Janet Fraser, who was one of the eight Vancouver School Board trustees fired by Education Minister Mike Bernier in October for not balancing the district’s budget, announced January 5 that she is seeking the nomination to represent the provincial Green Party in the Vancouver-Langara riding in the May election.
Fraser’s decision to enter provincial politics comes less than four months after the school board was fired.
“I was always trying to do the best for our students,” Fraser told the Courier January 5. “I made my decisions knowing that [getting fired] could happen. I stand behind what I did and if you don’t agree with that, then that’s fine.”
So far, no one has contested Fraser’s run to become the Greens’ candidate in the riding currently held by Liberal MLA Moira Stilwell, who is retiring from politics after the May election.
The Liberals have announced that lawyer Michael Lee, who was born and raised in Vancouver and son to Hong Kong immigrants, is the party’s candidate in Vancouver-Langara. The NDP, which ran George Chow in 2013 and finished second, has yet to name a candidate in the riding.
Fraser has lived in the riding for 15 years and is aware that it has been a long-time Liberal stronghold. In the 2013 election, Green candidate Regan-Heng Zhang finished a distant third, earning about five per cent of the vote.
If Fraser secures the nomination — no date has been set for the meeting — she said she expects to run a campaign focused on improving public education, battling climate change, building a “green economy” and creating good governance.
“I would like to be able to make changes to public education in B.C., but I also think it’s a great opportunity for me to speak about the Green Party in a broader sense and help educate people that we’re not just an environmental party,” said the United Kingdom-born Fraser, who moved to Vancouver in 1993, where she has worked as a research chemist and a project manager. She has three children.
Fraser was the school board’s lone Green trustee but was elected in the 2014 civic election with party members Adriane Carr (council), Michael Wiebe (parks board) and Stuart Mackinnon (parks board).
The party has long been the underdog at the polls, but Fraser said she was buoyed by the success of the Greens in the last civic election and how that showing is a sign of voters’ interest in the party.
Meanwhile, at least two other trustees fired in October have decided not to seek a provincial nomination — at least, for now. The NPA’s Christopher Richardson said he is too busy with family life to get involved in another campaign while Vision Vancouver’s Patti Bacchus said she is enjoying not getting up in the morning to answer hundreds of emails.
Bacchus, however, said the provincial NDP has approached her to run in this year’s election. She didn’t say in which riding but believes the party has spots available in Vancouver-Langara and Vancouver-Fraserview, a riding currently held by Justice Minister Suzanne Anton.
“I’m not actively looking at [running] right now, but I haven’t completely ruled it out,” Bacchus said. “I pretty much told [the NDP] that they should be looking for candidates. I’m leaning away from it. It’s not really something I had planned.”
The provincial election is set for May 9.
For more stories from the Vancouver Courier, visit www.vancourier.com.
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