Thank you to everyone who has been in touch encouraging me to consider a run for mayor in the 2022 municipal election. The unwavering support for bolder, more courageous leadership on the issues I have put so much of my life into, from climate action and reconciliation to economic and social justice, is humbling and inspiring.
It’s out of respect to you and the urgent need for stepped up action on those issues that I’ve given serious consideration to a mayoral run with Vision Vancouver this year. I also don’t take lightly a real opportunity for Vancouver to elect its first woman mayor. However, I have decided not to run this election.
It has been a tough decision. I’ve spent my entire life fighting alongside others for change and have been able to achieve a long list of progressive policy wins, often in tough situations—and always as an outsider to traditional powerholders. But championing community-centred change takes a toll: halfway through my last term of City Council I knew I needed a break and that’s why I stepped out of the public eye at the end of my term in 2018.
It’s not incidental that I’m making this announcement on Family Day. I’ve been able to spend more time with family and friends in the last three years than I did in four terms in public office. I’ve also finally been able to spend time with myself. Since leaving office I’ve been to university for the first time, had time to reconnect with my birth family and culture, ended a 20+ year marriage, and overcome a long-term chronic illness.
Having time and private space has allowed me to heal and grow in the ways that many people have the opportunity to do much earlier in life, but circumstances did not allow me to. Like you, I see the need for leadership in Vancouver, but I know in my heart I would not be the best mayor I could be at this point in my life’s journey.
I won’t be sitting out the election. The past three years underlines the critical importance of electing a strong progressive majority of councillors with the skills to build alliances, the knowledge of the levers local governments have for action and the focus to see through implementation. I will be putting my 2022 election energy into helping elect this majority.
I also will not be sitting out big policy fights – I continue to be very active as a board member, strategic advisor, and educator on the issues I’ve always been passionate about. Supporting innovative collaboration and courageous leadership outside of government is imperative work if we are going to succeed at solving the biggest problems of our times.
Thank you again for all your words of encouragement. I do hope to work alongside you, fighting to get a majority on Vancouver’s Council that can carry on the work of courageous, collaborative and competent leadership.