08 September 2014

Green Party of Vancouver members affirm candidates for Park Board and School Board

At a special general meeting this morning, Green Party of Vancouver members voted to officially endorse as candidates for Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation and Vancouver School Board the nominees approved by the party’s Candidate Screening Committee in August. Stuart Mackinnon and Michael Wiebe are the Green candidates for Park Board;  Mischa Oak and Janet Fraser are running under the Green Party banner for School Board.

The four Park Board and School Board candidates join the Green Party of Vancouver Council candidates endorsed by its members in May: current Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr and running mates Pete Fry and Cleta Brown.

"I’m thrilled to have our whole team in place – and what a fabulous team”, says Green Party of Vancouver lead Adriane Carr. “By electing three Greens to Council, two Greens to Park Board and two Greens to School Board, Vancouverites will get not only incredibly hard-working representatives who will put public interest first, but also strong teams that will bring sorely needed balance and a collaborative approach to each governing body.”

Green Party of Vancouver Chair Jacquie Miller says that it is the party’s goal to elect all seven of its candidates on November 15th – an objective that the most recent polling suggests is within reach. It shows the Green Party of Vancouver running in a dead heat with Vision Vancouver and the NPA.

More about the latest additions to the Green Party of Vancouver 2014 campaign team:

 Stuart Mackinnon (Park Board):
                Green Party of Vancouver Park Board Commissioner: 2008-11
                Vice President, VanDusen Botanical Garden Association
                Teacher, 24 years; with Vancouver School District since 2001
When he served as Green Park Board Commissioner from 2008-2011, Mackinnon earned a reputation as the most knowledgeable, well-prepared Park Commissioner – he attended Park Board meetings and paid close attention to Park Board issues for years before being elected. Mackinnon has been a strong, consistent advocate for maintaining Vancouver’s parks and green spaces in pristine condition. Mackinnon will campaign for the same this fall.

"I want to return Vancouver to the beautiful city with well-maintained parks and gardens it once was. A city where everyone can play in their own neighbourhood, and where common sense and community values are what drive decision making,” says Mackinnon. "Park maintenance must be a priority. That is what we pay our taxes for."

Regarding last year’s controversy over Vision’s removal of community centre associations’ financial autonomy, Mackinnon says "Community centre associations are the heart of our neighbourhoods. They should be partners not adversaries."

• Michael Wiebe (Park Board):
                Owner, eight ½ restaurant lounge — based on sustainable values
                Vice President, Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Association
                Co-founder, Vancouver Lifeguard Association
Wiebe has had a love affair with Vancouver’s parks and recreational facilities since childhood when he mapped out the wheelchair accessibility of Stanley Park’s entire trail system at age 12. He went on to become a lifeguard for Vancouver Park Board at age 16. In 2003, Wiebe co-founded the Vancouver Lifeguard Association; he continues his love for parks, using them for ultimate frisbee, bocce, soccer, and more.

“I’m excited to officially join the amazing group of seven Green candidates,” says Wiebe. “This is the logical step in my advocacy career as it gives me the chance to strengthen my voice – one that is focussed on bringing my business background to the strategic decision making that’s now needed at the Vancouver Park Board. Our city is in a state of growth, which leads to great opportunities to work together to build a healthier place to live.”

Learn more about Michael Wiebe: becascadian.com

• Mischa Oak (School Board)
                Teacher-on-call, Vancouver School District
                Vancouver Centre NDP Electoral District Association President, 2012-13
                Vancouver Pride Society: former Board Member & Volunteer Coordinator
Oak is strongly motivated by his own experiences in Vancouver schools both as a teacher-on-call who has worked in almost every school in the city, and as a student growing up in Vancouver schools. Prior to embarking on a career in education, Oak obtained a degree in Commerce from Queen’s University. He has been active in a wide range of community and political organisations.

Oak is running to be a strong advocate for Vancouver’s public schools and its students. “We live in one of the most liveable cities in the world, but our schools don't reflect that, they are getting worse", says Oak who has been a Vancouver teacher for 6 years and has taught in all 18 Vancouver high schools and 65 of our 75 elementary schools.

"I will protect programs that support our most vulnerable students and work to create programs that give kids skills for the future.  For a vibrant Vancouver tomorrow, we need vibrant schools today."
Learn more about Mischa Oak: www.voteoak.com

• Janet Fraser (School Board)
                PAC Chair / Co-Chair for 10 years
                Co-founder: Marpole Matters, a neighbourhood organization
                PhD chemist: 10 years’ experience in Vancouver’s biotech industry
 As an active parent of three school-aged children and engaged resident of her Marpole community, Fraser knows the issues facing Vancouver’s schools inside and out. As co-founder of the neighbourhood organisation Marpole Matters, she has a reputation for thoroughly informing herself on community issues and educating her neighbours about matters affecting them.

 “I have three children in Vancouver's public schools, and have spent 10 years in PAC leadership.  I listen to parents and will use their experiences to improve schools for all of Vancouver's children,” says Fraser. “Schools are the hearts of communities.  I will work to ensure students, staff, parents, and the local community work together so that every child can achieve success.”

Learn more about Janet Fraser: www.vangreens.ca/schoolnominees
Motion calling for fully funded schools and binding arbitration
Additionally at the same meeting, Green Party of Vancouver School Board candidates Mischa Oak and Janet Fraser introduced a motion for the Green Party of Vancouver to declare its support for fully funded schools, and calling on the provincial government to agree to binding arbitration in its current dispute with the BC Teachers' Federation. The motion received unanimous support from Green Party of Vancouver members.

Its full slate of candidates now in place, the Green Party of Vancouver will officially ring in its 2014 civic election campaign with a fundraising event on September 28 at Performance Works Theatre.
Full platforms for Council, Park Board and School Board will be unveiled throughout the month of September.

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