22 April 2013

If not now, then when?

The following is from the Straight:

People ask me why they should vote Green. I answer because we need change. Real change. And if we don’t vote for change now, then when?

Voting for the Green party means voting for change. Radical change for some. It means not buying into the tired old ways of the mainstream parties. It means saying no to the cynical old methods of buying your votes every four years. It means taking a leap of faith that things can be better, politics can be honourable, and change can happen.

Voting Green means voting for positive change. It means voting for a clean, bright future. It means caring what kind of world our children will inherit, and their children after them.

I joined the Green party because I wanted to be part of the change that needs to happen. As a secondary teacher I want the best future possible for my students. I want a world that is safe, clean, and sustainable. I want a world where innovation and inspiration are what the economy requires. I want a world where clean air, clean water, and healthy food are the right of every citizen.

I’m running in Vancouver-Fraserview because I live, work, shop, and play in Fraserview and want to represent my community in the legislature. I live in the East Fraserlands neighbourhood. I teach at Killarney secondary. I shop on Fraser Street, Victoria Drive, at the Killarney Market, and other local businesses. I walk along the Fraser River and at Everett Crowley Park. I want to be sure that the issues that matter most to my neighbours are articulated. I want a healthy neighbourhood. I want a neighbourhood with diversity. I want a neighbourhood for everyone. Fraserview is a dynamic multicultural neighbourhood where you know your neighbours and where people care about each other. I like that.

I want to help my neighbourhood. I want to ensure seniors have a safe and caring place to meet. I want to make sure there is a Seniors Centre built—not just promises but action. I want to make sure there are local health-care options. Seniors shouldn’t have to travel across the city to access care.

I want to help improve public transit to a neighbourhood that is car-dependant because there aren’t buses that take you where you need to go. I want to ensure that residents can stay in their neighbourhood to shop. I want to support local businesses that give back to the community.

I want to make sure there is affordable housing in my community. I want to encourage a diversity of living models which include single family, townhomes, condominiums, and rental housing. I want the great cooperative housing movement brought back.

I want the best education possible for the children in my community. I want educators to feel respected, schools to be fully funded, children to be safe, and curriculum to reflect the challenges of the present as well as the dreams of the future.

Green politics are about more than land, water, and air. Green politics are about healthy communities, healthy families, and a healthy environment.

Join with me in making real change in British Columbia. Make your vote a vote for a healthy community. If you don’t vote for change now, then when will you?

Vote for positive change. On May 14, vote Green. In Vancouver-Fraserview, vote for Stuart Mackinnon.

17 April 2013

Stuart Mackinnon running for Greens in Fraserview

Former park board commissioner Stuart Mackinnon has been named the Green Party candidate for Vancouver-Fraserview to run in the May 14 provincial election.

I wasn’t surprised by the news because even though Mackinnon had officially left politics, I heard from him regularly about community issues, particularly those affecting the Fraserview/Killarney area. Mackinnon was unsuccessfully in a bid to get re-elected to the park board in the 2011 municipal election.

Mackinnon will go up against former city councillor Suzanne Anton, who is taking another kick at the can after losing her bid to become the B.C. Liberal candidate for Vancouver-Quilchena.

Mackinnon lost no time in criticizing the party’s choice of candidate for the riding. “I have to admit I was surprised the premier would approve someone from Kerrisdale to run in Vancouver-Fraserview.”
Kash Heed, the Liberal incumbent for the riding, is not running for re-election. The Liberals have won the riding in the last three municipal elections by narrow margins. The NDP candidate for the riding is Gabriel Yiu.

Mackinnon, a teacher at Killarney secondary, said he decided to run at the prompting of neighbours who told him they are unhappy with what they perceive as neglect from the city and park board.

