Jenny Kwan

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Jenny Kwan
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Vancouver East
Assumed office
October 19, 2015
Preceded by Libby Davies
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant
In office
May 28, 1996 – August 4, 2015
Preceded by Mike Harcourt
Succeeded by Melanie Mark
Minister of Community Development, Cooperatives and Volunteers
of British Columbia
In office
February 29, 2000 – June 5, 2001
Premier Ujjal Dosanjh
Preceded by Jan Pullinger
Succeeded by George Abbott
Minister of Women's Equality
of British Columbia
In office
July 21, 1999 – February 24, 2000
Premier Glen Clark, Dan Miller
Preceded by Penny Priddy
Succeeded by Evelyn Gillespie
Minister of Municipal Affairs
of British Columbia
In office
February 18, 1998 – July 21, 1999
Premier Glen Clark
Preceded by Michael Farnworth
Succeeded by Jim Doyle
Personal details
Born 1967 (age 50–51)
British Hong Kong
Political party New Democratic

Jenny Wai Ching Kwan (born 1967) is a Hong Kong-born Canadian politician. She was a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of British Columbia for the riding of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, and a senior member of the provincial caucus of the New Democratic Party. After serving for 20 years in the provincial legislative assembly, she was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 2015 election, representing Vancouver East.

Personal life[edit]

Kwan emigrated to Canada at age nine with her family from Hong Kong. She speaks English, French, and Cantonese. Kwan graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology. She worked as a community legal advocate in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside before entering politics. The Downtown Eastside is known as a troubled and impoverished area inhabited mainly by new immigrants and ethnic minorities.

Political career[edit]

Vancouver city councillor[edit]

In 1993, Kwan at age 26 was elected as the youngest-ever member of Vancouver City Council. She was the sole representative of the civic party known as COPE throughout her term on council.[1]

Provincial politics[edit]

In 1996, Kwan entered provincial politics. After being nominated, she was elected as the MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, in East Vancouver. She succeeded Premier Mike Harcourt, who at the time had just resigned over a series of serious fundraising scandals, including the Bingogate Scandal

In 2001, Kwan, along with Joy MacPhail, was one of only two NDP MLAs to survive the party's electoral collapse in the British Columbia general election, 2001 at the hands of a BC Liberal landslide upset.[2][3] She was re-elected in 2005, 2009, and 2013.[4]

Leadership controversy, December 2010[edit]

In December 2010, Kwan released a statement to the media criticizing NDP party leader Carole James, and calling for an immediate leadership convention, after party candidates suffered defeat in the 2009 election.[3][5][6] In response to Kwan's statement, James called an emergency caucus session to address opposition to her continued leadership.[7][8] Before the caucus meeting was held, however, James announced her resignation as party leader.[9][10] While Kwan was accused of self-interest, at the time she claimed to have no plans to run for the leadership of the party.[11]

Portland Hotel Society controversy, March 2014[edit]

In March 2014, an audit of the Portland Hotel Society showed that Kwan's ex-husband, Dan Small, had improperly expensed the cost of a family Disneyland trip to the Society.[12][13] At the time of the trip, Kwan had still been married to Small and had participated in the trip with their children.[14] When the audit became public, Kwan held a press conference where she denied any knowledge that the Society had paid for the trip, and said she would reimburse the Society.[15] Following the conference, Kwan took a brief leave of absence.[16]

Election to the House of Commons[edit]

In January 2015, Kwan announced that she would be seeking the New Democratic Party of Canada nomination in Vancouver East for the 2015 federal election.[17] Mable Elmore was also seeking the party's nomination in the riding.[18] Kwan was nominated on March 22, and sought to replace Libby Davies as the Member of Parliament for the riding.[19][20] She was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in October 2015, defeating Liberal Party candidate Edward Wong and Conservative Party candidate James Low by a wide margin.[21] On November 12, she was appointed as her party's critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.[22]

Electoral Record[edit]


Canadian federal election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Jenny Kwan 29,316 49.94 -12.89 $107,948.45
Liberal Edward Wong 16,532 28.16 +18.25 $103,236.57
Conservative James Low 6,322 10.77 -8.13 $10,430.75
Green Wes Regan 5,395 9.19 +1.54 $29,914.97
Communist Peter Marcus 525 0.89
Independent D. Alex Millar 216 0.37
Marxist–Leninist Anne Jamieson 214 0.36 -0.35
Pirate Shawn Vulliez 188 0.32
Total valid votes/Expense limit 58,708 100.00   $226,454.95
Total rejected ballots 405 0.69
Turnout 59,113 67.44
Eligible voters 87,657
New Democratic hold Swing -15.57
Source: Elections Canada[23][24][25]


