Monthly Archives: October 2008

Andrea Nann and Alvin Tolentino perform Nov 1 for Project Mabuhay

Project Mabuhay, is an annual free Eye Ear and Nose Clinic
staffed by volunteer Canadian medical personnel for the indigent in the
Philippines.


Saturday, Nov. 1st
8pm

at the
Vancouver Playhouse 

All the artists are volunteering their time and
talents for this worthwhile project. Andrea Nann and Alvin Tolentino have been
invited to create a dance for a 2 piano tango piece being
performed by international concert pianist Dorothy Uytengsu and
Lester Soo.

Andrea and Alvin are two of Canada's top dance choreographers.  I have reviewed some of their past performances.

Here's what I have found on Cherelle Jardine's website: http://www.cherellejardine.com/

You are cordially invited
to attend a fundraising concert benefitting Dr.Hugh Parsons, and his
charity, Project Mabuhay.  This medical mission is to
help the indigent people of the Philippines who are suffering from
various diseases that have little or no access to medical help by
conducting free eye and ear, nose & throat treatment clinics.  The
doctors, nurses & team
and all artists have all donated their time, talent and money to pay
for their OWN expenses (including hotel, airfare and food) to help
those less fortunate.

The evening is entitled “Project Mabuhay – An Evening of Song and Dance at the Queen Elizabeth Playhouse
                       
 
Classical pianists Lester Soo with his duo partner Dorothy Uytengsu,
will be performing piano duo arrangements of music by Gershwin,
Rachmaninov, & Piazolla.  Several other noted artists will also be
performing  including
Joey Albert; singer; Andrea Nann; Dancer from Toronto, Cherelle Jardine
; pop/rock singer with Ricky Francisco, Dr. Malcolm Hayes; flautist,
and many more…..All in aid to raise funds for purchasing medical
equipment and supplies.
 
So come get your dose of culture and while doing so, knowing that you
are helping those less fortunate.  Tickets can only be purchased
directly from Debbie Mah for $20, $35 or $150 for the VIP catered
reception/after party.  I
encourage those who need a charitable donation tax receipt to attend
the VIP reception.  A tax receipt will be issued for $100 for VIP
ticket holders. Space limited to 150 people.  debbymah@shaw.ca

 

Ron MacLeod Report: November Ceilidh at the Scottish Cultural Centre + Vancouver/Victoria Gaelic Choir concert


Here are some Scottish/Gaelic events courtesy of Ron Macleod

Greetings, three messages and a comment (?). Regards, the other Ron

1. November Ceilidh

WHAT: Gaelic Society Ceilidh

WHERE: Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson (at 73rd Ave), Vancouver, B.C.

WHEN:  November 1st, 2008

TIME: Doors open at 7 PM; concert begins at 8:00 PM

COST: $12.00; students $6.00. Tickets at the door

OTHER: Featuring the ‘Gizeh Pipes ‘n Drums’ and Soprano Lilian Lind

Lilian will lead a sing-a-long of favorite Gaelic & Scottish songs

Dancing to follow

Tea, Coffee and a lot of goodies

Bar service

Door prizes

ALL WELCOME

       

2. Gaelic Choirs

 THE VANCOUVER GAELIC CHOIR AND THE VICTORIA GAELIC CHOIR will be hosting a joint concert at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 1573 East 18th Avenue, Vancouver, (18th Avenue at Knight St.) on
Saturday, November 15th, 2008. This is the second annual concert
featuring both choirs; the first joint concert was held in Victoria in
November 2007. Please come out and enjoy a delightful evening featuring
the best choral works from both of these prestigious choirs. For
further information and tickets, please contact choir president Roberta
Milne at (604) 433-3326.

 3. Regrets

The  WHITE SPOT BAND CRAFT FAIR originally scheduled for  Saturday, November 22nd  at
Fort Langley Hall has been cancelled. Apparently a movie is being made
at the Hall and has been given priority. No alternate venue available –
no craft fair.

