Photo by Chung Chow
As the RCA and RITE party candidates gathered at the Richmond Curling Club to await the civic election returns, with flat screen TVs on the wall showing talking heads and election statistics from around Metro Vancouver, first-time candidate Niti Sharma said she felt completely calm.
“I want things to change for the city in a substantial way, but whether I’ll be part of that (as a city councillor) I will always be part of that as a resident. I can’t look away any more.”
Henry Yao discussing his public pro-SOGI stance he announced on Facebook, showed not only the supportive comments in English but the brutal, bitter ones denouncing him in Chinese.
“So many people have told me the support I got from them, for coming out in favour of the SOGI (provincial ministry of education’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) policy but, they don’t read Chinese,” he said.
Reading out many of the Chinese language posts which, in addition to saying strongly negative things about Yao’s character for his support of SOGI, described him as a traitor to the Chinese people and clearly said to tell people not to vote for Yao.
Yao quit his job to run full time, and that the reaction to his Facebook post further validated his reason for running; he wanted positive actions to bridge the cultural divide in our Richmond.
Jack Trovato, running for city council and a former NDP candidate in the provincial election, said it was time for a change in Richmond.
Judie Schneider milled around the gathered supporters and candidates, amongst them, Debbie Tablotney, running again for school board after a long wrestle with her conscience about whether to toss her hat in the ring.
Then the results started coming in—very slowly.
It was after midnight before all results were in.
Of the assembled group, Schneider, Trovato, Sharma and Yao didn’t make the cut. They had lost their bids to be city councillors.
Schneider sat with supporters, quietly talking and then congratulating the winners amongst the crowd.
Yao, left early looking exhausted. He felt the negative campaign against him took its toll. One of the other candidates took his arm in encouragement as he quietly left, almost unnoticed.
“I feel happy, tired. We gave it our best shot,” Trovato said after the results became clear.
He said he was happy because of the people from the RCA/RITE coalition who were elected and that he was tired because of how hard they had all worked.
“We’re very pleased at the results this evening. We’ve got a wonderful group of people (who) appear to be elected.”
Trovato said that while they wished that more of their slate had gotten in, they were “very happy that the citizens of Richmond have made a choice for more progressive voices.”
And what’s next for Trovato?
He will be putting the finishing touches on his high school drama classes’ production of George Orwell’s dystopian novel about a world ruled by a regime that uses false news and thuggery to control the populace, “1984.”