Vancouver - In a press conference held on the sunny steps of City Hall on the morning of March 31st, the Green Party of Vancouver announced the four nominees that have been endorsed by the party’s Candidate Screening Committee to run for City Council under the Green Party banner in the November 15th, 2014 civic elections.
Seeking to serve Vancouverites for a second term on Council is Adriane Carr, the first elected Green Party of Vancouver City Councilor and one of the civic party’s original founders 30 years ago. But this year, buoyed by strong public support and positive poll results, Carr will not be running solo. This morning Carr and the Green Party of Vancouver introduced a team of three community leaders who, along with Carr, have sought the party’s endorsement for City Council this year.
They are: Cleta Brown, a retired lawyer and tireless social justice advocate; Pete Fry, Chair of the Strathcona Residents Association, and Tracey Moir, Founder & Chair of Oakridge-Langara Area Residents (OLAR).
Says Adriane Carr: "I love my work representing the citizens of Vancouver on Council, and I'm excited to run for re-election, but I would accomplish much more if Vancouverites elect these fantastic individuals to join me there. I find it incredibly frustrating when I see citizens raise legitimate concerns that don't end up influencing Council decisions. Frankly, I've found that democracy doesn't work well when City Hall is dominated by a single party that can railroad decisions through Council without seriously listening to other points of view. With greater diversity on Council, including this stellar team of Greens, better decisions will come out of City Hall. I have had the good fortune to get to know Cleta, Pete and Tracey during my first term in office. They are all smart, compassionate and fair-minded: already working to represent communities and advocate for people in need. They know how to listen, and they are intimately familiar with the complex issues facing Vancouver today."
Carr says that in her second term, with the help of a Green caucus, she will continue to work hard on the issues she has fought for in her current term, including genuinely affordable housing, alleviating homelessness and poverty, and a smarter, more sustainable and balanced approach to development that doesn’t undermine the character of the neighbourhoods that make Vancouver so special.
Cleta Brown, a retired lawyer with a long career in public service working in the Office of the Ombudsman of British Columbia, as Crown Counsel in the provincial courts and Alternate Chairperson of the BC Review Board, has worked as a tireless social justice advocate for over 20 years, volunteering for not-for-profit organizations and practicing law with a social justice emphasis. A long-time activist for women’s equality, Cleta Brown is the daughter of the late Rosemary Brown, who made history by becoming the first black Canadian woman elected to a provincial legislature in 1972.
Says Brown: “I am running for City Council to champion the right of ordinary Vancouverites to determine the way our city changes and grows, to champion a rebalancing of corporate and community influence at City Hall and to confront the social inequalities in our city. I strongly believe that the unchallenged growth of poverty and injustice is an absolute barrier to a thriving happy city and makes it impossible to have both a green and economically strong city. I am running with the Green Party of Vancouver because it is committed to transparent participatory democracy, economic fairness and effective social justice. We need good listeners at City Hall. The Green Party of Vancouver listens and is unencumbered by blind partisanship or any special interest obligation. I am confident in saying that Vancouverites from all walks of life and all areas of the city would be well represented by our four Green Party candidates who respect their rights, their interests and their contributions to city life.”
Two of the individuals seeking the Green Party of Vancouver nomination, Pete Fry and Tracey Moir, were prominently involved in the recent public hearings leading to the controversial approvals of the DTES Local Area Plan and the Oakridge Mall proposal, as the heads of their respective neighbourhood associations. Their experiences with those processes were major drivers of their motivation to seek a place at the Council table.
Pete Fry, a self-employed graphic and web designer, is a lifelong Vancouverite and long-time resident of the Downtown Eastside/Strathcona neighbourhood who has served as Chair of the Strathcona Residents’ Association and a representative on the DTES Local Area Planning Process since 2012. A long-time Green, Fry also happens be the son of Hedy Fry, long-serving Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Centre.
“I feel strongly that the focus and responsibility of our civic government needs to prioritize the people who live here, and that a healthy democracy needs a diversity of voices at the Council table to ensure that it does,” says Fry when describing his reasons for running. “We have some big challenges; in the face of the general condition of precarity that is so overwhelming in Vancouver, we need to ensure affordability, homes, and a city where everyone can thrive. I'm sick of seeing my friends squeezed out of the city because they can no longer afford to live here. If Vancouver is to remain home to the brilliant diversity of people who currently live here, we need to do a better job of supporting the arts and small business and shake the "No Fun City" label once and for all. We need to strengthen and empower our communities and citizens to build a sustainable and resilient city where people come before profits.”
Tracey Moir, founder and chair of Oakridge Langara Area Residents (OLAR), has lived in Vancouver for most of her life, having graduated from UBC with a business degree before going on to broad business experiences in national, government and small business environments. She has served in a number of community service capacities and has been a strong and consistent voice championing the need for City Council to take responsibility for the implications and impacts of our city's growth and development. "It is not good enough to push dealing with the needed increases to essential public services and infrastructure into the future, nor to leave it to other authorities or levels of government in the hopes that they will deal with them,” says Moir. “Council must take responsibility and deal with these challenges head on because they are direct results of Council decisions."
Why run with the Greens? “The Green Party of Vancouver has a refreshing, much-needed, long-term perspective and looks ahead to consider the effects of today's decisions on our future," says Moir. "Greens look at the whole picture and consider cumulative effects, in contrast with the current practice at City Hall of isolated and disconnected decisions."
Green Party of Vancouver members will meet to confirm the four Council nominees on May 4th.
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