Mable Elmore

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Mable Elmore
Parliamentary Secretary for Poverty Reduction of British Columbia
Assumed office
July 18, 2017
Preceded by Position Created
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Vancouver-Kensington
Assumed office
May 12, 2009
Preceded by David Chudnovsky
Personal details
Born Langley, British Columbia
Political party New Democrat
Residence Vancouver
Occupation Politician

Mable Elmore is a Canadian politician, who was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in the 2009 provincial election. A member of the BC New Democratic Party, she was elected to represent the riding of Vancouver-Kensington. In the 39th Parliament, with her party forming the official opposition, Elmore was initially the deputy critic for child care and early learning.

Prior to becoming the first MLA of Filipino descent, Elmore worked in Vancouver driving buses for the Coast Mountain Bus Company. She was active within Vancouver's Filipino Canadian community and within her union. Coming out of the University of British Columbia she volunteered and then worked at the BC Philippine Women Centre. Since her high school years, she had helped organize campaigns regarding social justice issues and the peace movement.

Elmore was a candidate for the New Democratic Party nomination in Vancouver East for the 2015 federal election. She lost to Jenny Kwan in the early evening of March 22, 2015.


Elmore's mother immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 1965 and met her father, an Irish Canadian manager at a pulp and paper mill, while in Prince Rupert, British Columbia.[1] A couple of years later Mable was born in Langley. The family moved to Nova Scotia and they lived in Turkey for a brief time, but they spent most of Elmore's youth living in Manitoba.[2] It was at her high school in Winnipeg, learning about South African apartheid, that she became politically aware and active.[3] Following high school, she attended the University of British Columbia studying physical education and volunteered at the BC Philippine Women Centre, which turned into a full-time job. Several years later, Elmore started working as a bus driver for the Coast Mountain Bus Company. She was a vocal advocate for social justice issues and worker rights. She was active with the Vancouver and District Labour Council, the BC Federation of Labour, and in her union, the CAW Local 111.[4][5] She helped organize peace and anti-war marches in Vancouver.[6][7]

Provincial politics[edit]

With the 2009 provincial election approaching, and incumbent New Democratic MLA David Chudnovsky retiring, Elmore put her name forward as a candidate for the NDP nomination in the Vancouver-Kensington riding. Due an internal BC NDP rule requiring that the subsequent NDP candidate be female in ridings where there is a retiring male NDP MLA, only women could be nominated.[8] Elmore's only challenger was former BC Teachers' Federation president Jinny Sims, whom Elmore defeated in the March 2009 nomination election.[9] Within hours of her nomination, copies of a 2004 interview with Elmore published in an online magazine, called Seven Oaks, were distributed in which, in reference to her anti-war activism within a union environment, Elmore identified "vocal Zionists in our worksites" as a challenge.[9] This was viewed as a disparaging remark and party leader Carole James asked Elmore to make a public apology.[10] The general election was held in May when Elmore was running against realtor and former radio host Syrus Lee for the BC Liberal Party and engineer Doug Warkentin for the BC Green Party.[11] Elmore had the support of many in the Filipino Canadian community who helped campaign for her.[3] Elmore's campaign manager helped thwart an attempt to circumvent election laws by the Kash Heed campaign, a BC Liberal candidate in a neighbouring riding, after she was informed of Heed's intent to mail, in the Vancouver-Kensington riding, anti-NDP pamphlets, which did not include the proper disclosure and documentation.[12] Regardless, Elmore went on to win the general election with 53% of the vote, though her party lost to the BC Liberals who formed a majority government with the NDP as the official opposition. Elmore was the first Filipino Canadian to be elected as a Member of the BC Legislative Assembly,[13] and only the second (after Jenn McGinn) openly lesbian member.[14]

As the 39th Parliament began, Elmore was assigned the role of deputy critic on the Ministry of Children and Family Development, with fellow NDP MLA Maurine Karagianis as the full-time critic.[15] In this role, Elmore identified financial misstatements by Solicitor-General Kash Heed which forced Heed and the Premier to reverse a planned $440,000 cut to domestic violence programs.[16] She was appointed to the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth in all four sessions of the Parliament. In 2012, she became the Critic for ICBC and Deputy Critic for Finance. She also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services in the third and fourth session.

