Stan Shawn (photo from Stan Shawn)
Stan Shawn wants to become the first Sephardi member of Parliament from British Columbia.
The Vancouver realtor is seeking the Conservative party nomination in Vancouver-Centre, hoping to take on Liberal Hedy Fry, who has held the seat for 22 years. Shawn believes changes to the riding boundaries could help his party seize the seat, one of only two the Liberals won in the province during the last election. The riding comprises the downtown peninsula and northern Kitsilano.
“Maybe people have the sense that it’s not that winnable because Hedy Fry has been there since 1993 and people don’t really have a lot of faith in anybody opposing her, but I actually have confidence that I’ll do a pretty good job,” said Shawn.
Shawn is a director of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and president of the board’s Westside Vancouver division. He is a graduate of Western Washington University and taught in Richmond public schools for a time.
Shawn came to Vancouver at the age of two. He was born to Iraqi Jewish parents in Bangkok, Thailand. His father was founding president of Beth Hamidrash, Vancouver’s Sephardi synagogue, and his mother was the first sisterhood president. Shawn later became president of the synagogue himself. As a teenager, he attended Camp Miriam. He attended Vancouver Talmud Torah and public schools. He spent two stints living in Israel during the 1970s and ’80s.
He is getting involved in politics now, he said, because he “wanted to do something more significant for the general community.”
“I’m really turned on by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper,” he said. “I think it’s just the best possible government we could have. I like their policies on security, community security, fighting racism and antisemitism … support of Israel absolutely is one of my favorites.”
Shawn hopes people who live in the riding of Vancouver-Centre will join the Conservative party and support his bid for the nomination. The party has not yet set the date for the nomination vote but individuals must be members of the party for 21 days in order to vote. Information is at vote.stanshawn.com.
“The Jewish community has benefited greatly by Stephen Harper’s government and we owe it to them to support the Conservative government because there’s never been anything like them,” said Shawn. “If people know anything about history, there’s never been anything like the Conservative party government insofar as being steadfast in supporting the Jewish people and Israel.”
The Conservative party did not respond to email or telephone messages requesting the names of other candidates for the Vancouver-Centre nomination.
Pat Johnson is a Vancouver writer and principal in PRsuasiveMedia.com.