 4. If you have been following the unfolding of the 2009 Scotland Homecoming to celebrate the 250th anniversary
of the birth of Robert Burns you will have noticed a heightening pace
in the flow of publicity. If you have been sitting on the sidelines,
here are three websites to introduce you to the ballyhoo:

http://www.homecomingscotland.com/default.html  or

http://www.homecomingscotland2009.com/whats-on/default.html

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2008/08/04155620 (Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre)

Chinese Canadian Military Museum celebrates 10th Anniversary with dinner at Pink Pearl

Important WW2 Canadian history is celebrated by the Chinese Canadian Military Museum, celebrating 10th Anniversary.
 
DSC_0742_91364 - Colour Party entrance by FlungingPictures.
My grand-uncle Daniel Lee and his friend Ed Lee carry the flags for the colour party to help lead the procession of Chinese Canadian veterans to help begin the ceremonies for the 10th anniversary dinner for the Chinese Canadian Military Museum – photo Patrick Tam/Flunging Pictures.

When Canada was fighting WW2, the Canadian government initially didn't want any soldiers of Chinese ethnicity – even if they had been born in Canada.  Several Chinese Canadians argued that they should fight for Canada and volunteered for service.  This action later helped them lobby to give Chinese-Canadians the franchise to vote in 1947.

It was a wonderful evening at the 10th Anniversary celebration dinner for the Chinese Canadian Military Museum. I attended the dinner with my friends Stuart Mackinnon and George Jung.  We sat with Chinese American WW2 veterans from Seattle.  Peggy Lee-Wong, one of the first Chinese-Canadian women to serve in WW2, also sat with us.

DSC_0725_91347 - Lt Col Howe LEE & Ellen WOODSWORTH by FlungingPictures


Col. Howe Lee is the founder of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum.  Congratulating him is Ellen Woodsworth, former Vancouver city counilor seeking re-election this fall.  Both of these people are wonderful community builders, and I admire them greatly. – photo Patrick Tam / Flunging Pictures.

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There was a special acknowledgement as Wesley Louie presented his father Victor Louie's military jacket to Col. Lee and the CCMM.  Wesley told the story about how his father, was granted an honorable discharge before he saw service in the Korean War.  Victor later went on to run the Marco Polo Theatre Restaurant, where my father painted all the show cards. – photo Todd Wong

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My friend Judy Maxwell gave a short talk about the history of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum.  She has done a lot of research for CCMM. – photo Todd Wong.

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Here's a picture of me with some of my family: standing Todd Wong, Rhonda Larrabee, her son-in-law Franklyn Wright, Daniel Lee (sitting) my uncle Andy Mar, my grandmother Mabel Mar, and Auntie Sue – photo T.Wong/S. Mackinnon

DSC_0731_91353 - Head table by FlungingPictures

Here's a picture of the head table with guests. Mrs. and Col. Howe Lee sit beside MLA Jenny Kwan and media commentator Gabriel Yiu.  Standing is MLA John Yap in the middle, with Ellen Woodswoth beside him. – photo Patrick Tam / Flunging Pictures

Last year, John Yap MLA for Richmond Steveston invited the veterans to the BC Legislature and highlighted the 60th anniversary of Chinese Canadian citizenship.  The following is from his press release re-printed on the CCMM website.

“Today, I rise to speak about a very
important cultural institution in British Columbia, the Chinese-Canadian
Military Museum. A non-profit organization established in 1998, the
military museum is located in the heart of Vancouver's Chinatown.”

Yap continues: “Howe Lee, President and Founder, had a vision to
preserve, collect and bring to light the artifacts, memorabilia and,
most importantly, the stories of the Chinese-Canadian veterans that
risked their lives in order to serve Canada during World War II, despite
the blatant racism and indignities they faced at the time.”

He concludes: “Under the guidance of Howe Lee and Museum Curator Larry
Wong, the Chinese-Canadian Military Museum proudly displays the stories
of courage, sacrifice and patriotism of those who chose to fight for
their country, Canada. I encourage everyone to visit the museum and
learn about a widely unknown part of Canada's military history.”

