Federal NDP nominates Jenny Kwan to run for a third time in Vancouver East

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      One indication of a looming election is when parties start choosing their standard-bearers for the next campaign.

      Today to nobody's surprise, the NDP has renominated Jenny Kwan in Vancouver East, which is one of its safer seats.

      Kwan, a former Vancouver city councillor and provincial cabinet minister, won resounding victories in this riding in the 2015 and 2019 federal elections.

      “It’s a privilege to represent the people of Vancouver East and to make their voices heard in Ottawa," Kwan said in a news release. "I am always humbled by the trust and confidence they have placed in me to be their representative.”

      Last September, Kwan created an uproar after discovering that only 0.5 percent of $1.46 billion in the National Housing Co-Investment Fund went to affordable-housing projects in B.C.

      Her riding has been the site of several tent cities in recent years, including in Oppenheimer and Strathcona parks.

      “We still have a lot of work to do and New Democrats will continue to fight for affordable housing, universal pharmacare, and dental care for Canadians across the country,” Kwan pledged.

      She's her party's critic for housing as well as immigration, refugees, and citizenship. She's also deputy health critic.

      Earlier this year, Kwan used her imagination to amplify the voices of constituents who were ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if they made a little bit of money on the side.

      She encouraged them to make videos explaining their plight because it wasn't a realistic option to hold a news conference at the height of the pandemic.

      These videos generated political momentum that pushed the Liberal government to change the rules to allow up to $1,000 in additional monthly income.

      Personal trainer Marisa Mae talked about the impact of COVID-19 in one of the videos that Jenny Kwan encouraged.

      “The credit really goes to the people who were willing to go the extra mile: to have the courage to speak up and speak out,” Kwan told the Straight at the time. “It’s not an easy thing for a lot of people to undertake.”

      Kwan was the first Canadian of Chinese ancestry to be appointed to the B.C. cabinet in her first term in the legislature. Her portfolios were municipal affairs, women's equality, and community development, cooperatives, and volunteers.

      As a B.C. cabinet minister, she worked closely with Liberal MP Hedy Fry and then mayor Philip Owen to help bring about the Vancouver Agreement to promote health and safety measures in the Downtown Eastside.

      It received a United Nations Public Service Award in 2005.

      Only twice in Kwan's lifetime has the NDP lost Vancouver East to the Liberals. In 1975, lawyer Art Lee won the seat in a Pierre Trudeau landslide. And in 1993, Anna Terrana was elected for the Liberals in a Jean Chrétien landslide.

      It's been held in the past by high-profile New Democrats Libby Davies, Margaret Mitchell, Harold Winch, and Angus MacInnis.