Before being elected to the House of Commons to represent Vancouver East, Jenny Kwan represented the community as a provincial MLA for almost 20 years. She is the NDP critic for immigration, refugees and citizenship.
Kwan for born in Hong Kong and emigrated to Canada when she was nine years old. She went on to graduate from Simon Fraser University with a degree in criminology and worked as a community legal advocate in Vancouver’s downtown east side.
In 1993 Kwan became the youngest city councillor in Vancouver’s history. She ran for the provincial legislature in 1996 and became the MLA for Vancouver–Mount Pleasant. She was the first ChineseCanadian to sit in BC’s Legislative Assembly.
During her time as MLA Kwan served as Minister of Municipal Affairs, Minister of Women’s Equality and Minister of Community Development, Cooperative and Volunteers. She also served as the government’s lead in developing the Vancouver Agreement, an initiative to promote health, safety and wellbeing in the Downtown Eastside.
Kwan is divorced from Robert Small, they have two children. She speaks English and Cantonese.