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

Candidate: James Marshall

Party: BC Greens

Website(s): www.VoteJamesMarshall.ca

Social media: Facebook Twitter Instagram

Other Contact Information: james.marshall@bcgreens.ca

  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.


VOTE: General Election Candidate Q&A (Jon Ellacott BC Liberals)

Candidate: Jon Ellacott

Party: BC Liberal Party

Website(s): https://www.bcliberals.com/team/jon-ellacott/

Social media: Twitter Facebook

Other Contact Information: jon.ellacott@bcliberals.com

  1. Why should West End residents vote for you?

West End residents should vote for me only if they tire of poor representation and ineffective governance. If the status quo satisfies you, your vote should go to Spencer as he is a good man and a competent representative. Fiscal conservatism and financial responsibility are my credo – I will always work tirelessly to put your hard earned money back into your pocketbook.

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 crux of this issue is supply. With insufficient affordable housing supply, costs skyrocket due to the demand/supply relationship. As a professional construction manager, I have a very unique perspective when it comes to this issue. I personally believe we should be prioritizing modular, prefabricated construction methods, while eliminating red tape and unnecessary zoning and permitting regulations that stand in the way of developers delivering affordable housing units to market. The BC Liberals have committed to a variety of measures including using crown and public lands to build affordable housing for those in need.

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?

We must always treat the causes of these problems, rather than the symptoms. There are underlying conditions with regards to the disease of drug addiction. We must ensure that we are providing support to youth that are exposed to abuse, as well as treating systemic mental health issues with the proper care and attention they deserve. There is no silver bullet to solve this problem; we must trust our social workers and medical experts and along with law enforcement and our first responders, assist them in mitigation and treatment.

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?

We must act boldly in working with our First Nations and federal government partners to create new opportunities for Indigenous peoples. The BC Liberals are committed to addressing issues of economic and social inequality faced by Indigenous peoples across the province.

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?

We all know that the world is moving away from oil within our lifetimes. BC is well placed for this challenge with our strong clean and green hydro resources that provide all of our electricity. Our next challenge is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and buildings. We Support investments in renewable energy and next-generation clean energy and technology solutions, including working with the federal government and other provinces to leverage innovations and research in carbon capture.

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?

We must work diligently to pull all less-fortunate British Columbians out of poverty by providing them with options and assistance to raise themselves up and stand proud in our society. There should be no stigma associated with poverty and inequality, as government at all levels has failed these individuals. I would work closely across all jurisdictions to try and make a meaningful impact with regards to this systemic issue.

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

I particularly enjoyed the times I was able to work and volunteer with Jim Deva and Little Sister’s. I remember one time specifically, delivering a load of flooring into Jim’s townhouse and meeting his partner and his dog. A mutual friend and I sat in his living room chatting for hours. He is sorely missed as he was an incredible advocate and community leader.


VOTE: General Election Candidate Q&A (Spencer Chandra Herbert BC NDP)

Candidate Name: Spencer Chandra Herbert

Party: BC NDP

Website(s): spencerchandraherbert.bcndp.ca

Social media: Twitter Instagram Facebook

Other Contact Information: campaign office 604-690-8993

  1. 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!)

There is 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?

Affordable 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 tenancy disputes.

A re-elected 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!

We will continue to fund affordable housing, including supportive housing, to bring people indoors and provide them with the support services they need, including by:

  • 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?

Before the 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.

Our election 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 communities.

This includes:

  • 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 Broughton Archipelago.

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.

Our 2020 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 would:

  • 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 operations.
  • 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 credits

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?

In addition 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.


VOTE – general election Oct 24th 2020

Canada has three levels of Government:

  • 1.MUNICIPAL – Vancouver City
  • 2.PROVINCIAL – British Columbia
  • 3.FEDERAL – Canada

Saturday October 24th 2020 there will be a general election in British Columbia to elect the Provincial Government. You have the right to vote if you are a Canadian citizen who has been in BC for the last 6 months and is at least 18 years old. (permanent residents cannot vote).

Elections BC is a good source of information on how to join the register of electors, where to go to vote, how to vote by mail, voting safely during COVID, and more.

PLEASE NOTE: Gordon House will not be used as a polling station this year due to current public health measures. Check you polling card for your polling station!

The Guide to the Elections Act is a good resource for questions on voting in BC this pandemic.

The Provincial Government are responsible for the following areas:

Candidates Vancouver-West End:

At the beginning of October 2020 we asked West Enders to participate in a survey to ascertain what issues are most important to the community at this time. We used these survey responses to create questions for the candidates. Links to their answers are above.

These were the findings of the survey:

Housing & Homelessness

88% of survey respondents are worried about housing with 44% placing it as their number one concern. Many stated that access to affordable housing was out of reach for those with lower paid jobs and asked for “housing co-ops accessible to any range of salaries” and mentioned fears of “rent increases” and “chronic lack of housing”. 64% of survey respondents expressed concerns around a visible increase of homelessness in the West End and a need for supports.

COVID Response

64% of survey respondents are worried about the impacts of this pandemic, with 25% of respondents placing COVID-19 as their number one concern, mentioning “people not taking it seriously enough” the rise in “anti-mask conspiracy” and the fears of “COVID in the schools”.

Environmental Sustainability

Many respondents mentioned concerns on climate change such as “will my community be in a good place to help each other through its impacts”. Respondents asked to use “Indigenous ways of thinking to lead society” and called for “strong regulations to curb the effects of climate change and stand up for Indigenous rights”.

Healthcare

Respondents expressed a strong interest in in increased healthcare supports for our community as we face this pandemic. This included free mental health services “if you’re not well you can’t handle any of the other issues” and supports such as a “safe drug supply” for those using illicit substances which come with a high risk of overdose.

Feeling Safe

One common thread throughout the survey responses was uncertainty about the future and wanting to feel safe. On top of the issues mentioned above, respondents fears ranged from “hate groups marching through the West End” and “racism & intolerance” to uneasiness about “local crimes and vandalism”. Respondents also noted the high cost of living in the neighbourhood and worries about maintaining their jobs and affording food & childcare.