Trish Kelly quits as Vision Vancouver park candidate to halt distractions over her sex-positive activism

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      Last month, Strathcona resident and food policy council member Trish Kelly won the most votes in Vision Vancouver's nomination race for four positions on its park-board slate.

      According to a June 23 email from Vision Vancouver, she was supported by 1,662 Vision members, which was way ahead of second-place finisher Naveen Girn's 1,125 votes. (It's possible that Kelly's vote total is incorrect because in the same email, Vision said that more than 1,650 party members voted.)

      But today, Kelly announced in a news release that she won't be a candidate in the November election.

      “After 25 years of serving my community, I put my name forward as a Park Board nominee to move my life as a community activist fighting for social justice issues, to claiming a seat at the decision-making table," Kelly stated. "Unfortunately, my work in theatre and as a sex-positive activist is being sensationalized—and will clearly continue to be—distracting from my efforts in the community and in the election campaign.” 

      Kelly, a popular member of Vancouver's LGBT community, made a humorous video about masturbation, which was posted on YouTube by political activist Raymond Tomlin. (The video has since been taken down.)

      “I have never hidden from this work," Kelly said in the news release. "I hold no shame nor regret for the work I have produced. I have dedicated, and will continue to dedicate, much of my life to contributing to my community, to having difficult conversations, and to making myself vulnerable in order to make space for others.” 

      Kelly, who's of Métis and Ukrainian heritage, was unavailable for an interview to say what role this video may have played in her choosing not to be on the ballot.

      Vision Vancouver's executive director, Stepan Vdovine, told the Straight by phone that the party hasn't decided if there will be another nomination meeting.

      He also wouldn't say if the person who came fifth in Vision's park-board nomination race, Graham Anderson, will take Kelly's spot as a Vision park candidate.

      Anderson, the cofounder of Shift Delivery and chair of the East End Food Co-op, received 567 votes in the nomination race. He was followed by Vancouver library board chair Catherine Evans with 526 votes, and then West End community activist Brent Granby, who received 505 votes.

      "We will make our decision, you know, around what will happen to that now-open seat sometime down the road," Vdovine said. "We haven't had the conversations and we haven't made that decision."

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      Ken Charko

      Jul 17, 2014 at 5:34pm

      Trish as someone that ran and won in an open competition getting over 1600 votes I applaud you. After hearing Kirk comments about personal attacks I am surprised to see you exiting from the race so soon. It's too bad we as a city are not mature enough to separate some personal video taken with what I assume is some artistic license from that of the requirements of an elected official. Although I may not agree with you politics I do feel it's sad that because of something so silly as a video you have had to drop out. I wish you all the best. K

      Rick in Richmond

      Jul 17, 2014 at 6:50pm

      The answer is obvious, and simple: Ms Kelly should run as an Independent.

      If she is concerned about her video embarrassing VISION, then she should run as Independent, first to last. If elected, she can then vote with VISION as often as she likes.

      If she is truly not embarrassed by her video, there is no reason to turn her back on it.

      There is no problem here. Just run as an Independent.

      Nicholas Ellan

      Jul 17, 2014 at 6:52pm

      According to Frances Bula, Vision Vancouver's executive knew about the video prior to Trish Kelly's nomination. At the time, it wasn't a big deal. (I watched it too - it isn't.) And now their most popular candidate is gone, just like that? What changed??

      (I'll note that your article missed a key fact: the press release didn't come directly from Kelly, it came from the party.)


      Jul 17, 2014 at 7:08pm

      Not really sure what the big deal is about in relation to her activism. I'm no fan of Vision at all, but don't understand exactly why she quit.

      Stock Visiom Candidate

      Jul 17, 2014 at 7:14pm

      She has so many different qualifiers with which to frame her existence within a range of disparate groups and concerns I thought this was piece was satire. I doubt she quit over anything listed here, more likely is once she was nominated she refused to sign off on the appropriate secrecy and compliance agreements. Vision have big plans following the next election and some of that involves giving developers access to current green space or parkland for towers and sky parks. I doubt a member of so many groups could be considered reliable when the time came for the land swap and her position was made untenable.


      Jul 17, 2014 at 9:37pm

      I will admit to usually being much too busy to familiarise myself with the biographies of the various candidates of the various parties. So I had never heard of this Trish Kelly person before.
      But if asked I would have told you the following: Running for Vision is like joining the mafia. No one cares what a swell person you were in high-school.
      All I needed to know about ms Kelly, I knew before this silly video sensationalism.

      Nicholas Ellan

      Jul 17, 2014 at 10:09pm

      Also, the 1662 votes is almost certainly a typo. There were less than that cast overall in the Vision nomination race. If you look up the original screen grabs of the tally on Twitter, I believe it is 1262.

      Ken Charko

      Jul 17, 2014 at 10:54pm

      I have tried to get a number of political parties up and running, please join me at Vancouver First or TEAM we could make a great couple!

      5 50Rating: -45

      What's actually embarrassing...

      Jul 17, 2014 at 11:55pm

      Trish Kelly hasn't said that she quit over embarrassment around the video, and any commentary or assumption to that end is just a projection of some people's issues around sex. She said that the video and some of her previous artistic and community dabblings are "being sensationalized—and will clearly continue to be—distracting from my efforts in the community and in the election campaign.”

      Frankly, I'd be more embarrassed to have put my name forward on a Vision slate than any educational or artistic diddling video that could ever be imagined.