collaborator, as somebody that is here to work with—and represent—them.

Tell us about your connection with the City of Surrey.

Well, I grew up here. I actually used to work for the City and sat on the Social Planning Committee as a youth representative. I saw firsthand the importance of social policy and really doing what you can at every level to ensure that people are able to access the things that they need.  It’s been really eye opening. Through seeing what needs to be provided, you also see the barriers. And that really just made me think well, what can I do?”

What would your priorities be? 

First of all, consultation. If you’re not talking to people, you’re not representing them. That’s what’s been a driving force for me. I want to talk to people, I want to know what people need. I want to deliver what my community needs. I’m that person who can do it. 

Sustainable development, inequality and housing are big for me. For the love of God, stop building million dollar condos in a place where the median income is $45,000! People get pushed out of their neighbourhoods. You don’t want to uproot a third grader for example, and send them to a different school just because a developer bought out all the land and now their family can’t afford to live there. 

How are you planning to connect with people for your campaign?

A really big part is meeting people where they’re at, even if I can’t reach them at home. Let’s say you live in a high rise; it’s not necessarily accessible. I still want to be there in your community at a park nearby and have those conversations. I want to make sure that politics is accessible to everyone.

I want to make sure that we aren’t leaving digital campaigning behind either. At the end of the day, while these tools come with some barriers, they do remove a lot of others. That’s something we’ve seen in the pandemic too. 

And, people are getting creative in the pandemic! There’s a city councillor in Taiwan who actually has an Animal Crossing constituency office. It’s so good!You can actually go to her constituency in the game, and submit genuine real-life questions about your community, and her office will reach out and help you. Fun and accessible!

What messages do you want to share with people during your campaign?

I want to remind people that politics affects your everyday life—from the moment you wake up and brush your teeth. Your toothpaste is regulated by laws to keep you safe. Your water comes from your local government and they need to make sure that it is drinkable, that it’s not going to hurt you. Politics is everywhere. Everything you do is related and you should care because your voice matters.

I am the coworker who loves practical jokes, gimmicks and games in the office. Not pre-canned ice breakers or retreat exercises – I’m talking about the good-natured inside jokes and culture that grow over time among a group of people who spend 8ish hours together every day. Since we work remotely, I just assumed that would be lost, but I was surprised to see how many of those gaps Slack filled for us.

I ranked Metric’s best NWR (Not Work Related) Slack channels. Does your workplace have great channels? Share them on our facebook.

10. #BestofStock

What we post here: Tragic/hilarious/amazing/terrible content from stock image websites. This channel draws inspiration from the classic post, Women Laughing Alone with Salad.

Best Recent Post: This amazing stock video of a santa suit-clad person holding an animated globe with the word outsourcing on it. 

Review: The biggest drawback to this channel, and the reason it came in at #10, is that not everyone at our company searches stock images, and so not everyone can contribute regularly – but when it is used, it is thoroughly enjoyed.

9. #PleaseLikeMe

What we post here: A judgement-free zone where we share social media content that we want our colleagues to like/RT/share.

Best Recent Post: Probably this blog post, tbh.

Review: Simple, not too crowded. Nice space. Mostly work-related content, but gets on this list due to it’s cute name. 

8. #GreatDebates

What we post here: Where we have silly debates. One of our coworkers started this channel to start a debate about what is the better deal: cordless or corded drills. No one responded, because the answer is obvious – corded drills are cheaper, more powerful and don’t run out of batteries.

Best Recent Post: “The tongue emoji – why does it look like that and is it ever actually appropriate to use in a Slack context?”

Review: The term debate is used a little loosely here, but generally this is where silly arguments are made, and we really like flexing those muscles. 

7. #metric_trekkiesonly

What we post here: Listen, I get it. Not everyone is a Trekkie. I don’t like it, but I respect it. This channel is for Metric Trekkies to share Star Trek content. 

Best Recent Post: This amazing tweet:


Review: This channel is great, and allows fans to be fans in a safe space while also allowing non-fans to not be bothered by Jean-Luc Picard memes.

6. #metric_munchies

What we post here: One of the busier channels, this is where we post about food. What we’re eating for lunch, what we’re cooking for dinner, what we wish we were eating or cooking. One of our coworkers has a friday burger ritual, and this is a place where the rest of us can check in on it. 

