By Diego Cardona
Iâ€™ve decided to put forward my name again for city council because itâ€™s time to shake up Vancouverâ€™s political scene. We have a major opportunity to make real progress this fall without moving backwards or allowing the forces that represent the old Vancouver from taking over city hall.
With incumbents from all major political parties retiring, thereâ€™s space for fresh voices.
We have a rare chance to elect a city council that represents the new Vancouver: renters, young professionals, working families, and marginalized communities that have been historically left out and left behind. We represent the majority of people in our cityâ€”and we deserve a say at city hall.
At the same time, I am worried about what may happen if we donâ€™t step up to the challenge and advocate for the city we dream about and wish to continue building together. I am worried about the momentum weâ€™re seeing in conservative and reactionary forces in our city, as they rally and consolidate around the NPA or other political spaces and its allies once again.
This is a momentum fuelled by a discourse of fear that echoes the rhetoric of U.S. president Donald Trump, the xenophobic legacy of the Stephen Harper era, and the insider agenda of Christy Clarkâ€™s former B.C. Liberal government.
Unfortunately for them, our amazing city is brimming with smart, savvy community activists who are working hard to organize grassroots democracy campaigns that are changing lives.
I take inspiration from communities of colour striving for justice, reimagining community-police relations, and aiming for reconciliation.
I am encouraged by the work of our tech professionals and social change makers creating innovative and progressive solutions that make sure more local and medium-size businesses can thrive while joining the clean-money movement and giving back to community.
I am also inspired by the organizing and envisioning of so many Indigenous elders and youth who are courageously standing up to decolonize our society and lead an effort against Kinder Morgan and for environmental justice.
And I am, without doubt, motivated by many of my peers who are organizing for political change here in B.C. Our city is on the frontlines of global movements for social, environmental, and racial justice, and I couldnâ€™t be more proud, or more inspired, to be part of this community.
My campaign is channelling this activism to bring new energy, ideas, and enthusiasm to city hall.
Iâ€™ve been involved with Vision Vancouver for quite some time now, and I am proud of many of the accomplishments our party has made over the past 10 years. I want to build on and strengthen our resolve to be a city of reconciliation, to become the greenest city in the world, increase public art spaces and plazas, implement our new and bold housing strategy, and see through our commitment of 1,000 new child-care spaces.
I also acknowledge that Vision has made some mistakes over the past decade, and I am sure others would have more to say and would probably use stronger language than me on this subject. There is so much work that we need to do as a party, inside and out, to regain the trust of Vancouverites whose aspirations and expectations we have not fulfilled, and I welcome the opportunity to do so.
Many people in our city our rightfully angry, frustrated, and, like me, anxious about whether or not they can afford to stay in Vancouver, raise a family, and take care of our parents and grandparents as they age. Itâ€™s time for a fresh perspective and a fresh approach, and I am ready to get to work.
To Vision members and all my supporters: I want you to know that I will not be timid when it comes to putting forward bold and aggressive solutions to tackle the roots of our housing and affordability crisis. I am committed to pushing for a city council thatâ€™s not afraid of standing with; renters being unfairly evicted, single parents who canâ€™t afford childcare, grandparents coping with isolation, young people looking for decent-paying jobs, communities of colour fighting institutionalized racism, and anyone who has been pushed to the margins of our society.
The Vision Vancouver I will represent is fresh, diverse, young, energetic, and unapologetic about doing whatâ€™s right, even if it makes some of the more privileged people in our city uncomfortable. It is in this discomfort that we will grow and mature as a city.
I am not asking you to send me to city hall because I believe I can achieve this alone. I am inviting you to come with me on my journey to Vancouver city council because together we can break through any barriers theyâ€™ll try to put in our way. Letâ€™s shake up Vancouver politics togetherâ€”starting today.
I am ready to start a new chapter in our cityâ€™s future. I hope you are too.