In 1994, Selina Robinson and her young family moved to Coquitlam in search of only one thing: Community. “We visited Ranch Park, saw people out in the street playing hockey, and knew immediately this was the place for us,” she says.
She’s lived in Coquitlam ever since, working as a family therapist, predominantly for SHARE Family and Community Services. Until 2007, she had no interest in a career in politics. “I was always orientated around how we make things better for people so family therapy was the natural place for me. One of the things I observed in my career was that the people who do better are those who are connected to others,” she says.
In 2007, she gave a speech in favour of the Cold Weather Mat program in Coquitlam. “Afterwards, some people asked me to run for council and I did and won a seat for the New Democrats,” she says. “I began to learn what goes into making a community function – planning, recreational facilities, costs, how we can work to ensure people’s lives are rich and fulfilling, and that they know their neighbours.”
Ms Robinson ran provincially and became MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville in 2013. She was appointed Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing after the 2017 election, and her love of community continues to be a guiding principle. “I remember asking developers when I was on council why they were building 600 sq ft apartments when they were not places for families live in,” she says. “I look after a number of things that all fit together into an affordability piece. For example, if you have good transit you don’t need a car and parking, and that can lower the cost of living and housing.”
The young family that brought Ms Robinson to Coquitlam is now grown and she’s always interested in her kids’ perspectives on issues in their community. “I’m so excited to see young people getting into politics,” she says. “I worry that they’re working so hard to pay rent that they don’t have time to engage, but I encourage them to write letters, make phone calls. They have to show up, they have to talk, and they have to tell us what their biggest concerns are so we can build strong and resilient communities together.”
Selina Robinson MLA’s office is at 102-1108 Austin Avenue, Coquitlam. Contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 604-933-2001 or visit SelinaRobinson.ca