Meet Kennedy


I was elected the 40th Mayor of Vancouver on October 20, 2018 – the first independent Mayor in three decades. Since you invested your trust in me, I have worked hard to address the most urgent issues facing our city.

From affordable housing to the overdose crisis, from protecting our environment to restoring faith in city hall, we face significant challenges in Vancouver that call for real solutions. By coming together, I believe we can make Vancouver a city that works for all of us.

Kennedy with his Grandma

My passion for making our city more compassionate and inclusive is rooted in my lived experience here. When I was young, economic instability caused mortgage rates to spike, and my dad became unemployed. My family went bankrupt and lost everything -- including our home.

I was born in Nova Scotia, but in 1989 I decided to move to Vancouver with only $100 in my pocket! I worked odd jobs like delivering beer, running a printing press, and playing in rock bands before joining the City of Vancouver's planning department, where I fell in love with how cities worked.

Kennedy on stage at the Commodore Ballroom

This newfound passion led me to study urban politics and policy as part of my Masters’s degree at Simon Fraser University before completing a Ph.D. on world cities at the London School of Economics in the UK.

I moved back to Vancouver in 2002 to take a position at SFU's School of Public Policy. As a tenured professor there, I wrote, taught, and provided advice to governments and the United Nations about cities and housing. During this time, I also met, fell in love, and married my wife, Dr. Jeanette Ashe, Chair of the Douglas College Department of Political Science.

But after seeing the crisis of affordable housing and homelessness build, I decided to take a break from my work at SFU and run for office under the leadership of Jack Layton. Elected as a Member of Parliament in 2011, I served in Ottawa for seven years, fighting climate change and increasing federal investment in affordable housing.

Kennedy with his wife Jeanette

Kennedy with Jack Layton

Today, as your Mayor, I remain committed to building a sustainable, carbon-free economy while making sure we keep housing costs low and the quality of public services high.

As a long-time renter in downtown Vancouver, my biggest focus is to deliver the affordable housing we need.

From homes to lift neighbours off the streets to better rental options for working families to homeownership for the middle-class, building a Vancouver that works for all of us starts at people’s front door.



I encourage you to learn more by visiting my web pages covering