Read my article about the dinner event created last year to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Canadian Citizenship
Chinese Canadian Veterans dinner May 12 – celebrating 60th anniversary of Canadian Citizenship

How come it dook so long for Asians and First Nations to get the vote in BC?

Event: Asians, First Nations and the History of the Vote in British Columbia

A Panel Discussion About the History of Exclusion and How It Has Impacted British Columbians

It's the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the colony of British Columbia.  But First Nations people have only been voting for 48 years since 1960, Canadians of Japanese ancestry for 59 yeras since 1949, and Canadians of Chinese ancestry for 61 years since 1947.  What took so long? 

Come check out the following event and find out why.
Okay… I will try NOT to use the “R” word.

This should be an interesting panel discussion.  Patricia Roy's book The Triumph of Citizenship: The Japanese and Chinese in Canada, 1941-67
was a BC Book Prize non-ficition nominee for 2008.

The Triumph of Citizenship: The Japanese and Chinese in Canada, 1941-67

Larry Grant can be quite funny – he has a very witty sense of humour.  He just did the First Nations greeting for the Chinese Canadian Military Museum 10th Anniversary Dinner on Friday Night – I would love to have him as a guest for the the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in 2009.

Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Location: Vancouver Public Library
Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Rooms, Lower Level
350 West Georgia Street

Time: 7:30 – 9:00 pm

Speakers:
Ms. Lily Chow (author), Ms. Masako Fukawa (writer/teacher), Mr. Larry
Grant (Musqueam First Nation), Mr. Harb Gill (Komagata Maru
Foundation), Professor Patricia Roy (University of Victoria)

Until
the mid-20th century Asians and First Nations were not allowed to vote
in British Columbia. It wasn’t until 1947 and 1949 respectively, that
citizens of Chinese and Japanese descent were granted the right to
vote, and only in 1960 was the same right granted to people of First
Nations descent.

Come hear five renowned British Columbia
academics, writers, authors, and activists discuss the significance of
the granting of the vote in British Columbia to minority groups and how
this exclusion of rights has affected British Columbia.

Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in Vancouver – very cool

Canada's short track skating teams and individuals advance to World Cup Finals

2008_skating 018 by you.

Canada's Michael Gilday in the lead at the Friday afternoon qualifying race for World Cup short track speed skating, Pacific Coliseum Vancouver BC – photo Todd Wong

It's the second World Cup short track speed skating event, and it is in Vancouver BC, the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

One of the premier short track speed skaters is American Apolo Ohno who was born and raised in Seattle Wa.  Ohno is Hapa.  His father Japanese-born father raised him as a single dad.

Vancouver Sun: Speedskating's poster boy:American Apolo Anton Ohno has success and so much more going for him

But the Canadians are tough too! 

“The sport of short track, I don't know if it was necessarily born
in Quebec, but it was definitely one of the beginning hot spots where
it was developed,” says Michael Gilday.

in  Vancouver Sun: Speed skating: West set to break Quebec's short track dominance

On Friday we saw top Canadian Michael Gilday and the Women's Relay team race in qualifying rounds.  They both held the lead in their respective races until the final laps.  But that was okay, top two finishers moved on.  Hope they perform well for the rest of the weekend into the finals.

2008_skating 067

Canadian Women's Relay team – photo Todd Wong

It's kind of a strange relay race.  They don't pass a baton.  They tag each other up, and in between they take turns giving each other a push to initiate the relay and keep their momentuum going.

