Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) president John Boychuk is putting his name forward as an independent candidate for city council in this Nov 15 municipal elections.
While Boychuk, 43, has been affiliated with both Vision Vancouver and the Non-Partisan Association in the past, he says he decided to stand as an independent because it’s time for individual responsibility at council.
He says party politics has dominated the city for too long. “I’ve decided if I’m going to represent the people of this city, I’m going to do so as an independent voice not swayed by party politics,” he says.
“I’ve never been one to have a muzzle put on myself,” he adds. “I’ll ask the questions that need to be asked.”
And, he says, many of those questions revolve around the Downtown Eastside, housing, transit, the environment and looking beyond the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
“Nobody cares about the Olympics,” he contends. “People know they’re coming. What’s after that? People think we’re not looking [beyond] 2010. We’ve got some big opportunities. It’s growth and development.”
Similarly, he notes, people are tired of hearing about the problems of the Downtown Eastside and of housing problems. There have been too many studies and reports and not enough action to solve the problems, he argues. “Someone needs to push,” he says.
It’s the same with the Insite and Onsite drug facilities, Boychuk continues.
“Addiction requires support,” the New Westminster native says. “Has there been that support? God no.”
And, there’s frustration around transit too, he says. With more and more people coming to the city, the entire transit system — as well as the road infrastructure — needs to be more efficient, he says.
Boychuk also sees an innovative way for the queer community to deal with the issue of a new home for The Centre.
Right now, he says, too many queer organizations are paying rents in separate locations. If they were all to come together and pay that money to a mortgage, everything could be under one roof, he says.
Boychuk is in the last year of a three-year term as Pride society president. He will demit office at the VPS’ AGM scheduled for Nov 1.
A small businessman, he’s also involved with InterPride, which Vancouver will play host to Oct 23-26.
Boychuk also serves as vice-president in charge of arts funding for the national Pride board.
He married his partner Paul Allen just over three years ago.