B.C. General Election 2013: Vancouver-Mount Pleasant
Party Candidate Votes  % ± Expenditures
     New Democratic Jenny Kwan 13,845 65.83 +1.88
Liberal Celyna Sia Sherst 3,942 18.74 -2.06
Green Barinder Hans 2,506 11.92 -2.36
Marijuana William Austin 349 1.66
Independent Jeremy Gustafson 260 1.24
Communist Peter Marcus 129 0.61 -0.36
Total valid votes 21,031 100.00
New Democratic hold Swing +1.97
British Columbia general election, 2009: Vancouver-Mount Pleasant
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Jenny Kwan 11,232 63.95 −0.29 $79,796
Liberal Sherry Darlene Wiebe 3,654 20.80 −0.48 $41,506
Green John T. Boychuck 2,507 14.28 +4.05 $7,013
Communist Peter Marcus 171 0.97 +0.48 $1,565
Total Valid Votes 17,564 100
Total Rejected Ballots 218 1.23
Turnout 17,782 46.47
British Columbia general election, 2005: Vancouver-Mount Pleasant
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
New Democratic Jenny Kwan 12,974 64.24 $98,030
Liberal Juliet Andalis 4,298 21.28 $34,819
Green Raven Bowen 2,066 10.23 $1,882
Marijuana Christopher Patrick Bennett 308 1.53 $100
Independent Mike Hansen 205 1.02 $406
Work Less Niki Westman 187 0.93 $100
Communist Peter Marcus 98 0.49 $2,928
Democratic Reform Imtiaz Popat 43 0.21 $100
Platinum Kirk Anton Moses 17 0.08 $130
Total Valid Votes 20,196 100
Total Rejected Ballots 312 1.54
Turnout 20,508 49.93
British Columbia general election, 2001: Vancouver-Mount Pleasant
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Jenny Kwan 7,163 44.48 -19.57 $60,582
Liberal Gail Sparrow 5,343 33.18 +8.82 $56,796
Green Dale Hofmann 2,612 16.22 +11.86 $3,276
Marijuana David Malmo-Levine 489 3.03 $721
Unity Ken Wright 166 1.03 $185
No Affiliation Liar Liar 148 0.92
Communist Kimball Cariou 142 0.88 -0.19 $332
Party of Citizens Franklin Wayne Poley 42 0.26 331
Total valid votes 16,105 100.00
Total rejected ballots 208 1.29
Turnout 16,313 59.36
New Democratic hold Swing -14.2
B.C. General Election 1996: Vancouver-Mount Pleasant
Party Candidate Votes  % ± Expenditures
     New Democratic Jenny Kwan 11,155 64.05% $41,905
Liberal Anne Beer 4,243 24.36% $32,735
Green Paul Alexander 759 4.36% $100
Progressive Democrat John Spark 584 3.35% $100
Reform Wayne Marsden 354 2.03%
Communist Kimball Cariou 121 0.69% $319
     Natural Law John S.W. Kent 114 0.65% $120
Social Credit Agnes Kokko 86 0.49% $526
Total valid votes 17,416 100.00%
Total rejected ballots 284 1.60%
Turnout 17,700 60.50%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ LABC. "Official Biography: Jenny Wai Ching Kwan (39th Parliament)". Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. 
  2. ^ McMartin, Will (2005-09-14). "Budget Battlers Ready to Rumble". The Tyee. 
  3. ^ a b MacLeod, Andrew (2010-12-02). "James Allies Scramble to Defend Against Kwan's Attack". The Tyee. 
  4. ^ LABC. "Official Biography: Jenny Wai Ching Kwan (40th Parliament)". Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. 
  5. ^ MacLeod, Andrew (2010-12-01). "'Carole James is dividing the party': NDP MLA Kwan". The Tyee. 
  6. ^ Fowlie, Jonathan (2010-12-02). "NDP leader Carole James will convene emergency meeting over revolt". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on 2010-12-06. 
  7. ^ Thomson, Stephen (2010-12-03). "Jenny Kwan says she will "wait and see" outcome of emergency NDP caucus session". Georgia Straight. 
  8. ^ MacLeod, Andrew (2010-12-03). "'Every MLA Will Be Held Accountable': James". The Tyee. 
  9. ^ Fowlie, Jonathan and Rob Shaw (2010-12-06). "Carole James quits as NDP leader". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on 2011-03-16. 
  10. ^ Tieleman, Bill (2010-12-07). "She Had to Go: Carole James' resignation was inevitable after NDP's 2009 election defeat". The Tyee. 
  11. ^ Smith, Charlie (2010-12-01). "Jenny Kwan doesn't want to become NDP leader, so who will it be?". Georgia Straight. 
  12. ^ Rob Shaw; Tiffany Crawford (20 March 2014). "Portland Hotel Society audit finds hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable expenses". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Laanela, Mike (21 March 2014). "NDP MLA Jenny Kwan repaying $35K for Europe, Disney trips". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 
  14. ^ Bains, Camille (21 March 2014). "NDP MLA and family took Disney trip cited in scathing audit". CTV / Canadian Press. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  15. ^ The Canadian Press (24 March 2014). "Jenny Kwan Unpaid Leave Still Being Worked Out: Adrian Dix". Huffington Post. 
  16. ^ Hunter, Justine and Ian Bailey (24 March 2014). "Jenny Kwan takes temporary leave amid questions about social-services provider". Globe and Mail. 
  17. ^ The Canadian Press (25 January 2015). "Jenny Kwan to run for federal NDP seat in Vancouver East". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on 4 May 2015. 
  18. ^ The Province (18 January 2015). "Elmore officially launches NDP nomination bid for Vancouver East". The Province. 
  19. ^ Smith, Charlie (16 December 2014). "NDP can hold Vancouver East if the party chooses the right candidate". The Georgia Straight. 
  20. ^ Nuttall, Jeremy (4 February 2015). "Game On For Coveted East Van Riding". The Tyee. 
  21. ^ "Canada election 2015: Big name B.C. politicians challenged". CBC News. October 19, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Mulcair announces shadow cabinet, and vows to make sure Liberal government 'fulfills its promises'". National Post. November 12, 2015. 
  23. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Vancouver East, 30 September 2015
  24. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates
  25. ^ [1]

External links[edit]