2008_skating 061

Chinese team gives their skater a push – photo Todd Wong

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Teams in right corner give each other a push during the relays- photo Todd Wong

Check out my Flickr photos:

World Cup Short Track Speed Skating

World Cup Short Track Speed…

Orchid Ensemble shares Ghost stories from around the world with multi-media

8pm, October 25-26

THE GHOST PROJECT

The Orchid Ensemble is one of Vancouver's most creative musical
collaborators.  Over the past few years I have seen them bring their
sensitive musical stylings to projects involving dance, origami and
Chinese-Canadian history.  Ghost stories are very much alive in Chinese
culture.  I remember watching the moving “A Chinese Ghost Story” in the
mid-1980's, and reading about Chinese ghosts in Paul Yee's books, such Ghost Train or Dead Man's Gold & Other Stories.  To compare ghosts stories and after-life stories from around the world sounds like something out of Joseph Campbell's mythology work.  Cool….

Check this out:

Music/interactive media/dance
Inspired by a shared curiosity of the after-life in different cultures
Performance Centre, Roundhouse, Vancouver, BC

video

01:04

A partnership with the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre
Tickets are $18 regular, $15 students/children/seniors
Tickets: http://www.ticketweb.ca/snl/EventListings.action?orgId=27152
toll free number 1-888-222-6608
or at the door from 7pm on the days of the shows

Collaborators:
Aleksandra Dulic -animation/media arts/scenography
Kenneth Newby – media arts/ multi-instruments
Sutrisno Hartana – Javanese dancer/multi-instruments

The JUNO nominated Orchid Ensemble’s 2008 production “Ghost Project”
will transform the Roundhouse into a world where mystical creatures and
spirits from Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Europe and Canada roam across
the stage. Inspired by a shared curiosity of the after-life in
different cultures, the artists search for a common ground through the
practices of music, mask dance, media arts, shadow puppets, and
scenographic installations.

Guest performers:
Madrigal Singers of Vancouver Community College,
directed by Gerald van Wyck and conducted by Jin Zhang;
Kaori Otake – harp

Composers –Sutrisno Hartana, Kenneth Newby, Farshid Samandari, Barry Truax, Lan Tung, Jin Zhang, Ya-wen V. Wang.
Lighting designer – Kim Plough
Producer – Lan Tung

Stuart Mackinnon is the Green Party candidate for Vancouver Parks Board

Vancouver Parks Board candidate Stuart Mackinnon blends multiculturalism with Green Party environmental issues.

This week I have had the pleasure to attend dinner events with Stuart Mackinnon, Vancouver parks board candidate for the Green Party.  On Thursday, we attended the Oct 23rd Vision Vancouver dinner at Floata Restaurant.  On Friday, we attended the Oct 24th Chinese Canadian Military Museum 10th Anniversary dinner, where we also volunteered to help sell raffle tickets.  On Tuesday, I spoke on Stuart's behalf at the Vancouver & District Labour Council.

The following is an amendment to what I said about why I believe Stuart will be a great Vancouver Parks Board Commissioner, with pictures from the Vision Vancouver Floata dinner.

2008_Oct23 006

Stuart Mackinnon (in kilt) with his good friend Andrea Reimer – who is running for Vancouver city council. – photo Todd Wong

Stuart Mackinnon is active.  He speaks out on issues. He attends Parks board meetings. He has been a thorn in the NPA side, to make sure they follow proper democratic process.

The first time I met Stuart, it was through his blog Better Parks
He was writing about naming the proposed “Selkirk Park” at 72nd St. 
Whether it became Obasan Park or David Suzuki Park, Stuart wanted and
helped to make it more of a democratic process.  Stuart has fought against the privatizing of parks, such as against the imposition of high priced restaurants at Kitsilano Beach and English Bay.

Stuart is a teacher at Killarney Secondary School.  He teaches special needs.  He
was vice-president of his Vancouver Teachers Federation Local 392.1, of the BCTF.  Stuart is
amazing.  Last year he took a group of teachers to China, where he delivered a key note talk about Norman Bethune as an organizer for the “Follow Dr. Norman Bethune to China Committee.”