Mackinnon told me if elected, his goals include pushing for a long-awaited seniors centre, an item of concern in several past municipal elections. As a resident of the community, Mackinnon says he knows first-hand just how badly underserved the community is when it comes to transit and that’s something he intends to work on. Mackinnon notes housing prices are also pushing residents out of the community so he wants more co-op developments built. The Champlain Heights neighbourhood of Fraserview is the city’s poster child for how to make co-op housing work and Mackinnon says he wants to expand on that success.

$$ for seniors centre
Speaking of that elusive seniors centre, April 15, the day before the provincial election officially launched, the B.C. Liberals issued a press release committing $1.3 million towards a new facility. Killarney resident Lorna Gibbs, who has been leading the charge for a seniors centre, told me she’s pleased the news came in the day before the writ was dropped. What it means for the future, she adds, is yet to be determined.


15 April 2013

Why I Do What I Do

For those of you who don't know it, I am a secondary special education teacher. I have a program for grade 8 and 9 students with severe learning disabilities. I teach them their academic subjects and hopefully prepare them for reintegration to the regular stream for grade 10.

Working with the kinds of kids I do, success is measured in inches not miles. Sometimes the improvement is hard to see. This is part of a note I received from a parent after I e-mailed that their child had done exceptionally well on a test. The student is one of those who I thought would probably not graduate when she started. Now she is honour roll. She has climbed mountains in the year and half that she has been in the programme.

"Hello Mr. Mackinnon

We are very proud of her achievements too. She has come a long way. Just to share with you, after the quiz, she was a little nervous that she did not do well.  Yesterday, when I asked her, she put on a sad face and pretended that she failed. She’s getting good at it too, we may need to enrol her in drama class!

On behalf of my husband, we want to say thank you very much for your encouragement and assistance throughout the  2 years. You have also given her confidence and opened her up.  She started as a shy little girl sitting way at the back hiding behind the books."

I really don’t take credit for the success. I am only the pathfinder. She has not only climbed mountains, she has moved mountains. She deserves all the credit for putting in the time and effort.

Most of the students I get feel worthless in the beginning. Their educational experience has not been a positive one. My goal is to give them first the confidence to be successful and then the tools to learn. From there I really think they learn in spite of me.

This is the most rewarding job I've ever done. I know I learn as much, or more, from them as I will ever give back. The biggest lesson I have learned is that no child is disposable. Every child is worthy of our best efforts. Every child deserves an education. Every child must be given the opportunity to achieve to their utmost potential.

12 April 2013

Stuart Mackinnon is the Green Party of BC candidate for Vancouver Fraserview

For Immediate Release
12 April 2013 Vancouver - The Green Party of BC is pleased to announce that Stuart Mackinnon will represent the party in Vancouver Fraserview in the May 14, 2013 provincial election. 
Stuart is a former Vancouver Park Board Commissioner who represented the Green Party from 2008 to 2011. He focused on parks and public space issues and fought against fee raises for children and the closing of the Bloedel Conservatory.
“Fraserview deserves better” comments Stuart Mackinnon. “I want to give the people of Fraserview a choice in this election. I want to fight for a better tomorrow for Fraserview and all the people of British Columbia by offering them a clean, bright future based on sustainability and green ideals.”
Stuart lives in the Fraserlands neighbourhood and teaches at Killarney Secondary school. He is also a Governor of the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association and a board member of Axis Threatre.
“The Green Party represents a change from the old style politics and brings a sense of hope for a brighter, more honest political system” continued Mackinnon. “Fraserview needs an MLA who lives, works, and plays in this neighbourhood, not someone who just represents it. Fraserview deserves better. British Columbia deserves better.”
Stuart joins a team of passionate people who want to represent the citizens of their constituency in the BC Legislative Assembly,” comments Jane Sterk, leader of the Green Party of BC. “These are new times. Our candidates have new ideas.”
“A vote for Stuart Mackinnon is a vote for real change,” concludes Sterk.
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Media contact: Stuart Mackinnon: 778-389-1956 or stuart.mackinnon@greenparty.bc.ca