Seeking federal NDP nomination for 2015 election[edit]

In December 2014, Elmore announced that she was seeking the New Democratic Party nomination in Vancouver East for the 2015 federal election,[17][18] seeking to replace Libby Davies as the Member of Parliament for the riding.[19][20] In January 2015, Jenny Kwan announced that she was also seeking the party's nomination in the riding.[21] On March 22, 2015, Elmore lost the nomination race to Kwan.[22][23]

Electoral history[edit]

British Columbia general election, 2017: Vancouver-Kensington
Party Candidate Votes %
New Democratic Mable Elmore 12,504 55.57
Liberal Kim Jee Chan Logan 7,236 32.16
Green Simon Alexander Rear 2,580 11.47
Your Political Party Ramanjit Kaur Dhillon 181 0.80
Total valid votes 22,501 100.00
Source: Elections BC[24]
B.C. General Election 2009: Vancouver-Kensington
Party Candidate Votes % ± Expenditures
New Democratic Mable Elmore 9,930 52.55% $85,850
Liberal Syrus Lee 7,678 40.63% $39,514
Green Doug Warkentin 1,288 6.82% $780
Total Valid Votes 18,896 100%
Total Rejected Ballots 210 1.1%
Turnout 19,106 51.98%


  1. ^ Lee-Young, Joanne (June 16, 2010). "Pointing Filipinos in the right direction". The Vancouver Sun. p. A11. 
  2. ^ Austin, Ian (June 5, 2009). "She B.C.'s first MLA of Philippine heritage; Social activist won over diverse community". The Province. Vancouver. p. A15. 
  3. ^ a b Ward, Doug (May 25, 2009). "Faithful supporters carry B.C.'s first Filipino MLA into legislature". The Vancouver Sun. p. A4. 
  4. ^ Hamilton, Gordon (May 5, 2005). "Unions Launch Campaign". The Vancouver Sun. p. B2. 
  5. ^ Carrigg, David (June 22, 2005). "Mayor frazzled by Wal-Mart debate: Anti-big-box group out in force". The Province. Vancouver. p. A23. 
  6. ^ Bridge, Maurice (June 24, 2006). "Peace marchers gather today: Thousands expected to walk for peace and sustainability". The Vancouver Sun. p. B8. 
  7. ^ Youds, Mike (May 1, 2008). "War led to economic downturn, activist says". Kamloops Daily News. Kamloops. p. A4. 
  8. ^ Wong, Jackie (May 7, 2009). "Study suggests bias in political-candidate selection". WestEnder. p. 3. 
  9. ^ a b Palmer, Vaughn (March 24, 2009). "Seven weeks to the election and NDP is a party in search of issues". The Vancouver Sun. p. A3. 
  10. ^ Fowlie, Jonathan (March 24, 2009). "NDP candidate apologizes for 'vocal Zionists' comment". The Vancouver Sun. p. A6. 
  11. ^ Smedman, Lisa (April 24, 2009). "Vancouver-Kensington tightly contested in 2005". Vancouver Courier. p. 15. 
  12. ^ Hunter, Justine (April 14, 2010). "Elections BC asked post office to cancel mail-outs". The Globe and Mail. p. S1. 
  13. ^ "NDP's Mable Elmore is first Filipina to be elected to the B.C. legislature". The Vancouver Sun. May 12, 2009. Retrieved November 22, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Filipinos rally behind NDP candidate Mable Elmore". Georgia Straight. April 2, 2009. Retrieved November 22, 2011. 
  15. ^ "James makes some hard choices, talks tough with shadow cabinet". The Vancouver Sun. June 12, 2009. p. A3. 
  16. ^ Matas, Robert (October 3, 2009). "Cutting remarks cost Heed credibility". The Globe and Mail. p. S3. 
  17. ^ "MLA Mable Elmore seeks federal NDP nomination to replace Libby Davies in Vancouver East". CBC News. 22 December 2014. 
  18. ^ "Vancouver MLA Mable Elmore seeks federal NDP nomination". Global News. 22 December 2014. 
  19. ^ Smith, Charlie (16 December 2014). "NDP can hold Vancouver East if the party chooses the right candidate". The Georgia Straight. 
  20. ^ Nuttall, Jeremy (5 February 2015). "Game On For Coveted East Van Riding". The Tyee. 
  21. ^ "B.C. politician Jenny Kwan to run for federal NDP seat in Vancouver East". Times Colonist. 25 January 2015. 
  22. ^ "MLA Jenny Kwan selected as NDP representative for Vancouver East". CKNW. 22 March 2015. 
  23. ^ "Jenny Kwan wins federal NDP nomination for Vancouver East". CBC News. 22 March 2015. 
  24. ^ "2017 Provincial General Election Preliminary Voting Results". Elections BC. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 

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