The real reason why there should be more non-Caucasian candidates on city council: Everyone who came out to the announcement by retired banker David Lee about his run for a Non-Partisan Association council spot got an excellent lunch at the Garden Villa on East Pender. Yum.
Anyway, onto the news. Yes, Mr. Lee made his formal announcement Wednesday, after his name had been circulating for a couple of weeks. Apparently, he was only approached about a month ago, when he had breakfast with Peter Ladner and former NPA president, now SUCCESS CEO Tung Chan at the Walk with the Dragon event, and they pitched the idea of running to him. Lee said he had thought of going into politics once before, when Toronto councillor Olivia Chow, now an NDP MP, asked him to consider running in her old municipal ward of Spadina. (Lee was then just retired from working with HSBC in Toronto, four years after being transferred there, in 2000, from Vancouver.)
Lee said the things he’s the most interested in are homelessness, drug policy, and revitalizing Chinatown, although he doesn’t have a lot of strong opinions on policy yet. On what to do about drug addiction, he said he has “no ideas yet” on exactly what the solutions might be. Lee, who is 64, said he went on a walkabout with Ladner through the Downtown Eastside the other night and was appalled by the state of the hotels where people are living. “The living conditions are deplorable. People deserve better.”
Lee, born in Hong Kong and later a resident of Sydney, Australia, came to Vancouver in 1969, when he was 25. He was the first-ever Chinese branch manager (in Victoria) for the bank he first started working for in the 1970s and was a branch manager in Chinatown for a number of years later on. He’s been active with a number of Chinatown-affiliated organizations since me moved back to Vancouver from Toronto after his retirement in 2004.
For more about Lee, you can read Mike Howell’s story on him in the Courier.
As well, here’s his speech.
Ladies & Gentlemen, fellow members of Hong Kong Merchants Association, Peter Ladner and guests:
Today I stand here in front of you to announce that I have accepted the offer from Peter Ladner and the NPA to run as a candidate of the Councillor for the City of Vancouver on the forthcoming civic election on November 15, 2008. I was asked, “What is your platform?” and “Why do you want to be a Councillor for City of Vancouver?”
Straight from my heart, my children and others like Peter Ladner, Paul Wilson who have the blessings of being born in his country.
But fellow members of this Association and myself by being citizens of this country is by our choice and our choosing to be in Canada and we chose to live in Vancouver.
Vancouver has been good to me for the past 39 years. I want to repay and therefore I am running as a Candidate of the Councilor.
You want to talk about commitment. My fellow members I have in the last two weeks resigned from my job as the Executive Director of Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver and I am in the process of moving to a 12th Avenue apartment to be closer to the City Hall. My commitment is 200% totally.
The 1986 Expo has indeed put Vancouver on the map. A generation later in 2010 the Winter Olympics will again indeed placed Vancouver on the forefront of the global village.
After I am elected, I shall work towards to the betterment of the citizens of Vancouver:
revitalization of Chinatown
other issues: drug addicts
I compare this opportunity with the one offered by the HSBC Bank Canada which I had totally committed for 18 years. I had made major accomplishments. I will again deliver the amazing results for the citizens of Vancouver.
In closing, I ask everyone of you in this room to deliver 10 votes on the upcoming election on November 15,08 for NPA, for Peter Ladner and of course, for me. I need your support and deserve your support. Thank you.