Panels and protests and parties oh my!
At some point in this campaign we may have to be on the lookout for political lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) but so far the reception from panel audiences, community groups we've meet with, and with media, has been encouraging and invigorating. Here's a recap of some of the highlights of the past few weeks. Our next blog post will offer a sneak peak of what's coming up.
Metro Vancouver Rally and Wes Regan Official Campaign Launch
Green Party of Canada Elizabeth May joined the growing team of staff, volunteers and supporters at our official campaign launch this past Sunday evening after the Metro Vancouver Green Party Rally. Both events were an incredible success, with several hundred folks gathering to show their support and hear from the various candidates and Elizabeth, the Metro Rally was one of the largest Green Party Rally's in recent history. Support for the party is surging in BC.
The Launch Party was a bit more of an intimate affair but it was incredible just how positive and engaging the atmosphere was that night. I personally hugged every donor no matter what they pledged, $1500 or $20, it was an incredibly humbling and encouraging experience to see that kind of support from people. I emphasized in my thank you speech how I feel about both taxes and donations, and I'll reiterate it again. Taxes come from people missing their kids birthdays working late. They come from working a split-double and graveyard shifts. They come from entrepreneurs investing everything they have and risking their livelihoods to start a small business. That's why when taxes go towards subsidizing record profit making corporations, hundreds of millions in partisan ads promoting economic action plans that have failed, and overpriced and controversial fighter jets before housing, education, health care and other important needs, I feel outrage. Governments have taken taxes for granted for far too long and have prioritized their spending on ideological pet projects over real needs in our communities. I feel a deep sense of obligation to put the donations we raised on our launch night to work in the smartest, most constructive and engaging ways possible in the months ahead! Thank you again to everyone who came out.
Wild Salmon Caravan
I was honoured to join candidates Lynne Quarmby and Ken Melamed for the Wild Salmon Caravan. Organized by Eddie Gardner and Dawn Morrison the Caravan brought First Nations and a range of concerned citizens together from throughout BC, leaving from Prince George/Williams Lake on May 10th it made a 5 day journey to the coast along the Fraser, a key salmon migration route. The health of our wild pacific salmon has been a cause dear to my heart for many years. Bronwen and I took part in the 2010 Wild Salmon Caravan making the trek to Victoria where we stood with thousands of British Columbians to demand action from our governments - action which has shamefully not been forthcoming. The Cohen Commission's report, like so many other inquiries and commissions we've demanded, now gathers dust on a shelf as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Province of British Columbia continue to allow multinational corporations to pollute our rivers and ocean with unsustainable and unethical practices. I'm eternally grateful for people like Eddie and Dawn who are relentless in their devotion and who build coalitions in their communities to defend crucial keystone species like salmon. Salmon are sacred!
Fair Vote Canada Panel Discussion
I had the pleasure of engaging NDP MP Kennedy Stewart and Liberal MP Joyce Murray on a panel discussion regarding Canadian electoral reform, and the move to proportional representation in particular. The audience was well versed in the current problems inherent in our electoral system and did a great job helping us unpack the issues. Questions also turned to cooperation, vote splitting, strategic voting, electoral accountability, the growing power of the parties and MPs being "whipped". It was encouraging to see a packed room so engaged on this issue, we actually had to extend the discussion well past the original time limit! For more information on Proportional Representation and Electoral Reform visit Fair Vote Canada's website.
Starfish Canada Fundraiser - Top 25 Environmental Leaders Under 25
I was filled with hope and inspiration watching this country's finest young environmental leaders speak, perform, and be honoured at the Starfish Canada fundraiser held at Science World May xx Some of them were focusing on intensely personal local issues, some of them on global issues, some of them both at the same time (as a local issue can also be a global issue of course) but not matter what they were brilliant, creative, compassionate and highly motivated, each and every one. The kind of people I look forward to growing into positions of responsibility and power. Kind of wish they were calling the shots now frankly.
Green Chamber of Commerce Panel
It was great to reconnect with a few old colleagues and make some new ones on the Green Chamber of Commerce Panel held at DUDOC. We covered a range of issues from policy barriers and incentives to green business, emerging social impact investment trends, urban design, transit and shifting habits and behaviour in the interest of a sustainable culture, if not a sustainable civilization. It got pretty heavy. It was awesome.
#DontHave1Million Affordable Housing Rally
Sustainability also includes economic sustainability by most standards, and here in Vancouver while our local government has set aggressive benchmarks for urban environmental sustainability, we are in the midst of a sever housing affordability crisis. This is a threat to our economic sustainability as working class Vancouverites are finding both home ownership and even reasonable rental accommodations to be increasingly difficult to find, if not unattainable. This rally brought together several hundreds of Vancouverites to demand action from senior levels of government in working with municipalities, and civil society, to advance a true and meaningful agenda for housing equality in our city. If elected MP this is something I truly want to devote myself to in Ottawa.
Building Opportunities 2015 Social Purpose Real Estate Walking Tour
I had the pleasure on June 1st to lead a walking tour of the DTES introducing various social purpose real estate projects that have focused on housing, local economic development, capacity building and art & culture to guests from around North America. My co-tour guide was longtime mentor to me Jennifer Johnstone, CEO of Central City Foundation and Treasurer of Hastings Crossing BIA. Vancouver has some of the most innovative examples of social purpose real estate and social enterprise anywhere on the continent. Our guests were wowed to say the least.
Canadian Association of Geographers DTES Social Economy Tour
SFU's Am Johal and I will be partnering on a social economy tour of the DTES for the Canadian Association of Geographers Yearly Conference here in Vancouver this week. Am is a past director of Hastings Crossing BIA and Director of SFU's Cultural Unit.
Liz McDowell and Wes Regan- Kinder Morgan Pipeline Project Not Worth the Risk to BC Businesses: Georgia Straight
Eveline Xia and Wes Regan- Middle-income earners must take stand for affordable housing in Vancouver: Georgia Straight