Federal Election: How Will our Local Candidates Address Food Insecurity?

In the lead-up to the 2021 Federal election, Gordon Neighbourhood House launched a #WestEndVotes initiative to raise awareness about the election, and encourage eligible neighbours to vote.

Food insecurity is a serious issue in our community, and food justice forms a significant component of our work. Gordon Neighbourhood House is a proud member of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, a Good Food Member of Community Food Centres Canada, and a local organizer with the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network.

Gordon Greens, a mobile produce market program in the West End.

We sent surveys to all confirmed candidates, and asked them questions about important issues affecting our community. Here are their responses regarding poverty and food insecurity.

#WestEndVotes Initiative
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?

Alaric Paivarinta
, Green Party of Canada
1. Put opportunity back into food production.
2. Encourage farmers to add value to their products through local and direct sales.

Breen Ouellette, The New Democratic Party
In a country as wealthy as Canada, we have no excuse to leave any Canadian in poverty. We need to take bold and meaningful action so that every Canadian has the support they need to live in dignity. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us it is possible for government to act quickly to provide extensive support, including a basic income when Canadians are in desperate need. The NDP will invest in income security programs, starting with seniors and people with disabilities, as a first step toward a future where all Canadians can access a livable basic income.

Access to healthy and affordable food is at the heart of the NDP’s food strategy. The NDP would implement a national school nutrition program to ensure that no child enters the classroom hungry.

Hedy Fry, The Liberal Party of Canada
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.

Taylor Singleton-Fookes, The People’s Party of Canada
The amount of poverty in a society is indicative of how healthy that societies economy is. Artificial government forces that increase the price of food are wrong and should be ceased immediately. The supply management system imposes a financial burden of $339 annually on the poorest 20%. The carbon tax raises the cost of everything. Money printing and the resulting price inflation impacts the poor most. A healthy economy with lower taxes and less interest group protection will reduce poverty and reduce food insecurity.
See: 
https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/supply-management

Harry Cockell, The Conservative Party of Canada
We did not receive a response from this candidate.

Join the discussion, and share your views using the hashtag #WestEndVotes
Click HERE to meet the candidates running for Vancouver Centre.
Click HERE to return to the West End Votes main page.

This initiative was generously supported by Community Food Centres Canada Election Organizing Grant.


West End Votes—Meet the Candidates

The Canadian federal election will take place on Monday, September 20th, 2021. Five candidates are running to become Vancouver Centre’s representative in the House of Commons of the 44th Canadian Parliament.

We reached out to all confirmed candidates in our riding, and asked them eight questions about their party’s platform and vision for the next four years. Click on the candidates photos below to read their responses.

Click HERE to return to the West End Votes main page.


Different Methods to Vote

No matter which method you choose to vote, you’ll need to prove your identity and address. Keep reading, or visit Elections Canada for the full list of accepted ID.

Option 1: Government-Issued Photo ID
Show one piece of government-issued photo identification that has your name and current address.
Eg. driver’s license, passport, etc.

Option 2: Don’t Have Photo ID?
Show two pieces of identification without your photo. Both pieces must have your name, and at least one piece must have your address.
Eg. birth certificate, debit card, health card, insurance statement, bank statement, library card, etc.
Visit Elections Canada for a list of approved ID for Option 2.

Option 3: Don’t Have Current Identification?
If you don’t have ID, don’t worry you can still vote. You can do this by declaring your identity and address in writing, and have someone who knows you and is assigned to your polling station confirm your identity (called “vouching”).


West End Votes—Candidate Profile: Taylor Singleton-Fookes

Taylor Singleton-Fookes
People’s Party of Canada
www.mptaylor.ca
taylorsingletonfookes@live.com
(778) 791-7667
No Social Media

