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Kennedy Stewart (Canadian politician)

Edward Charles Kennedy Stewart (born November 8, 1966) is a Canadian politician and academic serving as the 40th and current mayor of Vancouver since 2018.[1][2] He previously was the member of Parliament (MP) for the riding of Burnaby—Douglas (2011–2015) and Burnaby South (2015–2018), serving in the House of Commons as a member of the New Democratic Party (NDP) caucus.[3]

Kennedy Stewart
40th Mayor of Vancouver
Assumed office
November 5, 2018
Preceded byGregor Robertson
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Burnaby South
In office
October 19, 2015 – September 14, 2018
Preceded byRiding established
Succeeded byJagmeet Singh
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Burnaby—Douglas
In office
May 2, 2011 – October 19, 2015
Preceded byBill Siksay
Succeeded byRiding dissolved
NDP Science Critic
In office
June 19, 2012 – September 14, 2018
Preceded byHélène LeBlanc
Succeeded byTBD
NDP BC Caucus Chair
In office
December 9, 2015 – September 14, 2018
Preceded byMurray Rankin
Succeeded byTBD
Personal details
Edward Charles Kennedy Stewart

(1966-11-08) November 8, 1966 (age 52)
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Political partyIndependent
Other political
New Democratic
Spouse(s)Jeanette Ashe
ResidenceVancouver, British Columbia
Alma mater
  • Politician
  • academic

In May 2018, Stewart announced his pending resignation from Parliament, in order to seek election as Mayor of Vancouver as an independent candidate.[4] In August 2018, he publicly released his letter to the Speaker of House, Geoff Regan, confirming his resignation, effective September 14, 2018. During the 2018 Vancouver municipal election, Stewart was declared the winner of the mayoral race by a margin of fewer than 1,000 votes over Ken Sim, the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) candidate.[5]

Early life and careerEdit

Stewart was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1966 and raised in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.[3] He earned his bachelor's degree in history from Acadia University.[6]

After moving to Burnaby, British Columbia, in 1988, Stewart played bass guitar for the pop music band State of Mind.[7] In 1991, his band won three West Coast Music Awards.

In 1995, Stewart received his master's degree in political science from Simon Fraser University, and a PhD in government from the London School of Economics in 2003.[8]

As an academic, Stewart has published research on citizen participation, democratic reform, and municipal governance.[3] His books include Local Government in Canada.[9]

While serving as mayor, he is on leave from Simon Fraser University's School of Public Policy, where he teaches.[10] Stewart's wife Jeanette Ashe also teaches politics, at Douglas College.

Federal politicsEdit

On March 28, 2004, Stewart won the nomination for the New Democratic Party for the federal riding of Vancouver Centre in a close three-way race. Although he lost in the 2004 general election by 4,230 votes, he increased the NDP's vote share in Vancouver Centre by 20 percentage points compared to the 2000 election.

On February 25, 2011, Stewart secured the NDP nomination for the federal riding of Burnaby—Douglas in a first ballot victory.[11] He won the riding in the 2011 general election with 44 percent of the vote, and was re-elected with 35 percent of the vote in 2015.

41st ParliamentEdit

In 2012, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair appointed Stewart as official opposition critic for science and technology and as a member of the standing committee on industry, science and technology. In Parliament, he opposed the Conservative government's elimination of the long-form census and funding cuts for basic scientific research.[12] He tabled legislation (Motion 453) to protect scientific integrity in government departments and end the muzzling of federal scientists.[13]

In 2013, Stewart introduced Bill C-558, The Parliamentary Science Officer Act. Following the elimination of Canada's National Science Advisor in 2008, the bill aimed to create an independent science watchdog tasked with providing Parliament with sound scientific information and ensuring decisions are informed by the best available evidence.[14] Bill C-558 was endorsed by Evidence for Democracy, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, and the Centre for Science in the Public Interest.[15]

