VOTE: General Election Candidate Q&A (James Marshall BC Greens)

Candidate: James Marshall

Party: BC Greens


Social media: Facebook Twitter Instagram

Other Contact Information:

  1. Why should West End residents vote for you?

a) Over the past three years, the BC Greens have shown what they’re able to accomplish with a small caucus of only 3 MLAs. I believe that our policy ideas are the best out there, and we need more MLAs in office in order to make them a reality. I would be committed to doing the work to move BC forward, solve problems, and increase the wellbeing of British Columbians and our planet.

b) My extended bio can be found on my candidate website. My background is in software development, but I also spent the last several years writing and publishing a book on ecological political thought. I got into politics in 2015 out of frustration after Justin Trudeau abandoned his promises on electoral reform.

2. In a recent survey, Gordon Neighbourhood House members identified housing as their top concern. We applaud the recent acquisition of the Buchan Hotel and other properties in the West End for supportive housing with complimentary supports. Despite these recent openings, we still face a shortage of supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness. Additionally, many millennials and seniors have marginal or fixed incomes that have not kept up with the rising cost of living. How are you committed to housing those in need, and preventing others from becoming homeless?

The BC Green housing platform can be found on our website. It has a few specific priorities, one of which is to close the gap on unaffordable rents by introducing a subsidy for low and middle income renters spending more than 30% of their income on rents. It also prioritizes stabilizing strata insurance rates, and encouraging more non-market forms of housing such as co-ops and land trusts. Primarily, it’s about treating housing as a home rather than just a vehicle for speculators to profit from.

3. The Opioid Crisis has now claimed more than 3,000 lives in BC at a rate of almost 5 people every day. As an organization, we believe that substance use disorder is a public health emergency and not a criminal justice issue. What are you committed to doing to prevent overdose deaths due to illicit drug toxicity, and what will you do to support neighbours struggling with substance use disorder?

In Vancouver, the Greens are running a couple of candidates with specific expertise on these issues. Scott Bernstein is the director of Policy for the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition and is running as the candidate for Kingsway. He recently wrote an op-ed on these topics. Nazanin Moghadami is a clinical counselor specializing in trauma and addictions, and is running in Kensington. She also wrote a recent op-ed on mental health. As a candidate, I’ve been relying heavily on the expertise of these two amazing individuals in understanding the scope of what we need to do to address BC’s opioid and overdose crises.

The BC Green platform on the opioid crisis calls for a decriminalization of simple possession, a scale-up of safe supply, and enhanced funding for harm reduction services.

4. As an organization we are committed to supporting the leadership of Indigenous people, and implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. What is your party doing to support Indigenous peoples, and centre Indigenous knowledge and voices in your provincial public policy?

The Greens were fully supportive of adopting UNDRIP in its entirety, and have been pushing for years for it’s adoption. Over the past three years the Green caucus in Victoria has been trying to center indigenous perspectives and to elevate the voices of BC’s indigenous people.

When the BC NDP proposed Bill-22, which would have allowed for involuntary detention of people who had overdosed on drugs, the Greens heard from First Nations groups that the bill wasn’t acceptibe in its current form. The Green caucus told the NDP that they couldn’t support the bill as it was, and asked for further consultations with First Nations groups. This work was halted when the NDP called this snap election instead.

Likewise, the Greens opposed the NDP’s Bill 17 because of concerns from First Nations groups that it would harm their ability to be energy self-sufficient.

Adam Olsen, the Green MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, is a member of Tsartlip First Nation. During the Wet’suwet’en standoff earlier this year, Adam traveled to northern BC to speak with the hereditary chiefs and to try to mediate the conflict. He has spoken often in the legislature about issues of indigenous sovereignty and rights.

5. What are your specific plans, including actions and timetables, for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a substantial amount, and how will you fund and implement them?

The Greens were founded as a party that looked at all issues through an ecological lens, and it remains the focus of how we develop all of our policy and decisions. The Green plan calls for carbon neutrality in BC by 2045, with specific targets in 2025 and 2030 to make sure that governments aren’t just kicking the can down the road for a future administration to deal with.

The Greens have also called for an immediate end to oil and gas subsidies, including the massive multi-billion dollar handout that the BC NDP made to British Columbia’s fracking industry during their term.

6. Prior to COVID-19, Gordon Neighbourhood House operated the largest Food Hub on the downtown peninsula, which provided hundreds of neighbours with emergency food access. We recognize that food banks are a temporary solution, and that poverty is one of the main causes of food insecurity. What will you do to address poverty and inequality in our community?

Since the 1980s the BC Greens have been calling for an implementation of a Guaranteed Basic Income, that would provide everyone with enough income to meet their basic needs and to stay out of poverty. This idea is now starting to get picked up by other parties and the mainstream media, but it’s something that the Greens have been pushing for forty years.

7. What is your favorite memory or personal experience in the West End?

Probably the first time that the weather was nice enough for me to walk out my front door and over to Sunset Beach! We moved into our place in the West End a few years ago during the fall, so we had to wait six months before we could really enjoy the beauty and ease of living so close to the water. Being able to walk right out of my building and across the street to a cafe, grocery store, and every amenity that I could need is still something that makes me happy every time I do it. I love being able to live in a community that is dense and walkable, and doesn’t require me to have a vehicle.