Candidate Name: Spencer Chandra Herbert
Party: BC NDP
Social media: Twitter Instagram Facebook
Other Contact Information: campaign office 604-690-8993
- Why should West End residents vote for you?
I’ve had the
honour of representing the West End for many years and worked hard to make sure
the needs of our community were being heard in Victoria. It was a huge change
to suddenly be in government instead of opposition as of 3 years ago, and more
has been done for the West End and for our Province than was done in the
previous 9 years! Some examples are: a new urgent primary health care centre
downtown, major reforms to protect renters, new childcare spaces (including at
GNH), and real action on homelessness, and support to address mental health
challenges (also at GNH!)
still so much work to be done and I want to continue working closely with you
and a strong government in Victoria. I will continue to be accessible and
responsive to folks who get in touch with me at my office or see me out on the
street – all of your feedback and suggestions allow me to be a better
representative for this community, thank you so much.
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?
housing has been something I’ve worked on for years. I helped found the
Vancouver Rent Bank to help folks with unexpected crises, and chaired the Government’s
Rental Task Force. Over the last few years I’ve worked to decrease massive rent
increases by banning geographic rent increases, and closing loopholes for fixed
term leases. I also pushed for an enforcement unit of the Residential Tenancy
Branch, which was created recently and has helped people with serious ongoing
BC NDP government will freeze rents until 2021, including any rent increases
you might have received in August or September. We are promising a $1000 COVID-19
benefit for families ($500 for individuals), and a $400 rebate for renters.
Home owners get grants, so renters should as well!
continue to fund affordable housing, including supportive housing, to bring
people indoors and provide them with the support services they need, including
- continuing to build new supportive housing, towards a goal of 5,000 new supportive homes through our 10-year plan;
- developing new, Complex Care housing, providing an increased level of support – including more access to nurses and psychiatrists – for the most vulnerable who need more intensive care than supportive housing provides; and
- investing in rent supplements, to help those who have stabilized in supportive housing and are ready to move into the private rental market, creating space in existing supportive housing to help more people experiencing homelessness who need on-site supports.
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?
pandemic, our efforts to tackle the opioid crisis were making a difference, and
we saw the first drop in the rate of overdose deaths since 2012. We had a lot
more to do, but things were heading in the right direction. When COVID-19 hit,
and the crisis escalated, we responded across the full continuum of care –
opening new treatment facilities and doubling youth treatment beds, increasing
overdose prevention services, providing more outreach teams, and giving people
greater access to prescription medication alternatives.
There is more
work to do to tackle these challenges and get more people the treatment and
healthcare they need, but continuing our work to help prescribers separate more
people from the toxic drug supply through safe prescription alternatives is a
key part of our overall efforts.
platform includes many different items to work on this strategy, as there is
not a one-size fits all solution. We need to make significant investments in
the supports needed to address the impacts of the housing crisis in our
- New Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams
in communities to provide on-the-ground care for people with severe mental
health challenges and help reduce interactions with police.
- New funding for more mental health and
community social service workers to ensure there are more frontline workers to
respond to needs in communities, and take pressure off police so they can focus
on serious crime; and
- Providing $100 million in grants for local governments
to help support them in responding to community concerns around street disorder
and community safety.
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?
Our government was proud to be the first jurisdiction in Canada to bring the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People into law. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act is an important step in the journey of reconciliation, but there is much more to do. As our platform lays out, priorities for a re-elected NDP government would include:
- Moving further towards long-term agreements
that provide greater self-determination: The Province’s relationship with
Indigenous peoples will continue to move from short-term transactional
arrangements to long-term agreements that recognize and support reconciliation,
self-determination, and economic independence. We know that land will play an
important role in these agreements.
- Partnering with Indigenous peoples through
evolving shared decision making: The 2019 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples Act has set the table for more meaningful shared decision making. As we
move forward with key decisions on regional land and resource use allocation,
we will partner with First Nations, providing a clear, stable and sustainable
path for everyone to work together. An example of how this can lead to better
outcomes for everyone is the work done with local First Nations around the
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?
BC NDP are
proud to have brought the CleanBC plan to our province. Developed together with
Dr. Andrew Weaver, CleanBC is both a climate action plan and an economic plan.
It is about putting British Columbia on the path to a cleaner, better future –
with a low carbon economy that creates new, clean-energy jobs and opportunities
for all while protecting our clean air, land and water. CleanBC is the
strongest climate action plan on the continent. It will reduce our emissions by
40% by 2030 compared to 2007 levels. That is an ambitious target but we know we
must go even further. That is why our 2020 platform commits to reaching net
zero emissions by 2050. To get there, our platform doubles down on the CleanBC
plan with specific measures to strengthen and expand it.
platform expands and strengthens our CleanBC plan to reduce our industrial
emissions, including in the oil and gas sector. A re-elected BC NDP government
- Ramp up CleanBC’s industrial emissions
strategy: We’ll provide additional funding for our CleanBC industrial emissions
strategy so that more mines, pulp mills, oil and gas processing plants, and
other industrial facilities can reduce harmful emissions and move to cleaner
- Expand CleanBC and our zero-emissions vehicle
program to industrial vehicles: With heavy vehicles being a large and growing
source of harmful emissions, it’s essential we move now to green-up BC
industrial transportation. We will expand CleanBC’s SUVI program to get more
trucks, buses, ports, airports, and marine vessels off fossil fuels.
- Employ best-in-the-world emission detection:
To make sure our reduction goals are being met, we’ll employ world-leading
regulations and technologies to detect and reduce harmful methane emissions.
- Fast-track our industrial electrification
strategy: By working with the federal government and BC Hydro, we can expand
electrification infrastructure to make it easier for industries to go green.
- Reviewing royalties from an environmental
lens: We will conduct a comprehensive review of oil and natural gas royalty
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?
to our investments in housing to help those experiencing homelessness already,
our actions to reduce poverty, improve access to employment and education, and
increase opportunities for marginalized communities will help to reduce the
chances of people ending up homeless in the first place. The effectiveness of
the prevention actions taken to date, and the development of additional
opportunities to prevent homelessness in the first place, are being guided by
team in the new Office of Homelessness Coordination, put in place as part of
our poverty reduction strategy, which is responsible for the bi-annual
province-wide homelessness count, and is assisting government to identity and
address the root causes of homelessness in our province.
7. What is your favorite memory or personal experience in the West End?
One of my most precious memories of the
West End for me is when my husband and I brought our almost newborn son out for
our first walk as a family through the neighbourhood, and down to Stanley Park.
It felt like everyone we passed, no matter if they were a stranger, or a friend
was a family member, wanting to meet the newest addition to our community’s
family. And offering their support to us as a new family. Even still one of the
questions I get most from West Enders is about how our son is doing- (the answer
is, great!). Community is one of the most important things we have.