Stewart put forward a proposal (Motion 428) for the House of Commons to begin accepting petitions electronically as a means to engage more Canadians in the democratic process.[16] It further proposed that short debates be triggered in Parliament if an online petition receives a significant number of signatures and is sponsored by at least five MPs. Stewart's proposal was endorsed by Ed Broadbent, Preston Manning, and a number of civil society groups.[17] Being opposed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative cabinet, Motion 428 passed the House of Commons by only two votes (142-140) on January 29, 2014.[18] It was widely viewed as a "surprise win" for the official opposition.[19]

Stewart held public consultations with Burnaby residents on Kinder Morgan's proposal to build a new export-only, bitumen-based crude oil pipeline through his riding.[20] Stewart became a vocal opponent of the project, citing community concerns over property expropriation, decreasing housing values, increased tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet, the use of temporary foreign workers, and the lack of benefits for British Columbia.[21] His constituency office helped local residents sign-up to participate in the National Energy Board's review of the project.[22] In 2013, the Burnaby Newsleader named Stewart their "Newsmaker of the Year" for his community work on the Kinder Morgan pipeline.[21]

Stewart is an advocate for social housing and federal action to address BC's housing crisis.[23] In 2014, he put forward a BC-specific affordable housing strategy (Motion 547) to recognize housing as a fundamental right, expand public investments in housing co-ops, maintain rent subsidies for low-income families, set targets for reducing and ending homelessness, and study the impact of investor speculation and housing vacancies on real estate prices.[24] His motion was endorsed by the City of Burnaby.[25]

42nd ParliamentEdit

He was re-elected in the new riding of Burnaby South in the 2015 election.

Following the election, Stewart was re-appointed by Tom Mulcair as NDP critic for science.[26]

On December 4, 2015, Parliament launched its new website for accepting electronic petitions from Canadians.[27] Under the new system, initiated by Stewart's motion that passed before the election, the federal government has to respond within 45 days to online petitions if they are sponsored by one member of Parliament and receive at least 500 signatures.[28] Stewart sponsored the first official e-petition in Canada on behalf of two local constituents.[29]

On December 9, 2015, Stewart was elected by his caucus colleagues as chair of the NDP's British Columbia caucus.[30] In a statement, he vowed to support the NDP's newly elected MPs getting established in Parliament, strengthen engagement with stakeholders and constituents across the province, and hold the new Liberal government accountable for its election promises on affordable housing and pipeline reviews.[30]

2018 contempt of courtEdit

On March 23, 2018, Stewart was arrested for civil contempt during a demonstration against the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Other members of the demonstration, including fellow member of Parliament Elizabeth May, were also arrested concerning the same incident. They were accused of violating a court order requiring those demonstrating to stay five metres back from company work sites, when they allegedly blocked the roadway.[31] On April 9, 2018, Justice Kenneth Affleck of the British Columbia Supreme Court recommended that Stewart and the others arrested should be charged with criminal contempt in relation to the alleged incident.[32][33][34] On April 16, 2018, it was reported that special prosecutors would be overseeing the charges against Stewart and May.[35] On May 14, 2018, Stewart pleaded guilty to criminal contempt of court for his actions during the protest and was fined $500. As criminal contempt is a common law—not a Criminal Code—offence, Stewart does not have a criminal record.[36][37]

Vancouver municipal politicsEdit

Stewart announced on May 10, 2018, that he will be resigning from Parliament in order to run to be the mayor of Vancouver.[4][38] His resignation was effective September 14, 2018 (the last day he can file his paperwork to officially enter the mayoral race).[39] Until his resignation is official on September 14, Stewart told CBC News he intends to continue to campaign for mayor and collect his MP salary, saying that there is "overlap" between both roles.[40] On May 24, 2018, Stewart announced, if elected mayor, he would create a lobbyist registry and new conflict-of-interest rules for City Hall.[41]

During the 2018 Vancouver municipal election, Stewart was unofficially declared the winner of the mayoral race by a margin of fewer than 1000 votes over NPA candidate Ken Sim.[5] Stewart is the first mayor of Vancouver to be unaffiliated with a municipal political party in over 30 years.[1]

