City Councillor Ellen Woodsworth runs for re-election in Vancouver
Ellen and her friend Alex, don the official Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon
boat team shirt at the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival June 2005 – photo Ray
I am pleased to know Ellen Woodsworth,
Vancouver City Councillor, and to be listed as one of many endorsers on
her website. She has a long committement to social activism and
is proud to be a descendant of J.S. Woodsworth, one of the original
founders of the CCF party.
Ellen Woodsworth is one of the hardest working city councillors in
Vancouver. She has led the efforts to make Vancouver the co-host for
the World Peace Conference next year, fought for child and youth
advocacy and childcare spaces in Vancouver, emphasized the importance
of neighborhoods, the revitalization of Woodwards and the Downtown
Eastside, increased emphasis for pedestrians, cyclists and transit
users, increased arts funding, gender equality, cultural diversity,
ethical purchassing, more festivals, and a more open City Hall.
The first day I met her was when she attended our Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop Community Builders Dinner.
I hosted the dinner and Ellen sat beside my father, making instant
friends. The next time I met Ellen was soon after, at a press
Mike Harcourt endorsed COPE mayoralty candidate Larry Campbell in front
of the Chinese Cultural Centre. I went down to say hello to Ellen
and she introduced me to Raymond Louie and Allan Wong. It was then
that I learned more about Ellen's work with seniors and the Downtown
The following year, Ellen and I were both panelists for the 2003 CARFAC
National convention (Canadian Artists Representation/Le front des
artistes canadiens). I spoke about my experiences networking in
the Asian Canadian arts community and developing opportunities for
artists. Ellen spoke about the City of Vancouver initiatives and
programs for artists. We immediately liked what each other had
said and where each was coming from.
Since then we have kept in touch, sometimes helping each other network
and bouncing ideas. Ellen brought her father to my Gung Haggis
Fat Choy Robbie Burns/Chinese New Year dinner and I seated them at my
father's table. They had a great time, and since I was learning
about Ellen's passion for cultural diversity and her sense of fun, I
invited her to join me for the 2004 St. Patrick's Day parade. I
offered Ellen the drummer's seat and she banged out a rhythm for CBC
Radio broadcaster Margaret Gallagher to paddle by (see picture below),
as our Taiwanese dragon boat
float for Gung Haggis Fat Choy paddled
along Granville Street, to the cheers of many people. The float was
very popular last year, so the parade officials asked me again to
create an entry emphasizing multiculturalism.
Ellen Woodsworth, Adrianna Ermie, Margaret Gallagher and Dave
Samis are all part of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy float. – photo Todd Wong
Ellen Woodsworth waving to
the crowd during the St. Patrick's Day parade in Vancouver this year,
Margaret Gallagher and Dave Samis paddle as part of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat float – photo Todd Wong
Waiting for the parade
to start… Adrianna Ermie, EllenWoodsworth, Dave Samis, Margaret
Gallagher and me – with the Chinese Lion Head mask – for the Gung
Haggis Fat Choy multicultural dragon boat float. – photo by Trev
To help celebrate her May birthday, Ellen invited me to perform for the COPE fundraiser event Encouraging Women in Politics. For this event I read her impressive bio,
and then I carefully documented the significant achievements of her
life, identified her values, her goals and her dreams… and crafted
the words to fit the rhythm of my chosen form…. the Police song
“Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.” I sang the words as I
played my accordion, and I think I floored the audience.
But this is how I feel about Ellen Woodsworth. I really do believe that every little thing she does…. is
magic. Below is a photo of us at the close of the party event –
you can tell I am the one wearing the skirt…. I mean kilt!
I was very pleased to be able to see her at work, when I made a
presentation for the Save Kogawa House committee before the City of
Vancouver standing committee on planning and environment. Ellen
asks critical questions and clearly summarizes impacts of the issues
before council. She spoke of the importance of having Kogawa
House as a literary and cultural landmark for Vancouver, and its impact
for our multicultural population and our future generations.
But more than just a hard worker – Ellen also knows how to have fun, and loves to explore and see all aspects of Vancouver.
She loves Vancouver dearly, its peoples, its heritage and its cultures – and that makes her a wonderful city councillor.