Spencer Chandra Herbert was re-elected MLA for Vancouver West-End in 2013. He was first elected as the MLA for Vancouver - Burrard in 2008 in a by-election, and then elected as the first MLA for the new riding of Vancouver-West End in 2009.
Spencer serves as the Official Opposition Environment Critic.
He previously served as critic for Tourism, Arts and Culture and the B.C. Lottery Corporation and Gaming Policy.
A strong community activist, Spencer tackles issues head on. Twice voted Best MLA by readers of the Georgia Straight, Spencer was also voted Vancouver’s Unsung Hero by readers of the WestEnder.
Spencer stands up for the underdog. He has stood up for elderly renters facing illegal evictions, and helped them keep their homes. He has introduced Private Members Legislation to create a more balanced landlord-tenant relationship in the Residential Tenancy Act. His work to reduce homelessness led to the founding of Vancouver’s first homelessness preventing Rent Bank. His community leadership for a renewed St. Paul’s Hospital helped force the government to back down on their plans to close and move the hospital, and to commit to re-building it.
A strong advocate for equality and human rights, Spencer introduced legislation to ensure transgender individuals are explicitly protected in BC’s human rights code. He has been an active voice for the environment, and against climate change. His work in the legislature led the government naming Pacific Salmon British Columbia’s Official Fish. Spencer’s work for the creative economy and tourism industries led to the highest level of support for the BC Arts Council in BC’s history, and the restoration of an industry led tourism marketer Destination BC.
Spencer served as an elected Vancouver Park Board Commissioner from 2005-2008, where he worked to improved environmental sustainability in Vancouver’s Parks, and accessibility to programs for youth, and low income people. Before becoming an MLA Spencer was an award winning artist, and arts producer working primarily in theatre and dance. He was the associate producer of the United Nations World Urban Festival. He holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Spencer lives in the West End with his partner Romi, a community developer.
List of Accomplishments
- Keeping St Paul’s Hospital in the West End: Spencer worked with community members and groups to convince the BC Liberals to halt plans to move it out of downtown Vancouver. Spencer’s questions to Kevin Falcon, led the then Health Minister to agree that major capital dollars need to be invested in the hospital in order to ensure it is revitalized and can continue to serve the West End and downtown core. Spencer is currently working with Providence Health Care, the St. Paul's Hospital Foundation, and the wider community to further this goal.
- Opened first shelter ever in the West End: Spencer pulled together a coalition of community groups here in the West End to work with the City in order to find an ideal location for a shelter, and to press the province for resources to get it open. These efforts succeeded and the West End has had a shelter operating over the last two winters. Spencer continues to speak out about the need to address the root causes of homelessness and has participated in the Vancouver Homeless count for the past three years.
- Pushed for the aggressive combating of Hate Crimes: After much advocacy to the Attorney General, Spencer successfully lobbied to have the policy changed so that attacks which appear to be motivated by hate must be prosecuted as such. Previously it was up to the prosecutor’s discretion and in a number of cases, including Aaron Webster's, this was not done.
- Preventing homophobia in schools: Spencer has consistently pressed the Education Minister to ensure that homophobia and other forms of discrimination are not tolerated in our schools, and that every school district ensures it is taking steps to support and celebrate the diversity of our kids, and youth. Unfortunately the BC government has not acted on his recommendations, however Spencer continues to work with school boards that are showing leadership on this issue and is hopeful that progress is being made.
- Assisting tenants fighting unfair evictions: Spencer has worked with and advocated for tenants facing unfair evictions and massive rent increases. He assisted residents of the Seafield and Emerald Terrace buildings who both faced evictions and were successful in their fight to remain in their homes. Spencer and his constituency office staff work on a daily basis to assist tenants who are threatened with unlawful eviction or unfair practices.
- Long Term Tenant Protection Act: Spencer’s Private Members Bill, introduced in 2008 and amended in 2010, aimed to end the practice of landlords seeking massive rent increases above the yearly allowable amount, and in turn forcing tenants to leave or pay much higher rent.
- Anti-scalping legislation: In 2009, Spencer introduced a Private Members Bill that would make it illegal for Ticketmaster to resell tickets on its own partner websites at much higher prices thereby gouging ticket sellers.
- Advocating for Wild Salmon: In 2010, Spencer introduced a Private Members Bill to have the pacific salmon declared as BC’s provincial fish, in order to champion the protection of this threatened species. He participated in the Paddle for Wild Salmon from New Westminster to Musquem territory in order to raise the profile about this issue.
- Restoration of gaming grants: Spencer lead the fight in the legislature to get the BC Liberals to honour agreements they had signed with thousands of charities who receive multi-year gaming funds. After three days of outcry and debate the government folded and gave $20 million back to charities. Spencer also worked with a coalition of arts groups to get $7 million restored to the BC Arts Council.
- Promoting the West End business district: Spencer currently sits on the West End Business Improvement Association’s Marketing Committee and is working to ensure that local businesses are promoted and marketed to the benefit of our community.
- Assisting constituents: Spencer and his constituency office help constituents on a daily basis with a variety of problems including: finding housing for homeless residents, getting seniors rental assistance or into supportive housing, and helping people navigate their way through the medical system and MSP.