2008_Oct23 009
Stuart Mackinnon with COPE school board candidate Bill Bargeman.  Stuart was vice-president with Bill's presidency for Vancouver Teachers' Federation local 39.2 BCTF – photo Todd Wong

Stuart
is passionate about what he believes in.  He joined our dragon boat
team last year, loved the intercultural process and the fitness
opportunities it presented – then almost immediately asked how to
create a junior dragon boat team for Killarney high school students,
then guided them to a silver medal in their first year of competition. 
That's Stuart – a man of action, while thinking how to be a team
builder, and ensure that every person is included and feels empowered. 

And along the way, he realized more the importance of Vancouver's False
Creek's waterways and parks as important to our recreational
activities.  And he saw first hand the pollution that threatened this
important recreational jewel, when unacceptable “accidents dumped raw
sewage into False Creek”.  Stuart Mackinnon thinks big picture.  Stuart
Mackinnon thinks long range.  Stuart Mackinnon thinks community and
environment first.

Stuart
is Scottish – of Scottish descent.  I am of Chinese descent.   
Vancouver has a large Chinese population.  Vancouver has a large
multicultural population.  He participates actively on our Gung Haggis
Fat Choy dragon boat team.  He understands multiculturalism. This is
what we need for our city and for our community centres.  Stuart is president of the Canada China Education Association

2008_Oct23 005

Stuart Mackinnon with Charlie Wu of the Taiwanese Cultural Festival (Stuart LOVES the Taiwanese dragon boats), and City Councilor Raymond Louie and son – photo Todd Wong

It's
important to have a Green candidate on the slate.  It's important to
have a diversity of ideas – and especially to represent our
environment.  Our environment isn't just about trees and grass, it is
also about our culture and our history.  I believe that Stuart
Mackinnon will be honorable in supporting these values.  Stuart genuinely cares about our environment and is a past president of  SPEC (the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation) and past chair for Vancouver Green Party.

During the Vancouve civic strike,
Stuart supported CUPE 15, 1004 and 391 and our issues.  He knows the
importance that hard working and loyal city workers can make.  He knows
that we put our hearts and souls into the pride of our jobs.  Stuart
Mackinnon will listen.  He will be inclusive,  He will be supportive of
city workers, but more important, he will be empowering.  I believe in Stuart.  He will be honourable.

2008_Oct23 018 Stuart with Constance Barnes (Vision Parks board candidate) and Andrea Reimer (Vision city council candidate) sitting: Julie, Marion and Todd Wong from the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team – photo T.Wong 

Check out Stuart Mackinnon's website: www.betterparks.ca


Vision Vancouver has fundraiser dinner at Floata: celebrates their cultural diversity

Vision Vancouver shows off it's connections with Vancouver's cultural diversity: Sikh, Taiwanese, First Nations, Chinese pioneers, and even Scottish!

2008_Oct23 029 by you.
CUPE 391 Vancouver Library Workers attended the Vision Vancouver Floata Dinner on Thursday evening.  (standing)  Paul Faoro CUPE 15 President, Todd Wong CUPE 391, Kashmir Dhaliwal Vision Council candidate, Aaron Jasper Vision Parks Board candidate, Mark Whittam CUPE 391, (sitting) Alex Youngberg CUPE 391 President, and Inder Pannu CUPE 391 Vice-President – photo Todd Wong

As a Vancouver city library worker, I see so much of Vancouver's multicultural population.  We have books in many different languages, and many patrons who borrow books in Chinese, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Spanish and Russian.  We have many different ethnicities in our work force.  It is important for Vancouver's City Council, Parks Board and School Board to reflect and understand the cultural and ethnic diversity that it represents.

It was an incredibly diverse display of Vancouver's cultural diversity attending Vision Vancouver's fundraising dinner at Floata Restaurant on Oct 23, Thursday.  There were new immigrants.  There were multi-generational Vancouverities.  There were First Nations, Sikh, Taiwanese, and Chinese community tables.  There were even COPE and Greens all attending.  It was a wonderfully inclusive example of community.