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? 
Taylor Singleton-Fookes:
The federal government should be smaller and it should keep out of provincial and municipal jurisdiction. The problem of cost of living stems from two major forces: loose monetary policy and burdensome municipal regulation. The housing market prices are an asset bubble due to too much CDN liquidity looking for safety. The PPC will get the monetary policy of the federal government under control by controlling spending. It is up to the municipality to allow for development of density. If it was allowed, developers would cover Vancouver in density with no need for federal investment. The federal infrastructure projects ran by the Liberals were comically ineffective at getting things built. The reason for this is the overlapping jurisdictions which means nobody is accountable and everyone has someone to blame. Programs like social housing, federal building, buyer assistance, are using public money to buy votes. They transfer wealth to the relatively well (i.e. urban areas, house purchasing citizens). That is not what the federal government should be doing. Housing is a municipal problem, the solution must come from drastic changes to municipal policy and community initiatives like co-ops, not federal government handouts.
See https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/housing

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?  
Taylor Singleton-Fookes:
The homelessness crisis in Vancouver is an immense and heartbreaking problem. Large amounts of public money are squandered every year with little or no impact on the growing reality. It is simple economic truth that the demand for anything free will be infinite. Public housing cannot solve this problem. The key to solving it is reallocating the resources available to short term trauma care. Vancouver’s trauma centers are fully occupied. They act as social housing overflow. Too often someone fleeing a dangerous situation is stonewalled, put on a waiting list, and ends up on the street. Once on the street, sleep deprivation, drug culture, and despair make getting out of the situation more difficult every day. Also, the city should prioritize zoning for towers with modest, extremely small, single room apartments that are safe, clean, & quiet. These are not social housing, but are inexpensive and would strive to make the first step off the street within reach of most.

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?  

Taylor Singleton-Fookes:
Vancouver politicians have normalized open drug use. Safe injection sites and safe supply are misnomers. There is nothing safe about heroin. The risk of immediate overdose death is much higher with fentanyl than heroin, but long term they are both life destroying, body destroying poisons which cause physical addiction that cannot be easily overcome. Government drug policy needs to be rethought and drug classifications need to be re-accessed to reflect the harm caused by exposure to the substance. Expanding drugs like alcohol, marijuana, psilocybin, & lsd are dangerous, but can be responsibly used. Destructive drugs like cocaine, crack, meth, & heroin are mind and body destroyers that cause dependence. They cannot be responsibly used. We need new drug laws to divide drugs between expanding drugs which should be 100% legal (not medical) and destructive drugs which should be fought with tough criminal prosecution seeking to eliminate all supply and use. Enabling access to life destroying drugs is unconscionable, it is clearly, obviously exacerbating the problem and should be ceased immediately. 

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? 
Taylor Singleton-Fookes:
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is another example of the failed paternalistic approach to interaction with Canada’s indigenous population. For example Call to Action #5: We call upon the [government] to develop culturally appropriate parenting programs for Aboriginal families. Do aboriginal families really need the government to tell them what is culturally appropriate? The 94 Calls to Actions are by bureaucrats, for bureaucrats as they spend $21 000 million every year and produce no tangible improvement in the lives of those who are struggling. We must end the federal programs that seek to control most aspects of indigenous lives. We must allow property ownership and stop perpetuating race based segregation. Aboriginal communities must embrace more individual freedom and take more responsibility. Government support may be well meaning, but it is ultimately destructive.
See: 
https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/indigenous-issues

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?

Taylor Singleton-Fookes:
The amount of poverty in a society is indicative of how healthy that societies economy is. Artificial government forces that increase the price of food are wrong and should be ceased immediately. The supply management system imposes a financial burden of $339 annually on the poorest 20%. The carbon tax raises the cost of everything. Money printing and the resulting price inflation impacts the poor most. A healthy economy with lower taxes and less interest group protection will reduce poverty and reduce food insecurity.
See: 
https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/supply-management

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? 

Taylor Singleton-Fookes:
The world’s climate has always changed and will continue to change. Until twelve thousand years ago, much of Canada was under ice, and it is thanks to natural climate change that we can live here today. There is no scientific consensus on the theory that CO2 produced by human activity is causing dangerous global warming. Climate change alarmism is based on flawed models that have consistently failed at correctly predicting the future. CO2 is not a pollutant. It is an essential ingredient for life on Earth and needed for plant growth.
See: 
https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/global-warming-environment

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?

