West End Votes—Candidate Profile: Hedy Fry

Hedy Fry
Liberal Party of Canada
(604) 566-3343
Social Media:  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  TikTok

Question 1: Housing Affordability 
Approximately 80% of West End residents currently rent their homes. Many neighbours are concerned that rental prices and living expenses are rising exponentially faster than household incomes. What will you do to address rising inequality and housing unaffordability? 
Hedy Fry:
We created Canada’s National Housing Strategy, a 10-year plan to invest over $72 billion, and worked with the provinces and territories, cities, and private sector to increase housing supply and affordability. Our government brought in legislation stating that housing is a human right. We will move forward with a three-part housing plan: unlock home ownership through a Rent-To-Own program and tax-free First Home Savings Account; build more homes through a Housing Accelerator Fund and an increased National Housing Co-investment fund; and protect your rights through a new Home Buyer’s Bill of Rights banning blind bidding, ensuring transparency, preventing ‘renovictions’, and introducing an anti-flipping tax.

Question 2: Homelessness
What will you do to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness, and prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place?  
Hedy Fry:
People are homeless for different reasons – some don’t have a place to live, some are escaping abusive situations, some have mental health issues or substance use disorders. Types of shelter necessary depend on the individual’s needs. We have been working on a Rapid Housing Initiative with the City of Vancouver and plan to continue our work to provide housing for all.

Question 3: Opioids
The opioid overdose crisis has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, and BC has reported record numbers of opioid-related deaths, emergency calls, and hospitalizations. We can all play a role in supporting those who use substances and have substance use disorders. What will you do to address this national crisis?  

Hedy Fry:
Many factors are necessary: prevention, harm reduction, safe supply, accessibility to naloxone, safe shelter for those with substance use disorders, field assistance, and access to treatment. The City of Vancouver has submitted a research project for the city along with UBC and other research protocols to look at how decriminalization of simple possession would work.

Question 4: Reconciliation
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission 
produced 94 Calls to Action which have become the leading document for revealing the impact of violent colonization of Indigenous lands and peoples, and the pathway to reconciliation for settler societies and all levels of government. Some organizations claim that only 8 of the 94 Calls to Action have been implemented. What concrete plans do you have to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action in the next four years? 
Hedy Fry:
Canada’s treatment of Indigenous Peoples remains a shameful part of Canada’s history. And there is no relationship more important to our government than that with Indigenous Peoples. Infrastructure and socio-economic gaps remain large, but working in partnership, we are making important progress. Since 2015, we have been working hand-in-hand with Indigenous communities to end boil water advisories; there were 105 in place in 2015, and we have since lifted 109. We also prevented another 181 from becoming long-term advisories. Currently, there are no long-term boil water advisories in BC.

80% of the 94 TRC calls to action under federal jurisdiction are completed or on the way. We will continue to work together with Indigenous partners. This is reconciliation in action.

The immediate-past National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, noted there has been measurable progress made by the Liberal government including passing of legislation such as Bill C-5, designation a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th; Bill C-8, to amend the citizenship oath to include a promise to respect Aboriginal and treaty rights; and Bill C-15, which incorporates the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into Canadian law. Over the past six years more than $40 billion in new investments have been made with Indigenous partners. There’s much more to do, but by working together, we will continue to close existing gaps. In a recent interview, Inuit Tapirit Kanatami President Natan Obed noted “we are just coming off of a federal budget that dedicated more funding to First Nations, Inuit and Métis than any other federal budget before.”

Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples is about relationships, partnerships, and resources to build a new relationship based on respect and affirmation of rights.

Question 5: Food Security
Food insecurity is on the rise and now affects one in seven Canadians. Many families, young adults, and seniors can’t afford food, or worry about running out with no money to buy more. A root cause of food insecurity is poverty. How is your party planning to decrease poverty and food insecurity?
Hedy Fry:
We plan to help people who can and wish to work by providing training leading to jobs and raising minimum wage to $15. We are expanding housing for low-income people. During COVID we worked with local farmers and agricultural producers to supply food for people and created massive food banks. Much of this food was distributed by community organizers. We have been able to reduce poverty in 900,000 seniors and aim to reduce it to zero. During COVID we gave seniors a one-time top up and are raising OAS for people over 74 which will help seniors with food insecurity. In addition, our government provided $300 million through the emergency food fund to food banks and other organizations to address food insecurity during the pandemic.

Question 6: Climate Change
This Summer, Vancouver experienced the hottest temperatures on record. Many political parties have committed to long-term plans and solutions. What will you do in the next four years to confront climate change? 
Hedy Fry:
To combat wildfires, we will invest $50 million in training over 1,000 new firefighters and $450 million for firefighting equipment. We are going to expand programs to clean up our oceans and establish a $50 million BC Fund to protect old growth forests. A strengthened Freshwater Action Plan with $1 billion over 10 years and a fully funded Canada Water Agency by 2022 will help protect our water. By 2030, we aim to end plastic pollution, require 50% of plastic packing to be recycled, ban Canadian thermal coal exports, and require oil and gas companies to reduce methane emissions to reach 75% below 2012 levels. By 2035, our goal is to build a net-zero electricity grid and mandate electric vehicles. The Liberal plan was rated an 8/10 by climate expert Mark Jaccard & endorsed by former BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. No other party received this

Question 7: Health Care
Many neighbours are concerned about the underfunding of mental health services in comparison to physical health. What will you do to ensure all Canadians—regardless of income—can access the complete care they need?

Hedy Fry:
During COVID, we saw gaps in the healthcare system and where it needed strengthening. $8 out of every $10 spent during COVID was from the federal government. We need to ensure compliance from the provinces and territories. We also will introduce national long-term care standards, mental health funds and initiatives, and continue working on Pharmacare and accessibility for all to a primary care physician.

Question 8: What is your favorite place on the downtown peninsula, and why?
Hedy Fry:
It is a toss-up between English Bay and the Stanley Park lookout where you can look out to the great Pacific Ocean stretching in the distance.

End of Questions.
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