For the first time, Vancouver may have a First Nations representative on School Board, and an Afro-Canadian on Parks Board – if Ken Clements and Constance Barnes are elected.  City council could have three Chinese-Canadians and a Sikh-Canadian all at the same time, along with the requiste Scottish-Canadian – if Raymond Louie, George Chow, Kerry Jang, Kashmir Dhaliwal, Heather Deal and Gregor Robertson are elected.  Oh – you didn't know that Deal and Robertson were Scottish? They both wore their family tartans to the 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner this year.  Did you know that the first mayor of Vancouver, Malcolm Alexander Maclean was Scottish? Maclean was born in Tyree, Argyllshire
on Scotland’s west coast. Deal was born England and raised in Michigan, while Robertson was born in Vancouver.

Add to the mix Alvin Singh and Allan Wong for School Board, and Raj Hundal for Parks Board, and the Vision / COPE / Green slate has 8 members of visible minority ethnicity. 

Okay, we can say that “race” shouldn't matter.  But it does matter in many different ways.  We are who we are because of our personal experiences.  If we have experienced racism, or ethnic diversity – it can enhance our outlook in life.  But we can't all be the same, or have the same experiences – this is why for any working group, it is important to have a range of skills, talents, and viewpoints.  Ethnic or cultural experience can be one of these factors.  And for a multi-cultural city like Vancouver which has multi-generations of intercultural activitiy, cultural diversity can be a very important factor.

2008_Oct23 016

Pat Kelly, Constance Barnes, Miles Richardson and Todd Wong – photo T.Wong

It was a great honour to meet Miles Richardson – former President of the Haida Nation who received the Order of Canada earlier this year.  Pat Kelly was sitting with him, and I introduced my friend Constance Barnes to them. Constance's father is for BC MLA Emery Barnes, another one of BC's great figures as both politician and BC Lions football player.

2008_Oct23 014

Alex Youngberg stands between Vancouver city councilors David Cadman and George Chow – photo Todd Wong

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Green Party Parks Board candidate Stuart Mackinnon greets the COPE table with Councilor candidate Ellen Woodsworth, School Board candidates Allan Wong and Al Blakely and guest – photo Todd Wong

2008_Oct23 001

Inder Pannu and Todd Wong with Kashmir Dhaliwal and leaders of the Sikh community.- photo T.Wong



Tanya Tagaq comes to Vancouver and transforms Inuit throat singing to new art form

Tanya Tagaq is the “Jimi Hendrix of Inuit throat singing”

2008_Oct23 032 Todd Wong and Tanya Tagaq – photo Deb Martin

I had the pleasure of meeing Tanya Tagaq on Thursday night, after she performed at the Music on Main series. Tanya has been called the “Jimi Hendrix of Inuit throat singing” by David Harrington, Kronos Quartet. 

In August, I received her sophomore album titled “Tagaq.”  It is a strange album.  It is earthy.  It is primordial.  It is ethereal.  It is unlike anything you have ever heard before.  It is transformative.

It was Vancouver's Chan Centre that had commissioned Kronos Quartet to create a new work with Tanya, I learned from Chan Centre Programning Director Joy Hinton.  Watch the video on you tube:

Nunavut (Kronos Quartet and Tanya Tagaq)

07:14 


I found some other you tube videos of Tanya.  Listen to them.  Watch them.  You will be amazed, by both her traditional performances and her contemporary performances.

Here is her Canada Day Performance in Ottawa with cellist Rebecca Foon:


Tanya was in Vancouver in August, and she performed her contemporary work.




2008 civic candidates endorsed for Vancouver, Richmond and North Vancouver by the Vancouver & District Labour Council

Vancouver & District Labour Council endorses progressive candidates for Nov 15 civic elections in Vancouver, Richmond and North Vancouver.

2008_VDLC 007 Vancouver community leaders: Todd Wong (CUPE 391), Bill Saunders (VDLC president), George Chow (Vancouver City Councilor and Ben West (Green Party Chair) – photo Todd Wong

It was my first meeting as a delegate for CUPE 391, Vancouver Library Workers, who recently joined the Vancouver & District Labour Council.  The meetings are held at the Vancouver Maritime Labour Centre, which I first visited as a guest speaker for a human rights themed meeting for the VDLC a few years ago, while I was active on the Save Kogawa House campaign.  This time, I was sworn in as a delegate along with fellow CUPE 391 library worker Lily Gee.  I am on the CUPE 391 executive as a member at large.