Taylor Singleton-Fookes:
I have much doubt about the ability of government programs, no matter how well funded, to assist in the mental health of Canadians. Mental health is a complex reality. It includes how do you perceive yourself? You do you perceive the world around you? How do you relate to the people around you? These answers are unique to you, unique to the community around you, and unique to the time of your life. Government cannot help with these profoundly personal issues of understanding, meaning and value. We must seek to live authentically, to find support in the community around us, to find joy in the toil of existence. Life is full of suffering, pain, loss and death. The medical establishment can only deaden our senses and categorize our suffering. Mental health is having the bravery to face life with courage and having the strength to be there for the ones you love. It is folly to look to the government for such a need.

Question 8: What is your favorite place on the downtown peninsula, and why?
Taylor Singleton-Fookes:
Third beach because swimming under the setting sun is magnificent.

End of Questions.
Join the discussion, and share your views. #WestEndVotes


West End Votes—Candidate Profile: Hedy Fry

Hedy Fry
Liberal Party of Canada
www.HedyFry.Liberal.ca
info@hedyfry.com
(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.
Join the discussion, and share your views. #WestEndVotes


West End Votes—Candidate Profile: Breen Ouellette

Breen Ouellette
New Democratic Party
www.electbreen.ca
office@electbreen.ca
(778) 853-1008
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?
Breen Ouellette:
Right now, so many people are being squeezed out of Vancouver due to a shortage of affordable rental options. This includes people who make their living downtown, young people who have grown up here, seniors who have lived here all their lives, and young families.

Money laundering through property speculation is one major culprit of housing unaffordability in Vancouver Centre. Another major culprit is decades of misguided federal housing policy. In the 1980s, the federal government made the terrible mistake of shifting its property development focus to home ownership. The damage has been supercharged by the federal government’s promotion of luxury condos and their complete failure to develop co-op and social housing.

As your MP I will advocate for the federal government to reinstate the federal housing ministry, fix the damage done to the CMHC during the Harper years, return the federal focus to social and co-op housing, and promote vigorous prosecution of offshore tax haven abuses and the money laundering that fuels property speculation.

It is worth mentioning that it was the NDP under David Lewis that brought forward the National Affordable Housing Strategy in the 1970s and convinced Pierre Trudeau to move forward with it. Many of the older, more affordable rental units are the legacy of that strategy. Unfortunately, since the early 1990s when the federal government stopped meaningfully investing in affordable housing, the number of new rental units has only increased marginally. We need decisive action, and I and other New Democrats are committed to that.

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?
 
Breen Ouellette:
Canada made a commitment to recognizing housing as a fundamental human right in 1948 when we signed the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The federal government has the capacity and the responsibility to end homelessness across our country.

Homelessness was unheard of in Vancouver in the 1980s until the federal government dismantled the national housing ministry and shifted their focus to home ownership as the presumed goal of every Canadian. Vancouver’s homeless population has nearly doubled since 2005, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the problem by putting more people on the precarious edge of homelessness.

It makes clear sense to invest in more co-op and social housing development, and use the CMHC to impose social housing quotas on every development project that receives federal funding. Luxury condo builds are the last place incentives should be focused.

To deliver immediate help, the NDP will work with other levels of government to purchase, lease and convert hotels and motels for emergency housing relief until more permanent, community-based solutions are available.

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?  

Breen Ouellette:
The Liberals and Conservatives want to continue the status quo of criminalizing and stigmatizing  people with substance use disorders, instead of addressing the health crisis that we see on our streets and in our neighbourhoods every day.

There are solutions. The Portuguese model is one such answer to the Canadian opioid crisis. In the 1980s, Portugal was reeling from a heroin addiction crisis. The country had a choice to make, and they changed the narrative from stigma to health support. Portugal got serious about providing dedicated health resources to help people beat their addiction disorders. Portugal now has the lowest drug addiction rates and best health outcomes in the European Union.

Here in Canada, we can do so much more to save lives and support those struggling with opioid addiction. By decriminalizing all personal drug use while coming down hard on those who traffic in and profit from these addictive substances, we can end the stigma around drug addiction so that those who struggle are not afraid to seek help. By providing a safe supply of medically regulated alternatives to toxic street drugs, supporting overdose prevention sites, and expanding access to treatment on demand for people struggling with addiction, we can help end the cycle of oppression and abuse.

