Me and my grandmother
When I was young, economic instability caused mortgage rates to spike and my dad became unemployed. My family went bankrupt and lost everything -- including our home. The experience affected me deeply and established how I view the world.
I moved to Vancouver from Nova Scotia in 1989 to find work with $100 in my pocket. Back then it was possible for me to do jobs like delivering beer, running a printing press, or playing in rock bands while still renting a decent apartment.
But that’s all in the past. People living in Vancouver now don’t have the same opportunities I had to make their lives in the city. This needs to change.
As your Mayor, I want to bring people together to tackle our affordability crisis — it's my top priority. And I am confident I can do this because I know cities.
A few years after I moved to Vancouver, I found work with the City of Vancouver and Park Board — and fell in love with how cities work. I went on to study urban politics and policy as part of my Masters right here at Simon Fraser University, moving on to complete a PhD on world cities at the London School of Economics in the U.K.
I moved back to Vancouver in 2002 to take a position at SFU’s School of Public Policy where as a tenured professor I wrote, taught, and provided advice to governments and the United Nations about cities and housing. I also fell in love and married my wife Jeanette Ashe, who chairs the Department of Political Science at Douglas College.
Me on stage at the Commodore
Me and my wife Jeanette
Me and Jack
The question that is always on my mind is: What makes a city great? Vancouver in the early 2000s held a lot of promise. A new COPE civic government had been elected on a progressive agenda that focused on people.
But it didn’t last. The Vancouver I know was disappearing, particularly when it comes to affordable housing. Homelessness was on the rise, renters were struggling, and the vision of owning a family home was spiralling out of sight.
Spurred by the changes I saw around me, I took a break from my job at the university and ran for the NDP with Jack Layton. Elected as a Member of Parliament in 2011 as part of the Orange Wave, I joined the fight against Stephen Harper in Ottawa. Two themes came to dominate my parliamentary work: stopping Kinder Morgan and pushing for affordable housing.
Which brings me to today.
Together I know we can take on our big challenges and once again make this a city for everyone.
I acknowledge that the City of Vancouver is located on the traditional, unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.