Electoral recordEdit

2018 Vancouver municipal election: Mayor of Vancouver
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Kennedy Stewart 49,705 28.71
NPA Ken Sim 48,748 28.16
Independent Shauna Sylvester 35,457 20.48
Coalition Vancouver Wai Young 11,872 6.86
Yes Vancouver Hector Bremner 9,924 5.73
Vancouver 1st Fred Harding 5,640 3.26
ProVancouver David Chen 3,573 2.06
Independent Sean Cassidy 1,536 0.89
IDEA Vancouver Connie Fogal 1,435 0.83
Independent Mike Hansen 951 0.55
Independent Jason Lamarche 695 0.40
Independent Rollergirl 686 0.40
Independent Ping Chan 653 0.38
Independent John Yano 510 0.29
Independent Tim Ly 349 0.20
Independent Sophia C. Kaiser 336 0.19
Independent Satwant K. Shottha 331 0.19
Independent Lawrence Massey 233 0.13
Independent Katy Le Rougetel 181 0.10
Independent Gölök Z. Buday 178 0.10
Independent Maynard Aubichon 139 0.08
2015 Canadian federal election: Burnaby South
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Kennedy Stewart 16,094 35.07 −8.93 $177,796.68
Liberal Adam Pankratz 15,547 33.88 +22.16 $33,613.38
Conservative Grace Seear 12,441 27.11 −12.51 $83,392.49
Green Wyatt Tessari 1,306 2.85 −0.76 $790.18
Libertarian Liz Jaluague 499 1.09
Total valid votes/Expense limit 45,887 100.00   $207,659.75
Total rejected ballots 275 0.60
Turnout 46,162 60.78
Eligible voters 75,950
New Democratic hold Swing −15.55
Source: Elections Canada[42][43][44]
2011 Canadian federal election: Burnaby—Douglas
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Kennedy Stewart 20,943 42.99 +5.05
Conservative Ronald Leung 19,932 40.92 +4.67
Liberal Ken Low 5,451 11.19 -8.22
Green Adrianne Merlo 1,754 3.60 -2.37
Libertarian Lewis Clarke Dahlby 420 0.86
Communist George Gidora 155 0.32 -0.11
Marxist–Leninist Brian Sproule 57 0.12
Total valid votes 48,710 100.0  
New Democratic hold Swing +0.19
2004 Canadian federal election: Vancouver Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Hedy Fry 21,280 40.30 -2.00 $66,619
New Democratic Kennedy Stewart 17,050 32.29 +20.25 $57,675
Conservative Gary Mitchell 10,139 19.20 -18.70 $73,789
Green Robbie Mattu 3,580 6.78 +2.85 $2,440
Libertarian John Clarke 304 0.57 $60
Christian Heritage Joe Pal 243 0.46 $389
Canadian Action Alexander Frei 101 0.19 -1.08 $100
Communist Kimball Cariou 96 0.18 +0.01 $389
Total valid votes 52,793 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 226 0.43 -0.05
Turnout 53,019 61.47 0.97
Liberal hold Swing -11.12
Change for the Conservatives is based on the combined totals of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives.


