B.C. ELECTION: Richmond North-Centre and South-Centre Riding Profiles
Featured / May 2, 2017
Teresa Wat has been a Richmond MLA since 2013, and was the Minister responsible for Pacific Trade and Multiculturalism. She has also been involved in Chinese-language broadcast radio and television. Wat immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in 1989, and has worked in media and broadcasting since.
The B.C. Liberal website states that Wat will ensure the finalization of a new care tower at Richmond Hospital, the investment of $16 million for subsidization of housing in Richmond, as well as $16 million towards protection of Richmond from rising sea levels.
Wat was not able to schedule an interview with The Runner by press time.
With a long medical service resume, Dr. Lyren Chiu, a current nursing professor at Langara who holds a PhD from Harvard, believes that the Richmond Hospital is a major concern in her riding.
Coming to Canada from Taiwan 1999, Chiu is a proponent of diversity and multiculturalism. She started a Mandarin-speaking cancer support group and a Chinese community advisory group at the B.C. Cancer Agency. She also notes that the NDP wants to eliminate MSP, and mentions the NDP proposals for $10 a day childcare and higher taxes on wealthy British Columbians.
“According to party platform, we don’t charge interest on student loans,” says Chiu. “The Liberals have neglected the education system for a long time, so we need to fix it one-by-one.”
Chiu is also an advocate of adult advanced education and bolstering ESL programs to make education more accessible, and says she will do what she can “to influence the party to reduce tuition fees.”
Living in Richmond since 2010, Marciniw has organized casino workers unions, and has been a strike picket captain for a year. He has also volunteered with the B.C. Green party since 2014.
“The acute tower needs to be built, it needs to be fast-tracked,” Marciniw says regarding the Richmond Hospital. “I know that the Liberals have started the business plan for that, but you know, the simple fact of the matter that they’ve had 16 years to refurbish that hospital […] Is a bit disconcerting and a little bit cynical as well. Right before an election.”
Marciniw also supports other Greens in the creation of a “Minister of Mental Health and Addiction” cabinet portfolio, and believes that “band-aid” solutions aren’t sufficient to solve the overdose crisis.
On student issues, Marciniw supports the construction of student housing for KPU, and says that Vancouver should be the “San Francisco of the north” in regards to tech startups, and that the brain drain to higher paying American companies should be stopped.
Linda Reid is one of the longest serving and highest ranking members in the current B.C. Liberal Party, holding the post of house speaker. Prior to becoming a politician, she was a teacher.
“We’re an island. We gotta build up,” says Reid, on housing in Richmond. She suggests solving the problem by adding supply to decrease demand, and likes the European “shops on the sidewalk, apartments above” building style.
When it comes to the Richmond Hospital, Reid notes that her government has added an emergency room, a mental health wing, and maternity health wing to the facility, and considers the hospital “next in line” for more upgrades.
Reid also calls the racist flyers found in Richmond last year “horrible,” and says that “there was no place for [them.] We have pushed back, hugely, and we haven’t seen anything like that since, which warms my heart.”
Chak Au was a school board trustee for 12 years, and is a two-term city councilor. He received the second-highest amount of votes as a councillor in 2014.
Au says that he has a “long track record” of promoting diversity and intercultural harmony. On the subject of the Richmond Chinese-language signage debates, he noted that “the language issue is at the provincial level. It’s the jurisdiction of the province [and that] we can address some of the issues that are affecting our community.”
Being aware of the difficulty of winning an NDP seat in Richmond, Au believes there’s an appetite for change. Au also takes issue with the corporate donations received by the BC Liberals.
“Christy Clark has really taken Richmond voters for granted. That’s why we have problems with Richmond Hospital. It’s too small and needs seismic upgrades,” he says. “We’ve been short-changed. That’s why I’m running this election, and why I’m focusing on local issues.”
Powell has worked at the Pembina Institute, which advocates for clean and renewable energy, for several years. He also has a background in engineering from the University of Waterloo, and has worked for environmental nonprofits.
“The Green Party of B.C. prioritizes education in a big way. That’s demonstrated by the fact that one in five of us are educators in some capacity, or have been,” he says.
Powell believes in a needs-based grant system incorporating debt forgiveness to help with education-related debts, saying, “I think it would be a laudable goal to have free tuition, but a progressive system might be even more appropriate.”
On the Richmond Hospital, Powell says that he would ensure that the upgrades get carried through, and, through the Green Party, that mental health and addiction is addressed at the cabinet level.