28 July 2014

Come celebrate diversity and equality at the 36th Annual Pride Parade

This coming Sunday will mark the 36th annual Pride Parade in Vancouver (August 3 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm). Vancouver Pride describes the event as "attracting crowds of more than 650,000, the Pride Parade is renowned on the international stage as one of the largest and most successful LGBTQ events in the world."

This is one of the premier events of summer in Vancouver and has become a huge family event. Whether you are a member of the LGBTQ community or not, there is lots to do and see at Pride Vancouver. I have been honoured with a place in the parade in 4 different years, marching with the Green Party, the Park Board, the Vancouver Public Library and the Vancouver School Board.

Although the event celebrates LGBTQ pride, every citizen of Vancouver can 'take pride' in the tremendous leaps we as a society have made in respecting diversity and difference. We live in not only a multicultural society, but one that celebrates the various diverse communities within our own larger community. We celebrate the differences, knowing that really we are all the same. We are Vancouverites, British Columbians, Canadians, but mostly we are people who share this beautiful planet that we have inherited from our parents and bequeath to our children.

The Pride movement celebrates both our differences and our sameness, which is why I think it has become such an important event in our city. I'll be at Pride to celebrate. I hope you will be too. It is a fun way to declare your support for diversity and equality.

20 July 2014

July? Must be the silly season in Vancouver politics

Being an election year, this summer is a lot more political than usual. In non-election years the local press often has difficulty finding stories of interest on the civic scene. Not this year. Not a day goes by that there isn't some sort of story to shake things up.

What seems lost in most of these stories is what I think is most important to voters: Vancouver. Not infidelity, not youthful exuberance, not the internal machinations of giant political machines. Vancouver. The city and its problems. Its future. Its plans.

I hope we can all get back to what is important soon. For me and for this blog that would be parks and recreation. I hope that in this year's election we can have a real debate about what the Park Board actually does. The Park Board website describes it this way:

"exclusive possession, jurisdiction, and control over more than 230 public parks in Vancouver and a large public recreation system of community centres, pools, rinks, fitness centres, golf courses, street trees, marinas, playing fields, and more" 

I hope in this election this is what we will discuss.

We need to talk about the state of our parks and playing fields. We need to discuss governance and volunteerism at our Community Centres. We need to debate fees and access. We need to talk about future growth and current maintenance. We need the electorate to understand the importance of these public assets. We need candidates that are concerned about the things the Park Board actually does.

So here's a challenge: From now until the election on November 15th, let's talk about Parks and Recreation.