Vancouver, June 17, 2022 -Four years ago in 2018, 71 individuals ran for the Vancouver City Council. Only ten were elected and one of them was Colleen Hardwick, who ran as a member of the Non-Partisan Association (NPA). This NPA event took place at the Vancouver Alpen Club and shows other successful candidates like Lisa Dominato, Rebecca Bligh, Trish Barker and Melissa De Genova.
Then in April, 2021, Hardwick quit the NPA to sit as an independent and in October 2021 , she joined TEAM (The Electors Action Movement) for a Livable Vancouver, where she is now the mayoral candidate. TEAM for a Livable Vancouver is all about thoughtful, well-developed policies that place our neighbourhoods – residents, businesses, and organizations – at the centre of civic decision-making
I first met Colleen back in 2011, when I briefly worked for the Recycling Council of British Columbia (RCBC) and we met while working on a social media campaign. Soon after that, I received an e-mail about Placespeak ” A location-based consultation platform launched in 2011 to solve the problem of how to consult with people online within specific geographical boundaries.” I became a member then and am still connected to Placespeak today. Colleen and I also have a mutual friend, Mass Abedi, who is a German-speaking television producer and is now sitting on the Board of TEAM.
In 2018, I decided to run for office as one of 26 independent candidates, even though I would be the first one in the family to every try my hand at politics, but (un)fortunately (LOL), I came in second-last and wasn’t elected. Throughout the campaign period, I met Colleen at various events and realized that she knew her stuff. Her background and experience in politics was ahead of everyone else, and she was a candidate that I felt comfortable voting for.
Fast forward to 2021 when candidates began dusting off their resumes and preparing for the next municipal election being held in Vancouver on October 15, 2022, and when parties started cropping up like mushrooms. Now there are at least ten civic parties running for election: the Green Party, COPE, One-City, Vision & Vote Socialist with no mayoral candidates, Forward Together with incumbent Mayor Kennedy Stewart, the NPA with mayoral candidate John Coupar, Progress Vancouver with political strategist Mark Marissen, ABC Vancouver with Ken Sim as mayoral candidate. OF course, there is also TEAM for a Liveable Vancouver with Councillor Colleen Hardwick as mayoral candidate.
Some time last October, I received an e-mail from Colleen inviting me to join TEAM for a Liveable Vancouver and I immediately accepted. As a member of the German Canadian Business Association, I thought of Councillor Hardwick when we were trying to find a guest speaker, and she came to speak at the Sylvia Hotel on the topic of: Revisiting the City’s Business and Financial Model” on Monday, June 6th, 2022 at 6 pm. The information Hardwick shared was eye-opening and revealing. Learning that we need to “fix the existing budget process that treats residents like the city’s ATM” or the importance of “revamping rezoning practices that inflate property prices” and “how to make the city business transparent” were riveting.
Finally, I attended the council candidates nomination meeting held Saturday, June 11, at the Fairview Baptist Church hall and got to meet the six candidates that will be running for Vancouver City Council under the banner of TEAM.
A first-generation Vancouverite, Cleta Brown benefitted from an excellent public education and went onto earn degrees in biology and law, culminating in a Masters of Laws from the London School of Economics. She has worked an Investigator and General Counsel for the Ombudsman of BC, as a Crown Prosecutor in the Provincial Courts and on the Review Board of BC. Her lifelong commitment to volunteering has meant service in hospitals, with children and with women and their children fleeing domestic violence. Her extensive experience on not-for-profit and charitable boards includes with MOSAIC, YWCA, the University Women’s Club,, LEAF, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and the Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir Society. Through her life, Cleta has watched Vancouver’s livability and affordability erode, prompting her 2014 run for City Council – a great learning opportunity. She is running again because while the problems and challenges have grown she feels the incredible potential of this city are still within reach if we act boldly with democratic principles, intelligence, pragmatism and understanding.
An entrepreneur at heart, a software engineer by education and a project manager by experience, Param Nijjar has a keen interest in the intersection of sustainability, technology and urban design. His experience ranges from design and development of software platforms to boutique living spaces. He launched his first business at the age of 22 and has been building a portfolio of cash-flow positive investment properties since 2012. In his spare time, Param enjoys taking on new challenges, such as learning how to sail so he can explore the coastline around BC with his family, and loves discovering educational toys and novel learning opportunities for his three-year-old son.
A Fairview resident for 20 years, Sean Nardi spent the first 17 years of his career working in information technology, in the financial services industry. In addition to his technical training, Sean has a BComm, a PMP and an MBA. Sean and his partner of 14 years, Ian Poole, are family guys who prioritize time with family, friends, and neighbours; they value integrity, hard work and community, and they enjoy music, travelling and active recreation. Sean’s involvement in civic issues began in 2018 when he joined the Fairview/South Granville Action Committee, through which he became acquainted with Colleen Hardwick as well as many residents and neighbourhood groups throughout the city. His extensive research, organizing, involvement and communication during several rezonings and City initiatives have exposed him to the challenges facing Vancouver and the need to refocus on transparency, accountability, core services, neighbourhoods, democracy, livability, affordability, and sustainability.
Grace Quan (CEO, MBA, CPA) has a range of experience with corporate governance, negotiation, leadership, team building and marketing. As President and CEO, Grace co-founded and led Hydrogen In Motion Inc. to develop a nanomaterial to store hydrogen in high density tanks. Before that, Grace had a 10-year career in the federal government working in foreign aid at the Canadian International Development Agency and in the Foreign Service, and was the Senior Advisor to the CFO of the Treasury Board of Canada, responsible for managing Canada’s $250B dollar annual budget. Grace is energetic and charismatic. She is running for City Councillor as part of TEAM because Colleen Hardwick is the only person who has shown clarity on what tangible action needs to be taken within the City of Vancouver to make it livable and affordable. Grace’s experience as entrepreneur and at various levels of government gives her insight on the levers of power and makes her a force to be reckoned with!
Born and raised in British Columbia, Stephen Roberts studied economics and politics at university. He spent much of his professional career overseas as a COO with international investment banks in Hong Kong, New York, and London. Since returning home to Vancouver, he has been active in a number of community non-profit organizations, most notably as Chair of the Board for five years at Vancouver Hospice Society (VHS). It was at the VHS, leading a grassroots fight to protect the hospice from a damaging re-zoning proposal, that Stephen had his first serious encounters with City Hall. As a result, he has been emboldened to get involved and join the campaign to return governance of Vancouver to the service of its residents by joining TEAM.
Bill Tieleman is one of BC’s best-known political strategists; running his consulting firm – West Star Communications – since 1998. Bill is a very successful campaigner – playing lead roles in winning four consecutive BC binding referenda – defeating Proportional Representation in 2018, 2009 and 2005; and as Strategist for Fight HST, the Harmonized Sales Tax was eliminated in a 2011 referendum. Bill served as Communications Director to then-BC NDP Premier Glen Clark in his upset 1996 election victory and to the BC Federation of Labour. For 16 years Bill wrote a weekly politics column in 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper, The Tyee online and the Georgia Straight newspaper. Bill provides advice to labour, business, Indigenous, environmental, governmental and not-for-profit organizations.
For more information, check out their website: https://www.voteteam.ca/