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)

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