Best Recent Post: When we discovered that one of our coworkers had never heard of Pocky. 

Review: This is the lunchroom of Metric, and deserves a great rank based on that alone. 

5. #wtf

What we post here: Shit that is bad, because 2020 is horrible. 

Best Recent Post: None. Nothing “best” ever happened here. 

Review: This channel is ranked highly because it is a place where we can “WTF” about the state of the world, but if you need to tap out and take care of you, you can simply mute this channel.

4. #Memes4Quaranteens

What we post here: This began as pandemic/quarantine related meme content but has expanded over time to include all memes. Last week I started putting TikToks in this channel – we’ll see how that is received. 

Best Recent Post: This post on Labour Day.

Review: Excellent channel title. Great place to put memes.

3. #Island_Of_Misfit_Links

What we post here: Really great content we simply must share that doesn’t fit in any of the other channels.

Best Recent Post: Jagmeet Singh’s astrology birth chart.

Review: This channel always produces quality content, likely due to it’s versatility. 

2. #plantsplantsplants

What we post here: Metric is full of plant lovers and “budding” plant lovers. We proudly post pictures of our plant babies here and when something is amiss, our resident plant expert, Lucy, diagnoses and prescribes remedies for sick plants. 

Best Recent Post: Maureen grew some flowers and we are all so excited for her!

Review: Plants are hot right now, and so is this channel. 

1. #LoudAffirmations


Best Recent Post: LITERALLY ALL OF THEM <3

Review: This channel was Sav’s idea and in spite of being our newest channel, it quickly became everyone’s  favourite. This is just a really nice place where we say nice things about each other and their work. NON-STOP GOOD VIBES.

Across Canada, labour unions usually celebrate Labour Day with BBQs, parades,  and picnics. 

This year, not so much. 

If you’re looking for a socially-distanced way to recognize Labour Day, tonight pop some corn and settle in with one of these movies celebrating the labour movement, overcoming struggle, and workers’ rights. 

Norma Rae 

Watch Sally Field’s Oscar-winning performance as a textile worker who fights hard to organize her J. P. Stevens textile mill.

Where to watch: Stream on Crave (requires additional subscription to STARZ bundle); Amazon Prime (free trial of STARZ available); 

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45CX8W9peTs


A Disney musical based on the 1899 New York City newsboys strike.

Where to watch: Rent for $4.99 on Youtube, stream on Disney+, AppleTV

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6GQso7TAXY

10,000 Black Men Named George

True story of the formation of the first Black-controlled union, The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which represented the Black porters of the Pullman Rail Company.

Where to Watch: Stream it here.

Trailer: unavailable

Made in Dagenham

This film is a drama-comedy and follows the fight of women working at a Ford factory when they go on strike to protest sexual discriminiation and demand equal pay. The strike eventually leads to the UK Equal Pay Act of 1970.

Where to Watch: Available for rent on Amazon and AppleTV

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD-MuEKbOAM

The Killing Floor

This 80’s film tells the story of the fight to create an interracial labor union in the Chicago Stockyards.

Where to watch: Vancouver’s Cinamateque offers a $10 rental here.

Trailer: https://www.filmmovementplus.com/packages/the-cinematheque-presents-the-killing-floor/videos/the-killing-floor-trailer


2018 documentary about labour activist and feminist Dolores Huerta, a key influential figure in the fight for racial and labour justice. Huerta, along with Cesar Chavez, is the co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association.

Where to watch: For rent on Youtube and AppleTV

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Unzr9kiFScQ

Movies we wish we could see:

These films are on our wish list but don’t seem to be currently available to stream or rent:

Silkwood has a star-studded cast (Meryl Streep, Cher and Kurt Russel) and was nominated for several oscars – so we were stunned that we couldn’t find it available to watch anywhere. The film is about Karen Silkwood, a union activist and whistleblower who calls out unsafe conditions at a factory that produces components for nuclear reactors. Trailer

CART is about South Korean retail workers who fight the arbitrary firing of temporary workers. Trailer

Bread and Roses is a film about the struggle of LA janitorial workers and their struggle to unionize. It’s based on SEIU’s Justice for Janitor’s campaign. Trailer

Last week, when Twitter announced that employees would be working from home permanently, columnists announced it could “end the office as we know it.” Yesterday, Facebook and Ottawa-based Shopify announced they’d be following suit. 

