The independent candidacy of Jean Swanson has received a big boost with an endorsement from a Vancouver political icon.
Libby Davies, the long-term NDP MP for Vancouver East, called on progressives to unite behind Swanson, who's devoted much of her adult life to fighting poverty.
Swanson has been associated with many organizations over the years, including the Carnegie Community Action Team, Raise the Rates, the National Anti-Poverty Organization, End Legislated Poverty, the Downtown Eastside Residents' Association, and B.C. Solidarity Coalition.
Swanson has also been endorsed by the Coalition of Progressive Electors. Voters will go to the polls on October 14 to fill the council seat vacated by Geoff Meggs, who is now chief of staff to Premier John Horgan.
Here's what Davies wrote about Swanson and her candidacy:
I've decided to support Jean Swanson, my long time friend and colleague for over 40 years, in her bid to be elected to Vancouver City Council in the by-election being held October 14. I'm supporting Jean because her voice is needed in our city and on City Council. She has integrity, authenticity, courage, and an enormous determination to always speak out for what is needed. She is selfless, strong and full of care and love for people. She never shies away from standing up for people's rights, whether it be for housing, decent incomes, or political voice. She has decades of experience in the community but most importantly she is someone who can play a significant role in the democratic governance of our city. She will make sure people are heard and not left behind.
It wasn't an easy decision for me to come to—not because of Jean, she always has my support, but because of the uneasy state of progressive politics in Vancouver. It worries me, and I think many others, that still, after many years, there is a lack of unity overall. It leaves a rift that can be easily exploited by the NPA as they seek to defeat progressive governance in Vancouver. I'm not calling out names, there's no point, and that's not the point. I know people in other civic organizations that I greatly respect and work with. My support for Jean, is not based on opposition to other progressive candidates who are running.
What happens after the by-election, leading up to the 2018 general civic election, is something that needs our attention. The Vancouver and District Labour Council has always played an important role in progressive civic politics. I hope that with the leadership of the VDLC we can engage in a serious discussion and find a way forward for left and progressive involvement in 2018.
Parks Commissioner 1980-1982
City Councillor 1982-1993
Member of Parliament 1997-2015More