Jenny Kwan is still the NDP MLA in Vancouver–Mount Pleasant, but today New Democrats elected the candidate that they want to replace her.
Melanie Mark, a former president of the Urban Native Youth Association, was chosen over Diana Day, a member of the Oneida Nation's Wolf Clan.
Kwan has been nominated as the NDP candidate in the federal riding of Vancouver East. When she resigns her job as an MLA, a provincial by-election will be held.
Mark is of Nisga'a, Gitxsan, Cree, and Ojibway heritage and she has worked at the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth for eight years. In 2013, she became the associate deputy representative dealing with advocacy, aboriginal, and community relations.
She lives in Burnaby, but much of her community work has taken place in Vancouver, where she was raised.
A decade ago, Mark played a pivotal role in bringing about changes in how Vancouver police interact with indigenous people. It came after she and other First Nations youth repeatedly appeared at Vancouver police board hearings to lobby for a more respectful relationship.
At UNYA, she and others tried to create $46-million Native youth centre in East Vancouver. However, the proposed 50,000-square-foot project near the corner of East Hastings Street and Commercial Drive has never obtained financial support from the provincial and federal governments.
Mark's backers include former NDP MLA David Chudnovsky, former UNYA executive director Lynda Gray, retired police officer Dave Dickson, and long-time NDP activist Nathan Allen.
Day, a former COPE school-board candidate, was supported by former Vision park commissioner Sarah Blyth, Delta school trustee Rhiannon Bennett, and former COPE First Nations candidates Audrey Siegl and Cease Wyss.
Voting took place today at the Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall at 487 Alexander Street.