It’s not surprising that that tech giants would be the first to move into “virtual workspaces”, and we should fully expect other sectors to follow. After all, on the employer side, there are big potential benefits in shifting to an at-home workforce, including reduced overhead costs and, perhaps counterintuitively, a more productive workforce.

Workers know there are benefits for them as well: Greater flexibility could be a game changer for women in the workforce, and the thought of more work-life balance and less time commuting is appealing for many workers.

It’s not all rosey though: Working from home is very challenging in cities with tight housing markets, where home offices are a luxury. Perhaps collective agreements of the future will have employers paying for that extra bedroom/home office. There are risks that employers won’t deal with workplace safety (or equipment) issues. While good managers may thrive, bad managers could certainly get worse in this environment. Many people get a great deal of social interaction and personal fulfillment from their work life, and it’s difficult to maintain that culture when everyone is working remotely. There are undoubtedly implications for sectors that support workplaces: custodians, security guards, and restaurants – not to mention the commercial real estate market. 

Perhaps collective agreements of the future will have employers paying for that extra bedroom/home office.

Most importantly, siloing workers in their homes makes them significantly less powerful when it comes to organizing themselves, and presents significant challenges for the unions that serve these workers.

Canadian unions need to be ready for this shift in how people work: What’s the best way to organize new workplaces (and mobilize current members) in this environment? Do you have the tools necessary to engage your members online? How do you plan to  facilitate activities that were previously done in person?

For unions facing a workforce that may increasingly be working from home permanently, embracing digital tools is critical for survival. 

1. Build your lists

A union is only as strong as its ability to mobilize its members, and the ability to mobilize comes down to having a great, up-to-date membership list.

Yet, for many unions, maintaining a membership list that includes cell phones and email addresses is a major challenge.

The current crisis is an opportunity to build update your membership list through multi-channel engagement.

2. Multi-channel member engagement

If the first three rules of communication are repeat, repeat, repeat, then multi-channel engagement is the way to achieve that.

Communicators and organizers understand that it takes many conversations or points of contact to successfully engage or persuade someone. People get information from all kinds of sources – meaning unions can’t count on just one channel of communication to engage members. Integrating email and texting may be somewhat straightforward – but what happens when we want to add direct mail, telephone, Facebook Messenger, and social media ads to the mix?

That’s the reality facing unions across Canada. 

Achieving integrated multi-channel engagement takes the right mix of tools and training – but it’s critical to success. One notice on the bulletin board at a worksite is no longer enough to mobilize members – we need to reach them on all the channels they’re tuned into.

3. (Online) Ads matter too

With micro-targeted online advertising being the norm in marketing (think about those ads for those shoes you looked at that follow you from website to website), online ads have become a prime communication channel to engage members. Yet many unions still aren’t using this toolset to its full potential.

Tools like Facebook’s custom audiences let you use your union membership list to target members with ads promoting an upcoming meeting (or webinar), a campaign action, or an important video update – all for a modest budget compare to traditional offline media.

Online ads are also a way of engaging organizing prospects in the work of the union – potentially asking them to join a campaign to fight for a better workplace as a first step in an organizing drive.

And lastly, you can use online ads to encourage members to sign up for email or text message updates, by targeting your members worksites with ads to drive traffic to signup forms on your website.

Custom Audiences are only available through Facebook’s powerful Ads Manager – not the boost button.

4. Surveys

While not a new tool, online surveys delivered through text or email are a great way to make sure your members are heard, and engaged in the decision making of your union.

On the email side, tools like SurveyMonkey and Typeform make it quick, easy, and affordable to build interactive surveys with powerful reporting tools.

With text messaging (SMS), powerful tools like Mobile Commons (aka Upland Mobile Messaging) let you create interactive surveys to quickly gather member feedback on important issues.

The pandemic has already nudged many unions to shift their work online. This has been a challenge, but countless folks have been able to level up their skills in a matter of weeks. Change is possible – and the future will likely see some combination of online and offline organizing. But some workplaces may end up shifting permanently, and labour needs to be ready to work on behalf of those members.

