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

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."

Comments (31) Add New Comment
Ken Charko
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
Rating: +50
Rick in Richmond
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.
Rating: +40
Nicholas Ellan
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.)
Rating: +20
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.
Rating: +16
Stock Visiom Candidate
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.
Rating: +4
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.
Rating: -3
Nicholas Ellan
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.
Rating: -1
Ken Charko
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!
Rating: -41
What's actually embarrassing...
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.
Rating: +20
Bobs the name
I dont think anyone on here has spent anytime googling her name. she wrote porn, allot of people would not agree with that.
Rating: -32
Someone has to contact Ken Charko and see if that's really him. Charko running with Kelly? Now that would be a story!
Rating: +14
Who cares?
Who cares if she wrote porn? (Pro tip: some of us already knew that, and more). What is this, 1957? Get a grip people, you'll be fine.
Rating: +26
Rachel Sarah
I think "quit" is a polite word for being kicked out by vision. Shame on them for not supporting her.
Rating: +4
Alan Layton
This is Vancouver, not Abbotsford or the Deep South. Why would something like this have any effect whatsoever? In fact I thought it would work in her favour. What a shame to see someone kicked out or resigning because of a non-existent controversy.
Rating: +8
Raymond Tomlin
Perhaps I can clarify matters somewhat in respect of my “involvement” in the decision that Trish Kelly took to withdraw as a Vision Vancouver Park Board candidate.

The link below constitutes only the first part of my “reply” — I will write in another post about the “political” circumstances that led me to my decision to publish what many consider to be “the offending post.”

(This is today's post on VanRamblings)

For the record, as you will read in the post linked to above (should you decide to do so), I did not mean to hurt Ms. Kelly — and would have, in all likelihood, ended up endorsing her before campaign’s end.

Finally, let me state for the public record that the NPA had absolutely NOTHING to do with my decision to publish the July 14th blog post that has caused so many people consternation. In fact, Park Board Commissioner John Coupar expressed his disdain and dismay (shooting me a dirty look), and moved away from me, when there was any hint of a discussion on the matter(the same is true of Park Board Commissioner Melissa DeGenova).

I have no idea how the NPA feels about all this foofaraw, the attendant fallout, and the very obvious hurt Ms. Kelly must be feeling. I am hardly an NPA insider, even though, as I have stated elsewhere, I think that many in the NPA comprise a pretty darn fine and humble group of people, who are committed to public service (which work for me, make of that what you will). I expect that the folks in the NPA feel pretty much the same as most folks (but, thank goodness, not all) seem to feel — you know, “That dastardly Ray Tomlin, he ain’t a very nice fella.”
Rating: -5
bobs the name
who cares? maybe you would like to buy trish kelly's book. you can on amazon its called with a rough tongue, femmes write porn.
Rating: +2
Dave Pasin
This whole affair is a sad commentary on open discussions regarding sex and sexual activity and what patheticly is increasing passing for real political discourse in this city.

I read the original post and cringed at the implications.

While no supporter of Vision Vancouver, I find it extremely sad that an individual who put their name forward for pubic office has removed themselves for expressing an opinion and having a sense of humour regarding a subject.

It just goes to show what a parochial city we actually live in when nattering nabobs of negativity from all sides and petty small mindedness prevails over real issues such as transit, zoning, communities and community planning, Park Board, conflicts of interest (real or perceived), etc etc etc.

Really? Is this what we have come to?
Discussing the personal and sex lives of our opponents as opposed to real issues that effect our everyday lives?

While it may be titillating and great gossip for the local watering hole it does nothing to further debate on real issues that effect our lives every single day!

Smearing individuals over such matters is testament to the sad commentary on the small mindedness and petty discussion on which politics on all levels has descended.

Is it any wonder the vast majority increasingly pass on voting. Why bother, when idiots increasingly run the sandbox.

Rating: +5
Sad to see her go, she would have made an excellent Parks Board candidate.
Rating: -2
Mature Result
I'm sorry but I agree with Trish Kelly's decision to leave her political position. There are many people who don't care if she wrote porn, or not. But Kelly hit the nail on the head... It would be distraction from [her] efforts in the community and in the election campaign"

I see Kelly doing a lot more for the city by continuing on her path and bringing out the best in Vancity.
Rating: -3
Charlie Smith
Scroll down and see what the news release said. It's cut and pasted from the email that arrived in my in-box on June 23 at 11:33 a.m. Yoy're correct. The vote tally for Kelly appears to exceed the number of votes cast. I've adjusted the post to reflect this.

Charlie Smith

Hello Charlie --
The results are in! After an exciting nomination period – and over 1650 votes from Vision Vancouver members - we are pleased to share the final results with you:
Park Board
Trish Kelly - 1662 - nominated
Naveen Girn - 1125 - nominated
Sammi Jo Rumbaua - 1029 - nominated
Corree Tull - 894 - nominated
Graham Anderson - 567
Catherine Evans - 526
Brent Granby - 505
Katherine Day - 428
Mark Mitchell - 324
School Board
Joy Alexander - 1163 - nominated
Ian Ross McDonald - 428
We hope you will join us in extending huge congratulations to the newest members of the Vision team! They bring experience, energy, and diversity to Vancouver politics, and engaged thousands of Vancouver residents in their nomination race.
That's in contrast to an out-of-touch NPA, who held a secret meeting to hand-pick their mayoral candidate three weeks ago (and still haven't made it public).
We would also like to extend a sincere thanks to all of the talented candidates who took part in the nomination race, and put their names and hearts out there be part of our vision to keep Vancouver moving forward.
With our complete team of candidates for City Council, Parks Board, and School Board now in place, we can get ready for the real challenge – the November election.
We know that the NPA will be well-funded, well-organized, and campaigning hard to undo the work we've accomplished together, whether it's becoming the greenest city in the world, expanding access to our community centres, or making our public schools safe and inclusive for all students.
We can't risk the NPA taking our city backwards. With Trish, Naveen, Sammi Jo, Corree and Joy joining the Vision team, we can keep moving Vancouver forward.
Maria Dobrinskaya and Paul Nixey
Vision Vancouver

Vision Vancouver

Vision Vancouver • Canada
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Rating: +4


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