It was an exciting evening as many of the local politicians came to be introduced, and to speak to the labour council which includes and affiliates with 106 unions and union locals including CUPE, CAW, Hospital Employees Union , BCGEU, BC Nurses, Public Service Alliance, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers' Union, Telecommunications Workers' Union, United Fishermen and Allied Workers' Union + many more.  It is a union of unions.

On my arrival I chatted with North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto, who I had recently seen only a week before at our 30 year Carson Graham High School Reunion.  He introduced me to his fellow North Van City councilors Sam Schecter and Craig Keating as well as candidate Cheryl Leia.  Darrell is running for re-election and will be acclaimed as he is unopposed, but still he was there to accept endorsement from the V&DLC.

I checked in with V&DLC president Bill Saunders, whom I first met when he was an organizer of the “Anniversaries of Change” program which recognized the 1907 Chinatown Riot by Anti-Asian labourers.  Bill was a big supporter of the CUPE 391 Vancouver Library Workers strike action, and when he visited our picket line at the Word on the Street Festival, he sang along to “O Solo Mio” as I played my accordion.

2008_VDLC 002 North Vancouver contingent: Craig Keating (North Vancouver City councilor), Cheryl Leia (NVC councilor candidate), Darrell Mussatto (NVC Mayor), Sam Schechter (NVC councilor). – photo Todd Wong

Soon many of the Vancouver candidates for council, parks board and school board arrived.  I have gotten to know many of them over the past years through my community work for Joy Kogawa House, Asian Canadian Writers's Workshop and Chinese Head Tax campaign.  As well, many of them like to attend my Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner event.  It is always good to see Ellen Woodsworth, Heather Deal, Raymond Louie and David Cadman who gave great assistance and support for the Save Kogawa House campaign.  Andrea Reimer, Kerry Jang and Aaron Jasper are also wonderful people that I really enjoyed getting to know, and was pleased to give them endorsements for the nomination candidacy for the Vision Vancouver nomination elections.

It was an exciting meeting because the Vision/COPE/Green slate for Vancouver civic election was to be introduced and endorsed.  The meeting started and Vancouver candidates were introduced first.  City council, school board and parks board candidates were introduced respectively by party.

George Chow spoke for the Vision councilors and David Cadman spoke for the COPE councilors.  Both emphasized how difficult negotiations for the three civic unions had been under the NPA dominated Vancouver city council.  David Cadman spoke how the unions were not treated fairly when the GVRD Labour Relations Bureau walked away from negotiations.  Both he and Chow promised that both Vision and COPE sought to build better relations with their civic employees.  This was a theme that was also echoed later by North Vancouver City Mayor Darrell Mussatto and councilor Craig Keating, when they shared that North Vancouver City had avoided strikes by working with their unions in respect and fairness for bargaining.

Sharon Gregson spoke for Vision School Board candidates and Bill Bargeman represented COPE candidates.  For Parks Board, Aaron Jasper spoke for Vision and Loretta Woodcock spoke for COPE.    Both Jasper and Woodcock gave very impassioned talks that emphasized the importance of the Vancouver civic workers, as well as paying attention to Vancouver's cultural diversity.

Stuart Mackinnon, Parks Board candidate for the Green Party was unable to attend, and had asked me to represent him as we are friends.  I spoke about Stuart's activism in attending Parks Board meetings and his citizen involvement in parks issues such as the democratic naming of future parks and his criticism of park privatization such as the concession stands and Watermark Restaurant.  I shared that Stuart was a union brother, as a school teacher at Killarney Secondary School, and as a former vice-president of CUPE 392 of the BC Teachers Federation.  Afterwards, I was complimented on giving Stuart such as strong introduction and endorsement.

