First Japanese-Canadian elected to the Legislative Assembly (2009)
Naomi Yamamoto was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. After obtaining a degree in film and television studies from the University of British Columbia, she started Tora Design Group, a graphic design company, and became involved in the business community in North Vancouver.
Yamamoto served as Chair of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the North Shore Credit Union and spent six years as Director of the North Shore Neighbourhood House. She also served a six-year term on the board of Capilano College (now Capilano University), the last three years as Chair.
Yamamoto ran successfully as the B.C. Liberal Party candidate for the riding of North Vancouver-Lonsdale in the 2009 provincial general election. With her victory, she became the first Japanese-Canadian elected to the Legislative Assembly. The daughter of a parent interned at Lemon Creek, British Columbia during the Second World War, Yamamoto’s election came 60 years after Japanese women and men were finally enfranchised in British Columbia.
Re-elected in 2013, Yamamoto served in a variety of cabinet portfolios, including small business, advanced education, intergovernmental relations and emergency preparedness.