By Promod Puri
It is about time Vancouver should be ruled by an Indigenous Canadian.
The announcement by 45-year-old Squamish Nation Hereditary Chief Ian Campbell to seek the Vancouver mayoral job is a progressive initiative of Indigenous leadership in the City’s affairs.
The political evolution also reaffirms the multicultural character of Vancouver which has roots in its Native heritage.
The electorate decision to have a First Nation Canadian to head the city council in the upcoming civic election is not only historical and symbolic, but it helps in creating better and more humane understanding of social issues from the Indigenous and grassroots perspectives especially to the needs of the poor, homeless and destitute citizens.
The growth and value of Vancouver need not be judged by the rising value of its real estate or as a popular tourist attraction. But how well it handles the social issues confronting its citizens. The City is plagued by mental and drug overdose epidemic, acute shortage of affordable housing, and the bureaucratic nightmares often being faced by Vancouverites when dealing with the City Hall.
With improved services and balance growth, both economically and socially, Vancouver expects efficient handling of its business.
And at the same time, the Vision Vancouver candidate amidst his Indigenous backdrop can offer a new and colorful image of the City with the flair and spirit of the First Nation cultural heritage.
(Promod Puri is a retired journalist, writer, and author. He was the editor of now-defunct Winnipeg-based Native and Metis newspaper, The New Nation. Website: promodpuri.com)