  1. ^ a b Fumano, Dan (November 6, 2018). "Collegiality reigns as Vancouver's new council starts work". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  2. ^ "Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart calls for UBC subway project to be in service by 2030". The Globe and Mail, January 23, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Kennedy Stewart bio". Parliament of Canada Biography.
  4. ^ a b Laanela, Mike. "Kennedy Stewart confirms he will run for mayor of Vancouver as independent". CBC News.
  5. ^ a b Vancouver, City of (October 20, 2018). "Election results - table". Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  6. ^ "Canada Votes 2004: Vancouver Centre". CBC News.
  7. ^ "B.C. NDP MP wants commons to accept online petitions". Vancouver Sun, February 14, 2013.
  8. ^ "Kennedy Stewart to succeed Siksay for the NDP in Burnaby-Douglas". Burnaby News Leader. February 28, 2011. Archived from the original on January 5, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  9. ^ "Local Government in Canada, 8th Edition"
  10. ^ "Kennedy Stewart" Archived May 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. SFU School of Public Policy.
  11. ^ "Kennedy Stewart nominated as the federal NDP candidate in Burnaby-Douglas". Georgia Straight. February 26, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  12. ^ "NDP Science Critic" Archived December 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. MP Website
  13. ^ "Motion 453". Parliament of Canada website
  14. ^ "Bringing Evidence Back to Palriament". Policy Options, July/August 2015
  15. ^ "Science Community Rallies Behind NDP Proposal for Independent Science Watchdog" Archived December 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Media Release
  16. ^ "Motion 428". Parliament of Canada website
  17. ^ "Preston Manning and Ed Broadbent find common ground". Vancouver Sun, February 25, 2013.
  18. ^ "Vote #43 on January 29th, 2014", Open Parliament.
  19. ^ "NDP scores surprise win on e-petitions thanks to 8 Tory MPs", CBC News, January 20, 2014.
  20. ^ "72 percent of Burnaby-Douglas opposes Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion". Burnaby News Leader, January 19, 2012.
  21. ^ a b "Newsmaker of the Year: Kennedy Stewart". Burnaby News Leader. December 26, 2013. Archived from the original on January 5, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  22. ^ "MP Kennedy Stewart wants Burnaby to have its say on Kinder Morgan pipeline". Vancouver Observer, January 24, 2014.
  23. ^ "MP Stewart to Introduced Affordable Housing Strategy" Archived December 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Burnaby Now, November 25, 2014.
  24. ^ "Motion 547". Parliament of Canada website.
  25. ^ "Council Meeting Minutes"[permanent dead link]. City of Burnaby, April 13, 2015.
  26. ^ "NDP Shadow Cabinet". NDP Website.
  27. ^ "E-Petitions and Redesigned Committee Websites". Parliament of Canada.
  28. ^ "Parliament Starts Accepting E-Petitions This Week". CBC NEWS, December 2, 2015.
  29. ^ "Burnaby Couple First in Country to File New Online Petition". Burnaby Now, December 4, 2015.
  30. ^ a b "NDP Elected Kennedy Stewart as BC Caucus Chair". Media Release.
  31. ^ Schmunk, Rhianna. "Pipeline protesters including MPs Elizabeth May, Kennedy Stewart should face criminal charge: judge". CBC News.
  32. ^ Slepian, Katya. "Elizabeth May, other anti-pipeline protesters should be criminally charged: judge". Surrey Now-Leader.
  33. ^ Canadian Press. "B.C. Supreme Court judge calls for criminal charges against Elizabeth May and Trans Mountain protesters". Calgary Herald.
  34. ^ Givetash, Linda. "Pipeline protesters including Green leader should face criminal charges: judge". CTV News.
  35. ^ Laanela, Mike. "Special prosecutors to handle federal MPs' cases after anti-pipeline protest arrests". CBC News.
  36. ^ Fraser, Keith. "MP Kennedy Stewart enters guilty plea to charge of criminal contempt for Kinder Morgan protest". Vancouver Sun.
  37. ^ CBC News. "Kennedy Stewart pleads guilty to criminal contempt for Kinder Morgan protest". CBC News.
  38. ^ Guly, Christopher. "NDP MP Kennedy Stewart Leaving Federal Scene for Run as Vancouver's Mayor". The Tyee.
  39. ^ Stewart, Kennedy [@kennedystewart] (August 2, 2018). "As promised, I've submitted my resignation letter. I'll continue my MP duties until Sept 14 when I officially file as a #Vancouver mayoral candidate. It's been a great honour to serve my constituents for the last seven years. #ndp #vanpoli" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  40. ^ Dickson, Janice (September 9, 2018). "Kennedy Stewart says there's 'overlap' between his mayoral campaign and MP duties". CBC News.
  41. ^ Vancouver Courier. "Mayoral candidate promises lobbyist registry, conflict-of-interest rules". Vancouver Courier.
  42. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Burnaby South, 30 September 2015
  43. ^ Official Voting Results – Burnaby South
  44. ^ "Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates". Archived from the original on August 15, 2015.

External linksEdit