AS reported on this website last Friday, Jenny Kwan, NDP MLA from Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, announced on Sunday that she will seek the NDP nomination for Vancouver East federal riding as incumbent MP Libby Davies announced last month that she won’t be running again.
Whoever wins the nomination will most likely be the next MP because this riding has always elected the candidate from the NDP and its predecessor, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, except in 1974 and 1993. Those two defeats occurred, as one newspaper report put it, “when the Liberals won a national majority during periods when unpopular provincial NDP governments were in power in B.C.”
One-quarter of this riding’s population is supposed to be ethnic Chinese and that gives Kwan a distinct advantage over Mable Elmore, MLA from Vancouver-Kensington, an ethnic Filipino.
“I have talked to hundreds of Vancouver East constituents since Libby announced her retirement, and I am honoured and humbled to receive the strong support of so many leaders and activists in our community,” said Kwan.
“Leaders from all parts of the diverse communities in Vancouver East have encouraged me to run and be their voice in Ottawa, so today I am proud to announce that I will answer that call and seek nomination to be the NDP candidate for Vancouver East. It would be an honour to represent them and to continue to build on the legacy of progressive work and activism that Libby Davies leaves behind.”
Jenny’s long list of diverse endorsements includes First Nations leaders and activists, leaders from Vancouver East’s vibrant multi-cultural communities, local associations and business leaders, distinguished artists and writers, long time residents and activists and the labour movement representatives.
Supporters include Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs; United Steel Workers Union District 3 Director Steve Hunt; Lorelei Williams – representing family members of murdered and missing women, Butterfly in Spirit; Hiebert Yiu – President of the Chinese Freemasons Association; Nathan Woods, President of Unifor Local 111 representing Metro Vancouver transit operators; Cecilia Point of the Musqueam First Nation; Bob Williams – a Director of VanCity Credit Union and former BC cabinet minister; Ron Suzuki , Strathcona Community Centre Recreation Director; Bill Tieleman, political commentator; and many more. The full list is available at www.Jenny4VanEast.ca
Kwan said Libby Davies has been an inspiration to her.
“Libby’s exemplary work in Vancouver East has helped so many in our community. Like Libby, I will continue to stand up for the vulnerable and marginalized members of our community and make sure all voices are heard in Ottawa,” said Kwan. “Libby and I have worked together on the same issues for decades – from promoting housing, childcare, environmental sustainability, economic development, health care and harm reduction, to championing justice for immigrants and refugees to supporting respect and reconciliation for Canada’s aboriginal peoples.
“This next election will be the fight of our lives,” said Kwan. “I know that the residents of Vancouver East are up for that fight. It is a fight for housing and for justice. It is a fight against climate change and potential oil spills. It is a fight to not only defeat Stephen Harper but to replace him with a truly progressive alternative—and NDP government under Prime Minister Tom Mulcair.”
BORN in Hong Kong, Kwan immigrated to Canada with her family when she was nine years old. After graduating from Simon Fraser University, Jenny began working as a community legal advocate in the Downtown Eastside.
In 1993, Kwan made history becoming the youngest City Councillor elected in Vancouver’s history.
In 1996, Kwan made history again as she was elected MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, becoming one of the first Chinese-Canadians to sit in the Legislative Assembly and the first Chinese-Canadian cabinet minister in the province’s history. She served as Minister of Municipal Affairs, Women’s Equality and Minister of Community Development, Cooperatives and Volunteers.
Kwan was re-elected in 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013. During 2001 to 2005, Jenny fought shoulder to shoulder with Joy MacPhail to hold the B.C. Liberals accountable as a two-woman opposition.