Spencer Chandra Herbert - Provincial Politics - 39th Parliament

39th Parliament

In the May 2009 general provincial election, Herbert was again challenged by Green Party candidate Drini Read, as well as BC Liberal candidate and gay rights advocate Laura McDiarmid. Herbert was again expected to win, which he did again receiving over 50% of the vote, but his party again formed the Official Opposition to the BC Liberal's majority government. As the 39th Parliament began party leader Carole James kept Herbert as the critic of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts. Herbert disapproved of absorption of industry-run Crown Corporation Tourism BC into the ministry. According to Herbert, the government took over Tourism BC in retaliation for speaking against the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax and so it could control messages and gain exposure during the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Herbert went on to criticize the council responsible for the transition of Tourism BC into the government as being dominated (eight of thirteen members) by BC Liberal financial donors. Herbert was also critical of the changes, which began in July 2009 and partially restored in March and September 2010, to provincial grant system which distributed proceeds from gambling to non-profit groups involved in arts, culture, sports, and education. Herbert illustrated the impact of the province-wide cuts by contrasting them with the cost overruns from both the Vancouver Convention Centre and the replacement of the BC Place stadium roof.

In June 2010, he brought a motion forward in the legislative assembly to declare the pacific salmon as one of the symbols of British Columbia. In July, following the release of a study that identified BC as having the highest number of hate crimes in the country, he called upon the government to operate a telephone "bash line" where people can anonymously report incidents involving gay-bashing or verbal and physical assaults. Along with fellow NDP MLA Mable Elmore, he advocated for schools to teach equality for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning in schools.

In March 2010, he married his long-time partner Romi Chandra and legally changed his name to Spencer Chandra Herbert. The couple initiated the procedure, in October 2010, to adopt a child. With the NDP, during a caucus revolt challenging the leadership of Carole James, Chandra Herbert acted as a liaison between the caucus and party members and supported James. He considered running in the ensuing leadership election but did not enter the race and did not endorse any candidate.

During the second session of the 39th Parliament, Chandra Herbert re-introduced his Long Term Tenants Protection Act, 2010 (Bill M-209). In the third session he introduced a more comprehensive act, the Residential Tenancy Amendment Act, 2011 (Bill M-205), which included giving right of first refusal to existing residents during a strata conversion and giving existing residents the option of returning to renovated apartments at a rent increase no more than would otherwise be lawful. Later the same month he introduced the Gender Identity and Expression Human Rights Recognition Act, 2011 (Bill M-207), which would have included gender identity and gender expression in the definition of sex in the BC Human Rights Code as characteristic protected from discrimination. As private member bills, they all received first reading but none were adopted.

Read more about this topic:  Spencer Chandra Herbert, Provincial Politics

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