Metric works with unions across Canada to help engage and organize their members through digital. Let’s set up a conversation to talk about your next member engagement campaign.

Photo by Nelly Antoniadou on Unsplash

Advertising agencies around the world have been in high gear helping companies shift their ads to strike the right tone in this “challenging time” (insert whatever euphemism you like). Car commercials are saying that they understand economic realities and offering payment holidays. Travel ads are telling us that the beautiful destinations of the world will still be there when all this is over. Scrabble put out an ad telling us now is the time for their product to shine.

A Walmart flyer hit my mailbox last week. There was a section that showed a Walmart employee, and text that told me that Walmart Canada would be increasing their employees’ wages by $2/hour in recognition of the hard work and sacrifice that their employees are making. This comes on the heels of the United Food and Commercial Workers winning a $2/hour wage increase for their employees working on the front lines in grocery stores. After the unionized grocery stores increased wages, the non-unionized grocery stores followed, among them apparently, Walmart. This is a big win for UFCW, their members, and non-union workers in the industry.

We shouldn’t pretend Walmart did this out of the kindness of their corporate heart – it’s likely that they needed to remain wage competitive with unionized stores, and that employee retention is particularly difficult right now with people being concerned about exposing themselves to COVID19.

What struck me about this flyer is that they wanted us to know they were doing this. Walmart has read from the public – accurately I think – that their workers are recognized and appreciated in a way that they perhaps weren’t in the past. They’re telling us that it’s okay to shop there because they, too, thank and appreciate their employees. The cynic in me wonders if these messages of thanks – be they ads, anonymous memes, or media commentary – are just serving to make people feel better about how reliant we are on low-paid workers putting themselves and their families at risk every day.

Don’t get me wrong – sentiments of appreciation are nice. But saying thank you to these workers is really the very, VERY least we could do.

The reality is that people working in low wage jobs are being forced to continue working in these jobs – you’re not eligible for employment insurance benefits if you quit your job or if you’re a gig worker. Even with the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit now – it’s time-limited. Who’s to say that your job will be there for you in 6 months? What will the state of the economy be? When you work paycheque to paycheque, keeping the job you have will often be the safest choice.

When you work paycheque to paycheque, keeping the job you have will often be the safest choice.

Economic uncertainty is keeping people working in high exposure jobs while many workers who are more economically secure get to stay home safe and order delivery from Uber Eats. “Thank you to our heroes” doesn’t really seem like enough when you hear it like that. Workers deserve a hell of a lot more than thanks.

We all owe it to these workers to support higher wages, including minimum wage increases. We owe it to them to support better working conditions, fairer labour laws, access to benefits and respect. We owe it to them always – not just now.

At Metric, we decided to take that message and worked together with designer Scott Knowles and Vancouver-based illustrator Heather Haughn to create a series of posters that communicate this.

We wanted to show workers proudly doing their jobs in the face of the pandemic, but also make the point that we owe it to these workers to have their backs.

We started with a list of workers we thought should be recognized – grocery clerks, food delivery drivers, custodians, long haul truckers, farmworkers, factory workers – the list kept getting longer as we thought of all the people we relied upon on. We decided to start with 3 posters – and then give people the opportunity to suggest other workers to highlight.

A lot of people have used war analogies and language to describe the COVID fight, a coming together of people behind a common enemy. Visually, we drew inspiration from government poster styles from war efforts in the middle part of the 20th century. Our goal was a bit of a retro work of art that combined honouring a worker with a call to action, like many of the posters from that era did.

In addition to asking people to suggest other kinds of workers to highlight, we also plan to print a limited number of these posters to give away in exchange for a donation to local food banks. Stay tuned for more information on that.

This project is something we wanted to put out into the world to honour these workers, and remind our leaders that workers deserve more than our thanks – they also deserve our support. As the world comes out of the pandemic, these fights will continue to exist. Our hope is that one of the silver linings of this terrible pandemic is that people and governments will see front-line, low wage workers in a new light and that there will be an opportunity to create lasting change for these workers.

Robin Steudel is Creative Director at Metric.

Do you work from home? With the COVID-19 pandemic, students and workers in various sectors are being sent to work from home – a big challenge for a lot of people.

When people learn that I work remotely, one of the most common responses is “Oh I could never do that.” People who are otherwise brilliant powerhouses tell me that they could never accomplish work without the structure and pressure an office provides.

