Stuart Parker (politician)

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Stuart Parker
Stuart Parker St Paul's NDP 2009.jpg
Stuart Parker giving his nomination speech, August 24, 2009
Born 1972
Vancouver, British Columbia
Residence Vancouver, British Columbia[1]
Occupation University Lecturer
Political party New Democratic Party (present)
Green Party (1993-2000)

Stuart Parker (born 1972) was leader of the Green Party in British Columbia, Canada, from 1993 to 2000. In 2009, during the Ontario by-election to replace MPP Michael Bryant, he unsuccessfully sought the Ontario New Democratic Party nomination for the St. Paul's provincial riding.

Green Party activism[edit]

Prior to winning the party's leadership at the age of 21, he had been the founder and spokesperson of the party's youth wing, the Young Greens from 1988 to 1992 and was best known for coordinating the group's successful national campaign against McDonald's Restaurants' use of ozone-destroying foam packaging. Parker and the Young Greens received substantial credit from Canada's national media in 1990 when the restaurant giant abandoned the use of chlorofluorocarbon-based foam. The group's continued campaign against the use of CFCs in foam packaging led to CKF Incorporated, Canada's largest manufacturer of CFC-based foam, abandoning the use of CFCs in manufacturing in 1993.

Parker managed to take the party from a tiny group of 59 in 1992 to a party that was only four candidates short of a full slate in the 1996 provincial election. He built links to poverty activists and labour groups. During his leadership, the party's standing in public opinion polls rose from 1% to 11%. During his time as party leader, Parker was arrested in anti-clearcutting blockades in Clayoquot Sound in 1993 and the Slocan Valley in 1997.

Reversing his earlier position, he negotiated agreements with the municipal affiliates of the then-incumbent British Columbia New Democratic Party (NDP) provincial government and the labour councils of Vancouver and Victoria in 1998 and 1999, resulting in the first and the only Red-Green coalitions in Canadian history in BC's 1999 municipal elections. As part of these coalitions, the Greens won their first-ever municipal seats in Canadian cities.

Ultimately, his focus on building a broadly left-wing green party in BC brought criticism from some members of the environmental movement in the province. Those people played a significant role in the efforts that eventually led to Parker's defeat at the party's March 2000 convention - after previous unsuccessful attempts to unseat him in 1998 and 1999.

At the time of Parker's defeat, his supporters in the party were in negotiations with the NDP over a potential provincial electoral alliance. His successor, Adriane Carr, cancelled these negotiations.

NDP and electoral reform activism[edit]

Parker's departure from the party came as the Greens were perceived to be moving to the political right. He subsequently worked with the NDP in the 2001 provincial election and with the federal New Democratic Party in the 2004 federal election.

Upon leaving the Green Party, Parker initially worked as a lobbyist for Mike Geoghegan. Despite leaving the Greens and joining the NDP, he remained a strong advocate for electoral reform, specifically proportional representation. A co-founder of the BC Electoral Change Coalition in 1997, he served on the board of Fair Voting BC (2000–2002, 2006–2009) and on the board of Fair Vote Canada (2005–2007). He served as a spokesperson for the "YES" campaign in the 2005 and 2009 BC referenda on voting reform.

Living in Ontario in 2009, he sought the NDP nomination for the provincial by-election in the St. Paul's electoral district, but was defeated by lawyer Julian Heller.[2]

Following the defeat, Parker was encouraged by the NDP's national office and the board of the St. Paul's federal riding association to seek the party's federal nomination. However, in March 2010, after initially being approved by the party's vetting process the previous November, he was informed by head office staff that he was not only disqualified from running in St. Paul's, but barred from running for a federal NDP nomination anywhere in Canada. Party officials objected to four posts he had made to his personal Facebook page in the intervening months, particularly one in which he urged Toronto NDP supporters to back the NDP candidate for mayor in the wake of a sex scandal.[3] Parker remains a member of the party.

Personal[edit]

The nephew of Harry Jerome, Parker was the first BC political leader of African descent and gave the keynote speech to the opening ceremony of the province's Black History Month in 1994.

He is currently based in the Vancouver area while he works on a travel-intensive postdoctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada on the religions of indigenous peoples of the Americas and Polynesia.

Election results[edit]

Election Type Total votes % of popular vote Place
Vancouver-Fraserview 1991 Provincial General 141 0.8% 4th
Vancouver City 1992 Municipal Byelection ? 2.1% ?
Vancouver-Quilchena 1994 Provincial Byelection 395 3.6% 4th
Vancouver-Little Mountain 1996 Provincial General 714 3.0% 4th
Vancouver Parks Board 1996 Municipal General 18120 23% (3.2%)1 15th
Vancouver East 1997 Federal General 1221 3.4% 4th
Surrey-White Rock 1997 Provincial Byelection 910 4.5% 4th
Parksville-Qualicum 1998 Provincial Byelection 458 1.7% 5th

1. Vancouver Parks Board is chosen in a citywide (at-large) election in which seven candidates are elected. Although Parker received 3.2% of the total votes, approximately 23% of electors voted for him.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Parker, Stuart (2012). "Stuart Parker's bio". Stuart Parker's blog: short essays on this and that. Vancouver. Archived from the original on 2012-09-07. 
  2. ^ Benzie, Robert (2009-08-24). "NDP by-election pick slams harmonized sales tax". The Toronto Star. Toronto. Archived from the original on 2012-09-07. 
  3. ^ Parker, Stuart (2010-03-18). "The NDP won't let me be a candidate because of my Facebook comments". The Georgia Straight. Vancouver. Archived from the original on 2012-09-07. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Adriane Carr
Green Party of BC leaders
1993-2000
Succeeded by
Tom Hetherington