It is disappointing to see that Mr. Trudeau still opposes decriminalization and insists on failed, antiquated strategies.

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? 
Breen Ouellette:
I am a Métis person with a long history of Indigenous ancestors who have been affected by and resisted colonization by Canada. I served as a Commission Counsel lawyer for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (and Two-Spirit People) and have been a consistent and strong advocate for an immediate end to the Constitutional apartheid and ongoing genocide committed against Indigenous people. Indigenous women have raised allegations of coerced sterilizations as recently as December 2018. Indigenous children are massively over-represented in the foster care system. The industrialization and corporatization of government support services is a root cause of these crimes of genocide.

The federal government has the moral and legal responsibility to protect the rights of all people, including Indigenous people. Services for Indigenous people must be safe and free from racism. Ideally, this will be achieved by transferring complete control and full funding of services for Indigenous people to Indigenous nations and Indigenous-led organizations. This will end the systemic dysfunction perpetrated by provincial government services, and place the power to change directly in the hands of those affected.

My party will work with Indigenous peoples as equal partners in developing a National Action Plan for Reconciliation that draws on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, as well as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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?

Breen Ouellette:
In a country as wealthy as Canada, we have no excuse to leave any Canadian in poverty. We need to take bold and meaningful action so that every Canadian has the support they need to live in dignity. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us it is possible for government to act quickly to provide extensive support, including a basic income when Canadians are in desperate need. The NDP will invest in income security programs, starting with seniors and people with disabilities, as a first step toward a future where all Canadians can access a livable basic income.

Access to healthy and affordable food is at the heart of the NDP’s food strategy. The NDP would implement a national school nutrition program to ensure that no child enters the classroom hungry.

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? 

Breen Ouellette:
As an Indigenous person, I was raised to respect all our relations: the relationships we have to the earth, water, air, plants, and animals. As a member of the senior management team of the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan, I saw the relationship between exploitation of Indigenous peoples and the extraction of natural resources. As a lawyer at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (and Two-Spirit People), I became further aware of the resource extraction abuser relationship of the Crown toward Indigenous peoples; many of the witnesses for whom I conducted examinations of testimony spoke of the harms visited on Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people by man camps brought into Indigenous communities to lay the groundwork for the resource-exploitation of the federal government and industry. As an Indigenous leader, I want to forge an alliance of Indigenous leaders, environmental activists, and innovators to offer concrete and real solutions to fight the Climate Crisis.

I have pledged to oppose the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, an issue which directly affects the Metro Vancouver area, and have publicly expressed my opposition to LNG in BC. I believe that direct subsidies of the oil and gas industries must end, and those subsidies must be diverted to green research and developing a job-sustaining clean energy industry in Canada.

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?
Breen Ouellette:
Our neighbours are right to be concerned about our perpetually underfunded mental health services! The NDP supports head-to-toe health coverage, including mental health. We know the pandemic took a huge toll on mental health. The NDP will provide mental health care for those who don’t currently have coverage so that they could access the help they need without worrying about the cost. In addition, we support a comprehensive pharmacare plan that will cover prescription medication for mental health. Our plan will guarantee that every Canadian can get the medication they need.

And it’s definitely worth mentioning that our plan represents big savings for employers who are currently paying for employee benefits. We estimate that employers would save roughly $600 per employee with extended health coverage every year under our plan. Most importantly, our pharmacare plan will mean a healthier Canada where no one has to make the impossible choice between the medicine they need and other essentials, like rent and food.

Question 8: What is your favorite place on the downtown peninsula, and why?
Breen Ouellette:
That would be the Seawall. Every day, you can find me there with my wife, Cammy. We are committed to walking at least eight kilometers of the Seawall per day, and by this point we have covered every foot of it within Vancouver Centre!

End of Questions.
Join the discussion, and share your views. #WestEndVotes


West End Votes—Candidate Profile: Alaric Paivarinta

Alaric Paivarinta
Green Party of Canada
Alaric.paivarinta@greenparty.ca
Phone: (604) 369-4245
Social Media:  Twitter

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? 
Alaric Paivarinta:
1. Introduce a supplement grant for those who pay more than 30% of their income on rent.
2. Commit to applying a corporate tax on transnational Airbnb e-commerce companies doing business in Canada

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?  
Alaric Paivarinta:
1. Establish a housing first initiative to ensure access to housing and to take aggressive steps to eliminating homelessness.

