Thursday, February 18, 2016 


Making Her Mark

First native woman MLA joins party in Legislature 

Marielle Tounsi, NDP Caucus


Melanie Mark signs in at the Legislature on Wednesday.


wearing in new members to the legislature and making history in the process is always exciting, but it is typical of the B.C. New Democrats.


“Once again the B.C New Democrats are making history,” said New Democrat Leader John Horgan.

Melanie Mark was sworn in as the first-ever First Nations woman to become a B.C. MLA. Jodie Wickens was sworn in as MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, and became the youngest member of the legislature. Both women won seats in the two recent by-elections.

“With victories in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain and Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, there isn’t a mountain we can’t climb,” Horgan said.

Horgan pointed out 10 firsts for New Democrat Members of the B.C. Legislative Assembly:

• Frank Calder was elected in 1949, the first elected person of aboriginal descent
• Rosemary Brown was first Black woman
• Emery Barnes was first Black man
• Moe Sihota was first Indo-Canadian
• Jenny Kwan was first Chinese person
• Tim Stevenson was first openly gay man
• Carole James was first Aboriginal-Metis woman
• Mable Elmore was the first Filipino
• Jane Shin was first Korean woman
• Melanie Mark is the first First Nations woman.

“These two new MLAs are the face of the modern British Columbia and the B.C. New Democrats,” said Horgan. “We are in a state of renewal and growth, helping us to fight hard for a united British Columbia where everyone shares in prosperity.”


B.C. New Democrat leader John Horgan welcomed two new members who will bring further energy to the Official Opposition shadow cabinet. 


“Jodie Wickens and Melanie Mark represent a renewed energy and diversity to the B.C. New Democrat caucus, and they will be powerful voices for their communities and for all British Columbians," said Horgan. 


Horgan appointed Jodie Wickens, MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, to the role of deputy spokesperson for education and Melanie Mark, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, to the role of deputy spokesperson for housing. 

"These two women are extraordinary community leaders, but also mothers, daughters, colleagues and neighbours. They represent the best of so many British Columbians, bringing their passion for education, family, children, and our province's most vulnerable to the legislature," said Horgan, “Like all British Columbians, they want an economy what works for everyone, not just the few or fortunate.”

Horgan also announced some other changes to his shadow cabinet. Most notably George Heyman will become the spokesperson on the environment, Spencer Chandra Herbert will take on responsibility for Arts, Culture and Tourism, and David Eby will be responsible for Translink. 


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