Ben was elected as a Victoria City Councillor and Regional Director on a platform of making city operations public, open and cost-effective and contributing to a fair, safe and green Victoria.
Born in Winnipeg, he received a public school education in Hebrew and French and has lived in Victoria for the past two decades.
Professionally, Ben has a background in history, law and journalism. He holds a PhD and an LLB and has written two books that challenge how we think about BC politics and Canadian history, From Victoria to Vladivostok and Militant Minority. He has taught as a professor at UVic and UBC and completed research for non-profit organizations including the BC Centre for Co-operative and Community-Based Economy and West Coast Environmental Law, the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and private-sector clients. He gained valuable hands-on experience with Victoria’s street community as a Housing Support Worker with the Victoria Cool Aid Society. He has travelled to more than 50 countries for work and recreation and shared research at international conferences in North America, Europe and Asia.
As a volunteer, Ben has a decade and a half of experience “thinking globally and acting locally,” working hard on community initiatives for equality, urban agriculture and green space protection, worker rights, housing advocacy, anti-racism, and peace. He served on the Federal Council of the New Democratic Party of Canada with Jack Layton and gained valuable local government experience on the City of Victoria’s Environment and Shoreline Advisory Committee. He has policy experience working with the University of Victoria’s Housing and Homelessness Research Working Group.
Since winning election to public office, Ben has developed a reputation as a respected and outspoken advocate for open government, for strong and cost-effective public services, and for expansion of greenways and parks in the city and CRD. His committee portfolio includes serving as a director of the Provincial Capital Commission, a crown corporation, and appointments to the regional Coalition to End Homelessness, the regional water board, the city’s infrastructure committee, and the CRD finance and parks committees. He has earned respect from citizens across the political spectrum for his work as liaison to the diverse Rockland and Hillside-Quadra neighbourhoods.
Ben lives with his family in Victoria and enjoys outdoor recreation and travel in his spare time. He counts himself among the optimists who believe that a better world — and community — are necessary and possible.