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sometimes you have to vote for the person

I am voting for Spencer Herbert in the May 12, 2009 BC election. Many people would assume that I am a supporter of the NDP. Spencer Herbert is after all and NDP MLA. In fact, I am not a supporter of the BC NDP. I am particularly opposed to their Axe the Tax campaign. I think that the carbon tax is one of the only good ideas the Campbell Liberals have had and I think that we need a carbon tax, perhaps even at the cost of having to stomach four more years of rule by the BC Liberals. I am still voting for Spencer Herbert though. Many people just do not know enough about their local candidates to base their voting decisions on those individual people rather than their party. I think that I know enough about Spencer Herbert to know that he is about as good a representative as the West End could ever hope to have.

It does not take much time to learn about a local candidate. You can find a lot of information on their personal website. You can find opinions about them on blogs like the one I am writing right now. You can also simply go and meet them. Spencer Herbert is routinely on the street talking to whoever is willing to take a minute or two to stop and chat with him. He is not selling himself or his party to the public. Rather, he is listening to people and what they think are the issues that should be of the most concern to Spencer and to the government. In larger ridings it would be harder to bump into your MLA on the street, but you can easily email them, probably even talk to them on the phone and give them a piece of your mind, or give them a go at convincing you as to why they deserve your support.

I hear from a lot of people that they will not vote NDP because of how terrible they were in government the last time around. I tend to agree in large part with those people. I think that the NDP is a big risk in a time of extreme economic uncertainty. At the same time, I know that there are many very good people running for the NDP. People who deserve a deeper look than their party does. People who are relatively new to the party, with little or no associations with the last NDP government. These are people who will bring new ideas and new energy to the party, and perhaps to government should the NDP manage a victory in May. So while I am not so sure about the NDP overall as a party, I am sure enough about enough of their MLAs and candidates to know that at least in some ridings it is perfectly safe and sane to vote for the NDP candidate.


March 26, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , | Leave a comment

on to the next fight(s)

As depressing as it is to see the Conservatives win a strong minority government, there are other battles to be fought, and right away.

First, there are two provincial by-elections in Vancouver on October 29th in Vancouver Burrard and Vancouver Fairview. I live in Vancouver Burrard and I am very excited about the NDP candidate Spencer Herbert. Spencer is young, progressive, and queer, three things that we need more of in Victoria. His Liberal opponent is Arthur Griffiths, who has a great deal of name recognition, but really has only ever ran his family’s business and you could make a strong case that he did a rather poor job. I think that it will be a close hard fought race in Vancouver Burrard. I hope that voters realize what a great chance this is to elect someone young, with new ideas, but who also understands the issues that are most important to the residents of Vancouver Burrard.

There are also municipal elections across BC on November 15th. Vancouver has the chance to elect a progressive mayor and council with a very strong Vision Vancouver/COPE slate. With Harper in Ottawa, and Campbell in Victoria (at least until May ’09 anyway), it would help the conservative/progressive balance to have a progressive mayor and council. I think that Gregor Robertson stands a very good chance of winning the mayor’s office, and with his strong personality and leadership the Vision/COPE candidates for council should also do quite well.

October 15, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | 1 Comment

Vancouver Burrard to get a new MLA

So there are going to be two provincial by-elections in Vanoucver on October 29th, two weeks after the federal election. While I understand that there is a legal requirement to call by-elections within six months of a vacancy, I also do not see the point of electing two MLAs for Vancouver who will sit for about two months before the May 2009 election. The BC Liberals saw fit not to sit at all this fall even further alleviating the need for by-elections. Nonetheless, residents in Vancouver Burrard will have the option of voting on October 29th, and I for one think that there is someone running who is definitely worth supporting.

I should be open up front, I have done a little bit of volunteer work for Spencer Herbert, NDP candidate for Vancouver Burrard. I plan on doing more volunteer work during the campaign. I should also make it clear that I am not partisan. I did join the NDP so that I could support Spencer’s bid for the nomination, but I am not over enamoured with the federal or provincial NDP. I have never voted NDP in a provincial election. I would not be inclined to vote NDP in May of 2009 either, except for the fact that Spencer Herbert is a great candidate.

One of the main reasons I am so supportive of Spencer Herbert is his age. He is in his late 20s but has already served three years as a Vancouver Parks Board commissioner. He has a real sense of honesty and virtue about him that is probably in many ways related to his youth. He seems to care most about the people who need help the most. Housing is one of his number one issues, and I can think of little that is more important to residents in downtown Vancouver. The thousands of homeless that live in Vancouver can be seen throughout Vancouver Burrard. While the greatest problems are found in the Downtown Eastside, the homeless issue affects all of Vancouver, and particularly Vancouver Burrard.

