Editor’s note: The six candidates vying to be your Delta representative in Ottawa were provided with six questions from the Optimist and if they liked, could also provide introductory comments or a biography.
I have been honoured to be your MP since 2015. Together, we have accomplished amazing things. I have learned much from this community, and am eager to continue to work together to finish the fight against COVID-19 and create an economic recovery leaving no one behind.
I entered politics to serve my community and make a difference in people’s lives.
I bring my values of integrity, hard work, and community-mindedness to work every day as an MP and Cabinet Minister. I also bring the experience, discipline, and passion for fairness and equity I developed as a Paralympic medalist and human rights lawyer. Most importantly, I bring the perspectives of a mother, a person with a disability, and someone who loves our community.
I am hopeful and optimistic. I will continue to work hard for Delta and Canada every day.
Q1: What is your position on the recently announced Massey Tunnel replacement project? Do you like the plans? Not like the plans?
A: A re-elected Liberal government will provide funding for the Massey Tunnel replacement project. This is an important corridor for international trade, commuters, and businesses across the region. I am pleased the province has announced its plan to move forward: this is something that Delta residents have been waiting for.
Q2: What is your position on the Terminal 2 project for Roberts Bank?
The 2020 Environmental Review Panel concluded RBT2 would have significant adverse cumulative impacts on fish, fish habitat, Dungeness crab, southern resident killer whales, wetlands, Barn Owls, and the traditional use of Indigenous lands and resources. I remain unconvinced that these concerns can be sufficiently mitigated. However, I await the responses from the Port to the Environment Minister’s August 2020 letter requesting further information.
Q3: Recently, South Delta has experienced several incidents of vandalism of the Pride flag at Ladner United Church. If elected what will you do to help spread a message of diversity and inclusivity in Delta?
A: I will keep showing up and not backing down. I will continue to fight for LGBTQ2 rights. My entire life I have championed diversity, inclusion, and a society where everyone has equal rights and opportunities. I support our Liberal commitment to ban the cruel, discredited practice of conversion therapy. I worry that many Conservatives voted against this ban. I am excited to move forward with our federal LGBTQ2 Action Plan and help local organizations access our $40 million fund for LGBTQ2 service organizations. I will work to ensure everyone in our community feels welcome, safe, and supported.
Q4: Affordable housing continues to be a major issue in Delta. If elected how will you help to work with other levels of government to improve affordable housing in the community?
A: I will continue to work in Delta with all levels of government, developers, non-profits, and advocates to improve housing options and address the diversity of housing needs in our community. A re-elected Liberal government will dedicate resources to address homelessness; build temporary and emergency housing; build more new homes and rental units; and repair our existing housing supply. We will implement a multi-generational home tax credit so families can live together. We will make it easier to buy a home through initiatives such as rent-to-own, a new tax-free home savings account, an increased First-Time Buyers’ tax incentive, lower closing costs, and reduced mortgage monthly costs. We will make renting and buying fairer through measures that deter unfair rent increases, curb speculation and house-flipping, eliminate practices such as blind bidding, and require banks to defer mortgage payments for up to six months for certain life events.
Q5: Do you think the COVID-19 pandemic response has been handled well here in Canada?
A: From the beginning, our government’s COVID-19 response plan was threefold: protect the health and safety of Canadians; support workers and businesses to position ourselves for economic recovery; and help families, communities and our most vulnerable. As the minister responsible for many supports provided during the pandemic and a member of the Cabinet Committee on COVID-19 I was at the centre of this response.
Our quick and decisive actions protected Canadians and positioned our economy to come roaring back. We followed the science and listened to public health advice. We never wavered from our commitment to protect Canadians. I am proud of the federal support provided to Delta workers, businesses, seniors, persons with disabilities, families, non-profits, schools, health care providers, and the City of Delta. Our approach worked. Canada has the highest vaccination rate and the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7. In BC, job numbers are back to pre-pandemic levels – in fact there are more jobs now!
Q6: If elected, how will you help small businesses in Delta as they rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Delta’s small businesses provide jobs, fuel our economy, and serve our community in countless ways. Many received federal emergency support, including the wage subsidy, the CEBA, and the rent subsidy. Thousands of Delta workers received the CERB and Recovery Benefits. A re-elected Liberal government will bring Delta businesses along to recovery and support them hiring the workers they need. We will provide grants to offset the cost of new technology and provide zero-interest loans to finance larger technology projects. We will expand the Canada Small Business Financing Program, increasing the loan amount and loan coverage, expanding borrower eligibility, introducing a line of credit, and expanding loan class eligibility. We will help Delta small businesses find workers by extending the Canada Recovery Hiring Program, training and upskilling Canadian workers, and providing quicker access to global talent and foreign workers. And we will address the affordability issues that make it challenging for people to take jobs in Delta by investing in public transit, affordable housing, and $10/day childcare.