Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside

Vancouver Sun

Re:OpEd piece on wards by Kennedy Stewart

As a trans-gendered, downtown eastside civil rights activist and resident of Vancouver, I find Kennedy Stewart?s article on wards completely offensive! How dare he attempt to use the ?race? card to sway public opinion to vote for the ward system!

His contention that both the Yes and Know sides and Berger himself have ignored this topic is to do to the fact the neither side thinks that race is relevant to the debate. Not only is our wonderfully multi-ethnic-Vancouver the #1 internationally ranked city in the world, we are one of the most tolerant, socially innovative and compassionate cities in North America. We are simply THE BEST! Like all medium/large size cities, we have our problems, but our gay/lesbian/trans-gendered community is open and vibrant, our ethnic communities are strong and well integrated and over the years our city councils, school boards and park boards have represented a diversified cross-section of our city.

The only thing seemingly biased or bigoted about Vancouver is Mr. Stewart?s underhanded attack on the civic political parties who operate within the current system. Stewart didn?t seem to mind ?big-labour-money political machines? like the NDP party when he lost to the Liberals in the last federal ward-election. After reading Stewart?s vitriolic diatribe I would suggest he spend more time encouraging election finance reform rather than spewing his contempt for the at-large system.

I for one am supporting the Knowards Coalition and will be voting NO on Oct. 16th. Minorities ? ethnic and otherwise ? cannot afford a ward system, which would leave us unrepresented with NO voice on Council if the ward-boss doesn?t share my point of view. Who do I go to then? I may not entirely like the at-large system but it is hands-down superior to the divisive and corrupt proposed ward system. At least now I have the option of going to any of the ten at-large councillors.

Jamie Lee Hamilton
(604) 781-3361