Another reason, and one that I really think is important is that Spencer is queer. While a person’s sexuality is not the best reason to vote for someone, it certainly does help them to understand issues of importance to the queer community. It is possible for straight people to be really great allies, but there is no real substitute for the queer community having queer politicians representing them. Lorne Mayencourt has been the MLA in Vancouver Burrard for the past 7 years, and while he has worked on issues of importance to the queer community, he cannot hope to be as effective as Spencer Herbert. Mayencourt had to work within a political party that was not keen on any of his initiatives. Spencer, on the other hand, would be in a party that is far more supportive of the queer community.

I hope that residents in Vancouver Burrard take note of the by-election and take a little bit of time to learn about Spencer Herbert. The Liberals are running Arthur Griffiths in the riding, who other than name recognition really offers very little to Vancouver Burrard residents. Griffiths is a millionaire by birth. He cannot possibly understand an issue like homelessness, or the incredible cost of renting an apartment. He cannot possibly understand what it is like for people like myself to struggle to pay rent and their student loans even though I have a good job.

Spencer Herbert understands the struggles that are facing residents in Vancouver Burrard. He understands that you learn more by listening that simply by spewing the party line to you. He understands that residents in Vancouver Burrard need an MLA who will be active and visible in the riding.

Visit to find out more about where Spencer stands on the issues.

October 7, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | Leave a comment

Nice to see Dave Harper enter the fray

This week Dave Harper, a West End resident for 14 years, announced that he is running for the BC Liberal nomination in the riding of Vancouver-West End. I should make it clear that I am supporting Spencer Herbert in his run for the NDP nomination in the riding, and I intend on supporting Spencer next May, but I am happy to see that a West Ender like Dave Harper is entering the contest.

I do not know much about Arthur Griffiths other than the fact that he inherited the Vancouver Canucks from his late father. What I do know about Griffiths is that he is not a West End resident, and never would be except for the fact that it is a Vancouver riding where the incumbent Liberal MLA is not seeking re-election. Griffiths makes his home in Point Grey, one of the wealthiest areas of Vancouver, a seat which is currently held by Liberal premier Gordon Campbell. I think that Griffiths does not really have any business running in Vancouver-West End, I simply cannot see how he would be able to understand the concerns of residents and bring those concerns to Victoria.

What Griffiths has is a name to run on, and family money to back him up. Dave Harper clearly is a huge underdog, but he has a base in the community. I do not know Dave well, but all of my interactions with him have been very pleasant. He has always been very warm and approachable. So while I will definitely be supporting Spencer Herbert, I would rather see a Spencer Herbert NDP ticket versus a Dave Harper Liberal ticket than one with Arthur Griffiths. Spencer and Dave would both campaign on issues important to the community, whereas I think Griffiths is more about name recognition and spending a lot of money on his campaign.

Good luck to Dave Harper, I hope that BC Liberals in the West End realize that someone dedicated to their community is a better choice to represent their party then a wealthy big name candidate with no ties to the riding.

August 9, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | 4 Comments

The Politics of Pride

Yesterday was the Vancouver Pride Parade, I went down to Denman at about 10am to get a good spot and sat there for five hours until the Parade was over. Sitting for five hours on the curb is not a lot of fun, but it was worth it, the Parade was great if you ask me. One thing that always surprises and somewhat disappoints me is the lack of Liberal politicians in the Parade, both federal and provincial. Hedy Fry is of course always in the parade, and she usually has a costume on and looks great. Lorne Mayencourt was nowhere to be seen, I guess if you are not seeking re-election there is no reason to support the community. The only BC Liberal to be seen was Arthur Griffiths, who is seeking the Liberal nomination in Vancouver-West End. There were no other Liberals either BC or federal. It would be nice to see someone like Stephane Dion, Bob Rae, or Michael Ignatieff come to Vancouver to show Liberal support for the LGBT community. Gordon Campbell never shows his face at the Pride Parade, I do not imagine he would get a very good reception if he was there, but I would rather see him get a few boos than not see him at all.

What Pride really does illustrate is that among Canada’s political parties the one that has supported the LGBT community the longest, and the most vociferously is the NDP. Jack Layton rode in the parade again this year. Michael Byers, soon to be NDP candidate for the federal riding of Vancouver Centre, and Spencer Herbert who is seeking the NDP’s nomination for the provincial riding of Vancouver-West End, were both in attendance. Libby Davies always shows her support and was there once again. I am not inclined to vote for the NDP in the next federal election, but I always have to remind myself that the NDP is the only party that shows 100% support for the LGBT community. Hedy Fry has always been supportive, but her party is still full of MPs and members that do not believe in LGBT rights at all. It is always important to remember who loves you best.

August 4, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment