27 October 2008

Vancouver Parks Board candidate Stuart Mackinnon blends multiculturalism with Green Party environmental issues.

from: www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com
by Todd on Sat 25 Oct 2008 11:58 AM PDT

This week I have had the pleasure to attend dinner events with Stuart Mackinnon, Vancouver parks board candidate for the Green Party. On Thursday, we attended the Oct 23rd Vision Vancouver dinner at Floata Restaurant. On Friday, we attended the Oct 24th Chinese Canadian Military Museum 10th Anniversary dinner, where we also volunteered to help sell raffle tickets. On Tuesday, I spoke on Stuart's behalf at the Vancouver & District Labour Council.

The following is an amendment to what I said about why I believe Stuart will be a great Vancouver Parks Board Commissioner, with pictures from the Vision Vancouver Floata dinner.

Stuart Mackinnon (in kilt) with his good friend Andrea Reimer - who is running for Vancouver city council. - photo Todd Wong

Stuart Mackinnon is active. He speaks out on issues. He attends Parks board meetings. He has been a thorn in the NPA side, to make sure they follow proper democratic process.

The first time I met Stuart, it was through his blog Better Parks. He was writing about naming the proposed "Selkirk Park" at 72nd St. Whether it became Obasan Park or David Suzuki Park, Stuart wanted and helped to make it more of a democratic process. Stuart has fought against the privatizing of parks, such as against the imposition of high priced restaurants at Kitsilano Beach and English Bay.

Stuart is a teacher at Killarney Secondary School. He teaches special needs. He was vice-president of his Vancouver Teachers Federation Local 392.1, of the BCTF. Stuart is amazing. Last year he took a group of teachers to China, where he delivered a key note talk about Norman Bethune as an organizer for the "Follow Dr. Norman Bethune to China Committee."

Stuart Mackinnon with COPE school board candidate Bill Bargeman. Stuart was vice-president with Bill's presidency for Vancouver Teachers' Federation local 39.2 BCTF - photo Todd Wong

Stuart is passionate about what he believes in. He joined our dragon boat team last year, loved the intercultural process and the fitness opportunities it presented - then almost immediately asked how to create a junior dragon boat team for Killarney high school students, then guided them to a silver medal in their first year of competition. That's Stuart - a man of action, while thinking how to be a team builder, and ensure that every person is included and feels empowered.

And along the way, he realized more the importance of Vancouver's False Creek's waterways and parks as important to our recreational activities. And he saw first hand the pollution that threatened this important recreational jewel, when unacceptable "accidents dumped raw sewage into False Creek". Stuart Mackinnon thinks big picture. Stuart Mackinnon thinks long range. Stuart Mackinnon thinks community and environment first.

Stuart is Scottish - of Scottish descent. I am of Chinese descent. Vancouver has a large Chinese population. Vancouver has a large multicultural population. He participates actively on our Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team. He understands multiculturalism. This is what we need for our city and for our community centres. Stuart is president of the Canada China Education Association

Stuart Mackinnon with Charlie Wu of the Taiwanese Cultural Festival (Stuart LOVES the Taiwanese dragon boats), and City Councilor Raymond Louie and son - photo Todd Wong

It's important to have a Green candidate on the slate. It's important to have a diversity of ideas - and especially to represent our environment. Our environment isn't just about trees and grass, it is also about our culture and our history. I believe that Stuart Mackinnon will be honorable in supporting these values. Stuart genuinely cares about our environment and is a past president of SPEC (the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation) and past chair for Vancouver Green Party.

During the Vancouve civic strike, Stuart supported CUPE 15, 1004 and 391 and our issues. He knows the importance that hard working and loyal city workers can make. He knows that we put our hearts and souls into the pride of our jobs. Stuart Mackinnon will listen. He will be inclusive, He will be supportive of city workers, but more important, he will be empowering. I believe in Stuart. He will be honourable.

Check out Stuart Mackinnon's website: www.betterparks.ca

Candidates in market for local food

JEFF HODSON/ Metro Vancouver
27 October 2008 05:05

Farmers’ markets need a permanent place in Vancouver, said members of three civic political parties at the season’s final market held in Kitsilano yesterday.

Vision Vancouver mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson, a former organic farmer, said the markets need longer-term permits and signage.

