Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s vice president for students Dr. Steve Cardwell will be running in Vancouver’s fall 2022 municipal election for a spot on the Vancouver School Board.
Cardwell previously served as a superintendent for the Vancouver School Board and wants to continue his over 40 years of work in public education as he runs for school board trustee.
The Vancouver municipal election will be on Oct. 15, and residents will get the opportunity to vote for a mayor, nine school board trustees, 10 city councillors, seven park board commissioners, and three capital plan questions.
Cardwell maintains his familiarity with how school districts function since he’s worked with both the Vancouver School Board and the Delta School District. With the role as a trustee, Cardwell wants to act on the issues affecting the Vancouver School Board as well as provide support to the students, teachers, and parents.
If he were to secure a spot, Cardwell wants to provide as much mental and physical health support for students. He wants to ensure students have their accessibility needs met and access safe schools in the neighbourhood.
“There is a shortage of schools in some regions of the city, Olympic Village being an area. The downtown core is another area where the schools are full, and it’s frustrating for parents who live there that they have to transport their children to other areas,” Cardwell says.
He wants to improve the resources made available to schools as well as the working conditions teachers face.
Cardwell finds issues like truth and reconciliation, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion important. He says with truth and reconciliation, the truth has to be acknowledged first before reconciliation.
“We have to … recognize that we educate all students and we support all employees and respect equity and diversity,” he says.
Cardwell will be running with Vision Vancouver for the city’s election. On their website, Vision Vancouver describes itself as a party “focused on building a progressive coalition to get things done.”
Cardwell chose to run with Vision Vancouver because their goals align with his. According to him, Vision Vancouver brings people from various communities in Vancouver together, as well as their respect and recognition of the Indigenous Peoples and the land in which Vancouver resides.
The topic of affordable housing in the city is challenging and affects students and their families, Cardwell says. Vision Vancouver and Cardwell want to make sure residents have better access to affordable housing so parents can be able to send their kids to the local schools.
Cardwell also wants to advocate for the improvements of arts, cultural awareness, and development and sports programs.
“These are the areas that students further engage in their learning, further engage in school and so become very important. They also support mental health and wellbeing for students, so these are the areas I’m strongly supportive of,” he says.
Cardwell plans to retire from his role as vice president of students at KPU. When he arrived at KPU, he planned to stay for five years, and that time frame will conclude this year.
“KPU is a wonderful place for students to get their education. I decided it’s time for me to retire and spend more time supporting through service to the community.”