2008_VDLC 005 Vancouver candidates: Kerry Jang (city council candidate), Ellen Woodsworth (city council candidate), Anita Romaniuk (Parks Board candidate) – photo Todd Wong

The Vision / COPE / Green Vancouver city council slate has an amazing amount of cultural diversity.  George Chow, Kerry Jang and Raymond Louie have Chinese ancestry and Kashmir Dhaliwal is South Asian. Tim Stevenson is gay, Ellen Woodsworth is lesbian and Raymond Louie's wife has Scottish ancestry… as does Heather Deal.  I have also managed to get kilts on Deal, Louie, and Stevenson, but only tartan sashes so far on George Chow and Ellen Woodsworth.  David Cadman has been involved nationally and internationlly with the United Nations Association.  All the councilor candidates including Geoff Meggs and Andrea Reimer attended the 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner with the exception of Kashmir Dhaliwal.

The Vancouver School Board slate includes Ken Clement – of Ktunaxa First Nations, Alvin Singh – South Asian ancestry, and Allan Wong – Chinese ancestry.  I first met Al Blakey, Jane Bouey and Allan Wong when I did a Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society presentation for the Vancouver School Board back in 2002.  I have also since met Sharon Gregson, Alvin Singh and Bill Bargeman.

The Vancouver Parks Board slate is very ethnic-culture cool!  Constance Barnes is Afro-Canadian, the daughter of Emery Barnes – former speaker of the BC Legislature, and she is operations manager for the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens.  Raj Hundal is Sikh, and last night explained to me some of the traditions that I didn't know. Aaron Jasper's wife is South Asian, and they both were volunteers at the 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.  Stuart Mackinnon has spent more time in China than I have, but he didn't own a kilt until after he joined the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  I've also met Loretta Woodcock and Anita Romaniuk over the years.  Sarah Blyth tracked me down for our introductions at this year's Taiwanese Cultural Festival and I hope to get this skateboarder onto a dragon boat sometime soon.

Here is the list of endorsed candidates by the Vancouver & District Labour Council for Vancouver, Richmond and North Vancouver:


Vancouver City Mayor             
Gregor Robertson                       Vision

Vancouver City Council            
George Chow                             Vision
Heather Deal                              Vison
Kashmir Dhaliwal                       Vision
Kerry Jang                                 Vision
Raymond Louie                          Vision
Geoff Meggs                              Vision
Andrea Reimer                           Vision
Tim Stevenson                            Vision
David Cadman                            COPE
Ellen Woodsworth                      COPE

Vancouver City Parks Board    
Constance Barnes                       Vision
Sara Blyth                                   Vision
Raj Hundal                                  Vision
Aaron Jasper                               Vision
Anita  Romaniuk                          COPE
Loretta Woodcock                      COPE
Stuart Mackinnon                         Green
                                                  
Vancouver City School Board   
Patti Bacchus                                Vision
Ken Clement                                Vision
Sharon Gregson                            Vision
Mike Lombardi                             Vision
Al Blakey                                      COPE
Allan Wong                                   COPE
Jane Bouey                                   COPE
Bill Bargeman                                COPE
Alvin Singh                                    COPE

North Vancouver City Mayor   
Darrell Mussatto

North Vancouver City Council  
Craig Keating
Sam Schechter
Kelly Neilson
Rod Clark
Mary Trentadue
Cheryl Leia

North Vancouver District Council   
Robin Hicks
John Fair
Roger Bassam
David Magee
 
North Vancouver School Board  
 – North Vancouver City                      
Lynda Buchaman
Chris Dorais
Susan Skinner
– North Vancouver District                 
Chief Ian Campbell
Cindy Gerlach
Franci Stratton
Jane Thornthwaite

Richmond City Council            
Harold Steves   (RCA)
Linda Barnes     (RCA)
David Reay       (RCA)
Sue Halsey Brandt  (RITE)
Evalina Halsey Brandt  (IND)

Richmond City School Board   
Rod Belleza  (RITE)