VICTORIA – The former New Democratic minister, who is likely to make her final speech in Congress on Wednesday, is proud of her accomplishments despite working in a facility she called a “torture chamber.” ing.
Melanie Mark held onto her eagle wings, wore her grandfather’s beaded suede jacket, and looked forward to her life ahead as she reflected on her political career.
Mark is the first First Nations woman to serve in BC. When she was elected and served in her cabinet for the first time, she wiped her tears, describing her struggle as an advocate for change in the “colonial system.”
“There are many things I am proud of, but this journey has been challenging and personally costly.” “The place felt like a torture chamber. In fact, the political environment is hot and dysfunctional.”
She entered politics to defend misfits in society and to defend those who have no voice or who do not vote. “People need to know that their lives matter,” Mark said. “We need to be less partisan and have the courage to do what is right.”
But she said she often encountered bureaucracies that resisted change. Especially when those bureaucrats met someone with an indigenous perspective.
“It is also true that institutions are fundamentally resistant to change,” Mark said. “They are allergic to doing different things, especially in institutions like the
Legislative Assembly and government as a whole.”
Mark, 47, said she was the first in her family to graduate from high school and the first to receive a post-secondary education. She has moved more than 30 times in her life so far and has lived in “poverty” somewhere, she estimates.
Prime Minister David Evey has confirmed that Mark will bring her life experience to Parliament and that it is part of her job to represent the people of BC…Maybe.
“She changed this place,” he said. “She changed the state.”
Liberal House leader Todd Stone said Mark was a pioneer in paving the way for more Indigenous peoples to join Congress.
“She’s someone who has always brought that passion to her work,” he said.
Indigenous greenhouse gas leader Adam Olsen said the mark made Congress a more welcoming place for all
“Today we are saddened by the paddles down in our community,” he said.
Vancouver Mount Pleasant MP recently returned from a six-month sick leave and said his last day he expects will be in late March.
She said she wouldn’t give up, but she stood up for herself and she puts herself and her two daughters first.
Mark, who said she was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, described herself as “a Ferrari with bike brakes.”
She resigned from the Cabinet’s department in charge of tourism, arts, culture and sports last September and took her leave due to her health.
“She has no regrets,” Mark said. “I made a mistake, but you can’t turn back time. In many ways, I’ve come here to change.”
Mark said her proudest moment in Congress was when, as secretary of state for higher education, the government waived supervised youth tuition “so young kids like me could have a chance.” He said it was when he helped promote the policies of the
Mark, who was first elected in 2016, said her work in the legislature helped found the world’s first Indigenous law school at the University of Victoria, and she offered an Indigenous language course in B.C. she said. University.
Former Prime Minister John Horgan earlier this month accelerated his retirement by choosing to relinquish Langford Juan de Fuca’s seat next month, rather than previously planning to stay in office until the fall 2024 elections. announced.
No by-elections were called for either Hogan’s Victoria Area riding or Mark’s Vancouver his Mount Pleasant riding.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published in February. 22nd, 2023.
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