While the NDP, Liberals and Conservatives are fighting over power in Ottawa, the Greens are working for democracy. I've lived and worked in East Van the majority of my 17 years in Vancouver, and for the past several in sustainable community economic development in particular. During this time I’ve worked to create broad partnerships between residents, businesses, non-profits and government in the riding of Vancouver East. Partnerships to create healthier, more sustainable, inclusive and prosperous communities. I have an extensive network that I have built over these years as the Executive Director, chair or board member of numerous organizations including the Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association (HxBIA), LOCO BC, Building Opportunities with Business and the Vancouver Urban Farming Society.
But before all of this I was a struggling musician and actor, living on a shoestring budget, crashing on couches, paying my way through university bartending and waiting tables.
I approach all that I do with humility and a willingness to listen and learn.
But why specifically am I running as the Green Party's candidate for Vancouver East?
I love this part of our city and our country and I believe with me as your candidate we can win Vancouver East and continue to build the momentum of the Green Party in BC and Canada. It's looking like BC is going to elect more Green MPs in the coming election, which sends a message to Ottawa and the other national parties that this province wants representation that puts ridings and constituents first, not party leaders or parties themselves. If this happens then BC will matter more than ever in parliament as the Green MPs elected in the province may likely hold the balance of power in a minority or coalition government. We are ready to work with the other parties in the interest of our riding, region, province and country - and in the interest of our planet, a planet that needs Canada to behave as a responsible and engaged member of the international community.
Vancouver East is one of the lowest income federal ridings in Canada, and I've devoted much of my academic and professional life to better understanding the reasons for this and trying to change things for the better here. You can view slide presentations that I've shared at conferences in the U.S. and Canada about this work here or on my LinkedIn profile.
I believe my combination of education, experience and deep social networks in the riding make me a candidate that has a chance of winning Vancouver East with the Green Party, and I'm ready to devote the rest of this year to doing just that. I believe that Canadians want a parliament that works, not one where one party rules with an iron and unquestionable fist, and the opposition parties jockey and bicker away awaiting a chance at power. I will work in a non-partisan way to represent the needs and aspirations of our riding first and foremost. The Green Party does not "whip the vote" and is committed to cooperation and collaboration in the interest of good and sensible government.
Throughout this campaign I want to bring grassroots community economic development and social justice principles to the forefront of the discussion, I want to emphasize the important role that the federal government could, and should be playing in supporting healthy, inclusive and economically robust communities - a counterpoint to a petro-state, export oriented, boom and bust economy we are currently being force fed. Mental health and addiction, housing and homelessness, safety of vulnerable peoples, improving the fiscal gap between Ottawa and municipalities, supporting greener more sustainable urban and regional economic development, these are issues that connect Ottawa directly to the riding of Vancouver East. A riding that is filled with innovative small and medium sized businesses, non-profits, hard working blue collar workers and multicultural, diverse communities.
As an MP I would work to improve the connection between what happens on the ground in Vancouver East and Ottawa. I want to bring the compassionate and innovative practices and ideas we see in EastVan, the new ways of thinking about the economy, about businesses, about impact and value, inclusion and community, to parliament.
I bring a strong knowledge and firsthand experience regarding a range of issues facing the communities in our riding.
Libby Davies is a leader in our community whom I've admired and have supported in the past as one of her constituents. I'm eager to try to live up to, if not exceed, the standard she has set as MP. But it's time for change here in Vancouver East, and I intend to build a coalition across party lines and ideologies to show that this is not simply an "NDP riding" this is a progressive, innovative and compassionate riding, and the Greens deserve every opportunity to represent it in Ottawa. Let's build that progressive coalition together under the Green banner and continue to influence the political culture of our country as we gain more and more momentum.