“There’s no doubt that they bring incredible economic value and community strength for Vancouver,” said Robertson, flanked by COPE council candidate Ellen Woodsworth and Greens Stuart MacKinnon (park board) and Ben West (electoral district A).

“They’ve grown enormously over these past few years. I think everyone in this city wants to see a stronger and more secure place for farmers’ markets.”

Woodsworth said the markets exemplify the idea of growing locally and said the city needs a building so that they can be held year round.

19 October 2008


Meet Stuart and some of the other Park Board candidates as they discuss the issues

October 30 @ 7 pm: West Point Grey Community Centre located at 2nd Avenue and Trimble Street

November 2 @ 2 pm: Roundhouse Community Centre located in Yaletown at 181 Roundhouse Mews near Pacific and Drake

November 3 @ 7 pm: Killarney Community Centre located at Killarney st off of 49th av

November 4 @ 7 pm Kerrisdale Community Centre located at the corner of West Boulevard and 42nd

12 October 2008

Campaign for Better Parks under way!

You can visit my new website betterparks.ca now for information about my campaign for Parks Commissioner in Vancouver. If you would like a sign or want to donate you can do so at the betterparks site. Our campaign headquarters official opening will be announced shortly. More coming up!

01 October 2008

Green candidate gets the nod from Vision, COPE

Sandra Thomas, Vancouver Courier
Published: Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Parks board candidate Stuart Mackinnon says the Vancouver Green Party made a deal with COPE and Vision Vancouver for the civic election because of its enthusiasm for Vision's mayoral candidate.

"From our end we endorsed the agreement because we believe the greenest mayor Vancouver will ever have will be Gregor Robertson," said Mackinnon.

Last week the local Green Party announced it had reached an agreement to work cooperatively with Vision and COPE and to endorse Gregor Robertson for mayor. The deal is not being called a joint campaign or a coalition, but the parties agreed not to have any overlap in candidates nominated to run for council, school board and parks board.

Vision is running three candidates for parks board and COPE is running two, including incumbent Loretta Woodcock and former parks board commissioner Anita Romaniuk, who were nominated Sunday at the COPE membership meeting. One space was left for Mackinnon to run for parks board and a second allows Ben West to run as a Green candidate for Electoral Area A, which includes the UBC Endowment Lands.

Mackinnon, a teacher at Killarney secondary school, said the deal will also allow the Green Party to meet with elected officials twice a year to discuss council and school board issues.

"They left one space for the park board because parks and the Green Party go hand in hand," said Mackinnon. "It was a natural choice."

Mackinnon said the agreement acknowledges the Vancouver Green Party as a player in municipal politics. He added the Green Party has a local core base of 27,000 supporters.

"Realistically that number is much smaller than what COPE and Vision have," he said. "So we decided, why split the vote?"

Mackinnon said when he ran for a seat on parks board in the last civic election he increased the party's vote by 10,000. In the 2005 municipal election Mackinnon was 6,000 votes short of election to the parks board.

Mackinnon said recent parks board decisions show a trend toward creating destination attractions, when the focus should be on community amenities. He cited the closure of the outdoor pool at Sunset Community Centre, as well as the looming closure of the Mount Pleasant outdoor pool, as examples. The parks board is building a new aquatic centre at Riley Park designed to serve several communities, including Sunset and Mount Pleasant.

"Neighbourhoods are the core of the city," said Mackinnon. "It's one thing to let your kids walk down the block to their neighbourhood pool and another to put them on a bus."

Mackinnon has also been active in the effort to re-green Hastings Park. He added despite the fact a casino was built on the property--against the wishes of numerous neighbours and community groups, much more can be done to create additional green space there.

"I had a wonderful youth in Vancouver," said Mackinnon. "It was almost magical with trips to the beach and outdoor pools and to the park. I want to give that to the children of today."

Political analyst Kennedy Stewart said the Greens "wouldn't have a prayer" without the endorsement of Robertson.

"But now at least they have a shot, or at least a much better chance," said Stewart, a political scientist at SFU.

He said COPE is in the same position after agreeing to run fewer people and not run a mayoral candidate. Stewart said the deal means COPE might end up with two members on council instead of a single councillor, David Cadman.

"It's kind of like one step backwards and two steps forward," he said. "But it's the best they could have hoped for."

© Vancouver Courier 2008