In our ongoing efforts to encourage you to mom the vote, we’ve recently connected with two moms and first-time candidates for MLA, to hear more about what’s inspiring them to get involved. Up first, we’re sharing our conversation with Selina Robinson, who’s running for the BC NDP in Coquitlam-Maillardville. She’s currently serving as a City Councillor in Coquitlam, where she is a long-term resident, and where she raised her children.
We know that you can visit the party’s websites, and connect with your local candidates, if you want detailed information on platforms and policies. For our conversation with Selina, we wanted a more personal approach, so we opened by asking if there’s something that people are surprised to learn about her. She replied, “I was a surrogate mom 12 years ago.” Through her experience as a surrogate, Selina helped push some legislation through that changed the way that motherhood is viewed in BC. Previously, the woman who gave birth was defined as the mother. Selina disagreed with this, since she was not the biological mother of the baby – her friend, for whom she was acting as surrogate, supplied the egg. Under the law at the time Selina would have had to give the baby up for adoption to the biological mother. Her advocacy played a part in making sure the law was changed.
“My Children Inspire Me”
Clearly, Selina has a history of acting as a change-maker. But for our mom the vote series we wanted to know what inspired her to throw her hat into the ring as a candidate. Her response? “My children – they always inspire me. They said, ‘Mom, you have to do this.'” They gave her own words back to her about seizing opportunities and using your voice. She knew she had to take the leap.
Why did Selina choose the BC NDP, though, specifically? She said, “You have to look at your values.” For Selina, the NDP’s stance on issues related to social justice resonated. In her mind, it’s not enough to have a strong economy, if some British Columbians are excluded. She said, “We need to make sure that everyone has the ability to participate.”
Mom the Vote for Families
We asked Selina how her party meets the needs of families. She said, “Families need access to childcare, and early learning outcomes need to be improved.” She pointed to the NDP’s Early Years Innovation Fund, as an example of her party’s policies. She also feels the party is best positioned to improve the public education system, particularly when it comes to helping special needs children. But it doesn’t end there, as Selina said, “As our children get older, they need access to post-secondary education and skills training.” She pointed to the NDP’s plan to establish a $100 million needs-based, non-repayable student grant program, and added, “The investments we make today around access to skills training – my children will not benefit. It’s your children.”
No conversation about families in Vancouver would be complete without addressing housing. Of the NDP, Selina said, “We’ve committed to working together collaboratively with different groups to address issues around affordable housing.” She explained that all levels of government need to get involved to really improve housing – local, provincial and federal. She said that the NDP wants to ensure affordable housing for low and moderate income families, committing to building 1500 units of non-profit, co-operative and rental housing each year. Selina also pointed out that a good transit system can reduce the financial burden on families, by allowing them to give up their cars. In the process, money is freed up that can be spent on housing.
We’d like to thank Selina Robinson for taking the time to speak with us. At VancouverMom.ca, we don’t have any party affiliations, and we’re not endorsing any candidates. But we would like to honour everyone who is taking the step of seeking public office, regardless of their political views. Selina is an example of someone who isn’t just setting out to mom the vote, but is taking things one step further.
Photo credit: Darla Furlani