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?  

Alaric Paivarinta:
1. Addiction is a health crisis, not a crime requiring immediate decriminalization of possession of small amounts of illicit drugs.

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? 
Alaric Paivarinta:
1. End the drinking water and boil water advisories by investing and upgrading critical infrastructure to ensure safe water access in every community.
2. Support the development of Indigenous education curricula that are language and culture specific.

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?
Alaric Paivarinta:
1. Put opportunity back into food production.
2. Encourage farmers to add value to their products through local and direct sales.

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? 
Alaric Paivarinta:
1. End the 3.3 Billion Canada spends on fossil fuel subsidies. 
2. Fast Forward our transition into a green economy by subsidizing green businesses. 

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?

Alaric Paivarinta:
1. Expand public healthcare to include pharmacare. Establishing a Crown corporation to bulk purchase and dispense prescription drugs and providing much needed coverage to the one in three Canadians forced to pay for prescription medication.
2. Immediate mobilization of mental health and crisis management teams to help provide care to nurses and their colleagues during and after the pandemic.

Question 8: What is your favorite place on the downtown peninsula, and why?
Alaric Paivarinta:
My favorite place is the seawall, a bike around it and a dip in the Ocean is worth more than anything. 

End of Questions.
Join the discussion, and share your views. #WestEndVotes


Different Methods to Vote

There are many ways to cast your ballot in the 2021 federal election. Listed below are all the different methods to make your voice heard on or before election day.

No matter which option you choose however, remember you’ll need to prove your identity and address. See below, or visit Elections Canada for the full list of accepted ID.

Option 1: Vote at an Advance Polling Station
If you want to avoid the crowds on election day, voting at an advance polling station is a great option. Advance polls will be open from September 10-13 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time.

To find your advance polling station, check your voter information card or use the Voter Information Service.

Option 2: Vote by Mail
Voting by mail is a convenient option if you want to vote from the comfort of your home. To vote by mail, apply online or at any Elections Canada office before September 14th at 6:00pm. Once approved, mail in ballots must be returned by election day.

Voting by mail uses a special ballot process where voters write the name of the candidate they choose, rather than select from a list of confirmed candidates. Once you have applied to vote by special ballot, you can’t change your mind and vote at advance polls or on election day. Once approved, your ballot must be returned by election day.

Option 3: Vote at Any Elections Canada Office
Regardless of the electoral district in which you are voting, you can vote at any Elections Canada office across the country before Tuesday, September 14 at 6:00 p.m. Voting at an Elections Canada office uses the special ballot process. The West End Election Canada office is located at 747 Cardero Street (on the corner of Cardero Street and Alberni Street).

Election Canada offices are open seven days a week:
Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: noon to 4:00 p.m.

Option 4: Vote on Election Day at Your Assigned Polling Station
Voting on election day is the most popular option amongst Canadians. It is often the most straightforward method, and is a great way to see democracy in action. Polling stations on the downtown peninsula will be open on Monday, September 20th from 7:00am to 7:00pm, or 12 consecutive hours.

Your polling station is determined by where you live in your electoral district, and you cannot vote at any other polling station. To find the correct polling station, check your voter information card or use the Voter Information Service.


No matter which method you choose to vote, you’ll need to prove your identity and address. Keep reading, or visit Elections Canada for the full list of accepted ID.

Option 1: Government-Issued Photo ID
Show one piece of government-issued photo identification that has your name and current address.
Eg. driver’s license, passport, etc.

Option 2: Don’t Have Photo ID?
Show two pieces of identification without your photo. Both pieces must have your name, and at least one piece must have your address.
Eg. birth certificate, debit card, health card, insurance statement, bank statement, library card, etc.
Visit Elections Canada for a list of approved ID for Option 2.

Option 3: Don’t Have Current Identification?
If you don’t have ID, don’t worry you can still vote. You can do this by declaring your identity and address in writing, and have someone who knows you and is assigned to your polling station confirm your identity (called “vouching”).


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.