I know this feeling.  “Never, never, never,” I would tell people. I even began to wonder if anyone at all could be productive working from home or if it was just a myth. That is until I decided that it’s what I wanted.

After my last job in a hectic, high stakes environment I took 6 months off to travel, camp, hike and pursue photography. I began to take on small contracts to pay bills, and worked from amazing places, like ferries and small-town libraries. It was awesome.

I decided that’s what I wanted – so, when starting Metric with my business partner Michael, I set about learning how to make it work. Here are my best hacks and favourite tools.

4 Tips

1. Set artificial deadlines

If you’re like me, you often start a project with the best of intentions and then you find timelines creeping slowly forward. Some people can set a deadline for themselves and stick to it – and good for them. For everyone else: schedule regular, multiple phone check-ins with your client/teammate/boss where you’ll update them on your progress. Book these as often as you need to stay on track.

2. Wake up and look good

Most of us look at our phones before we even get out of bed. When you work from home (especially if you don’t have kids), it can happen pretty quickly that you transition from this straight into your workday, and before you know it, it’s noon and you haven’t showered. Work hard to maintain a routine, and try to front-load your day to force you to get up. Consider starting your day with a video conference or keeping your laptop and phone in another room so you have to get up and get ready.

3. Care about your space

Don’t set up your laptop on the kitchen table and move it whenever someone needs the space. Try to set up a clean corner that’s yours and make it a place you want to be. Add a plant. Access to natural light will give you a daily rhythm to follow and make you a happier person. Find music that helps you focus: I like to go to YouTube and type “music that is good for studying” and pick a new one each day.

4. Schedule an end to your day – even if you’re not done all your work

One of the traps they don’t tell you about when you work from home is that it’s really easy to push tasks off to the end of the day, and then before you know it, you’re finishing everything at 9 or 10 pm. Instead of working a productive 6-8 hours, you’ll be half-assing a 12-14 hour workday. This isn’t sustainable and will make you feel terrible. Set work hours for yourself, and book activities (even if it’s just a catch-up call with a friend or a TV show) so you stop working at night.

4 Tools

There are tools that can make the transition easier – including for teams. If your workplace is looking for advice on how to reduce travel or accommodate remote work, give us a call. We’d love to do an assessment or training.

1. Video conferencing

While phone calls are great, video meetings are critical to maintaining strong relationships with your teammates and coworkers. While not a 100% replacement for an in-person meeting, video conferencing forces participants to be more “in-the-moment” and participate, rather than having the conference call playing in the background.

We love Zoom because it’s SO easy. Sharing screens, booking meetings between multiple people, and you can easily invite people from outside your organization to join your meeting with a minimally invasive and easy installation. Bonus: Zoom is free for meetings up to 40 minutes.

2. Slack

Slack is quickly becoming a standard office tool. If you’ve never used it, Slack is an instant messaging platform that works really well for remote workers. Try setting up channels for each project you’re working on to stay organized – that way, you can check in on progress on specific projects when you’re ready to review them instead of searching back through endless messages.

Don’t forget about the #random channel for some virtual water-cooler time. I like to send gifs. We use the free version of the Giphy plugin, so to send a gif type “/giphy” and then a search term. It will let you choose from various animated gifs.

3. Google Keep

My personal favourite tool. I love to take notes, and I love how clean and easy Google Keep is. I can open and edit notes on my laptop by expanding the Keep button in Gmail (on the right side) and it’s the only note app I use on my phone. (I have an android, but it works on apple too). It updates seamlessly between multiple devices and you can still have access to your notes and make changes while you’re offline (like on an airplane).

4. Hardware

There are endless options for things you can buy to create a portable workspace. I’m really interested in something that won’t kill my back. After some amount of trial and error, here’s what I like:

  • A Laptop Stand. I like this one because it folds up small and is height adjustable
  • Keyboard. I use Apple’s Magic Keyboard
  • Mouse. I use Apple’s Magic Mouse
  • External Monitor. I’m using a very basic monitor that was on sale for under $100 a few years ago. It was whatever was on sale a few years ago. I’ve even travelled with it to election campaigns by padding it carefully between my clothes in a large suitcase. So far, so good!