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Jamie Lee Hamilton to seek park board nomination on NPA slate

Perennial queer political candidate Jamie Lee Hamilton says she will seek a place on the Non-Partisan Association slate for the Vancouver Park Board elections this November.

If successful, Hamilton would join already nominated queer candidate Laura McDiarmid.

Hamilton has twice run for political office. She ran for council in 1996 and in 2005, when she campaigned under the moniker Queen of Hearts.

This year, she’s Queen of the Parks.

With the 2010 Winter Olympics falling during the tenure of the next board, the transgendered hopeful says the board needs a commissioner who will be a voice for not only the queer community but also for sex workers and the poor.

Long an advocate of sex workers’ rights, Hamilton says all groups enrich the fabric of the city and have a right to express themselves as the Olympics take place.

“We can’t sweep away social conditions or problems we might deem inappropriate for the world to see,” Hamilton says. “It’s the fabric of Vancouver that I think is unique to us.”

Hamilton points to recent news reports of RCMP stopping motorists near UBC’s Wreck Beach and telling them gay men were cruising in the area.

She says the incidents are a sign of increasing intolerance prior to the Games. She says elected officials have a duty to oppose such intolerance.

One such initiative she she suggests to help the queer community face intolerance is providing support to The Centre.

She says the park board can work with city council to ensure The Centre is accessible and multi-faceted in its programming.

Hamilton says the park board work not only deals with parks and public spaces, arts programming, recreation, cultural activities, and seniors and youth issues, but also emerging social issues.

“We see rising homelessness in Stanley Park and other parks and we must immediately address these matters,” she says.

Further, she adds, the number of homeless youth and at-risk youth without adequate supports is significant and needs to be addressed.

She says all government bodies should work cooperatively to find “smart compassionate solutions which address these hardships, inequities and challenges facing far too many younger citizens.”

Hamilton is a Pride director and also sits on the board of the Prostitution Alternatives Counseling and Education society.

The NPA nomination meeting is Sep 13.

At a June nomination meeting the NPA endorsed the nomination of commissioner McDiarmid as well as those of Christopher Richardson, Ian Robertson and Sharon Urton.

Current queer parks commissioner Spencer Herbert announced in May he will be seeking the NDP’s nomination to run for the Vancouver-West End seat in the provincial legislature next year.