B.C. NDP members nominate Melanie Mark as their next candidate in Vancouver–Mount Pleasant

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      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.

      Melanie Mark (far left) stood with Preston Guno, then inspector John de Haas, UNYA's Dena Klashinsky, and then police officer Dave Dixon after the VPD made changes in how it polices urban aboriginal people.
      Charlie Smith

      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.



      Gerry Busch

      Jun 14, 2015 at 8:21pm

      Melanie Mark has made history she is the 1st FN woman MLA in BC. She is paving the way for many more. I know she will be fighting for justice for everyone


      Jun 15, 2015 at 10:00am

      It is time for Jenny Kwan - who got a 2 million dollar house, to give some room for other MLA, they need home to live too:-)

      Stephen Blumstein

      Aug 31, 2015 at 10:26pm

      Gerry Busch : Melanie Mark is not the "1st FN woman MLA in BC ". She simply won the nomination to run for the provincial NDP in the Mount Pleasant riding. Jenny Kwan is still the MLA for Mount Pleasant even though she is presently conducting her federal campaign for the Vancouver East riding. Don't get confused.