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.
Growing up “helping” in my father’s garden led me to appreciate our natural environment, inspiring me to study Environmental Sciences at UBC.
I was fortunate to get a municipal job restoring natural areas, and now work preserving trees through development.
My Filipino mother - a retired nurse who spent the last 20 years on long-term disability, and my father - a retired United Church minister, instilled in me a strong sense of giving back to our community. They are the reason I first became active in my local union and the regional district council, where I work every day to support my colleagues.
I’m running in this election because the NDP values are my family’s values - stand up for those who’ve had their voices diminished, protect the environment, and lift each other up.
Q1: What is your position on the recently announced Massey Tunnel replacement project? Do you like the plans? Not like the plans?
A: Delta has been waiting a long time for a replacement, and New Democrats believe that Canadians should be able to count on the federal government to invest in infrastructure that makes a difference. Public infrastructure investments – particularly under a Community Benefits Agreement – can bring so much more than just what is on the blueprint to a community, and I can see that happen here. The Massey Tunnel replacement is an opportunity to bring good jobs and training to current and future tradespeople, including equity-seeking groups like women and Indigenous workers. These opportunities, if we leverage them, will create a legacy of employment, training and economic prosperity.
Q2: What is your position on the Terminal 2 project for Roberts Bank?
A: T2 would cost over $2 billion, while other private company options are less expensive with a smaller impact on the environment. Regardless of the cost, this port expansion comes with a level of automation that puts well-paying, family-supporting jobs at risk – an estimated 9,200 marine terminal jobs province-wide. Many of these workers live here, work here, and pay taxes here. There are of course environmental concerns too. What are the impacts and the remediation efforts? We must balance many interests. For that to happen we need further stakeholder engagement and creative solutions. I need to see real benefits for Delta and a reassurance for long-term family-supporting jobs in order to support port expansion.
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: Delta is a place where everyone should be able to live free from hate and bias; seeing the Delta Police Department and Delta Pride Society step in so quickly to replace the flags is an uplifting message of hope during repeated attempts to hurt our LGBTQI2S+ friends. To spread a message of diversity and inclusivity here, I would love to work with the Delta Pride Society to get their beautiful new sticker logo of an inclusive Delta in every possible community and business window, signalling a safe space for all. I would work for a review of inclusive language in all policies. An NDP government would add sexual orientation, gender identity and expression to the Employment Equity Act to combat employment barriers. Hate has no home here.
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: Canada is in a national housing crisis; the pandemic has only made things worse for people already struggling to make rent and mortgage payments. I see people my age giving up on the dream of home ownership and moving outside of the Lower Mainland, resulting in fewer talented workers staying in our communities. I see seniors struggling to find a safe, accessible, and convenient space to live as driving becomes more of a burden. I would work with other levels of government to create a varied housing landscape that would provide something for everyone - construction of housing co-ops, social, and non-profit housing will be kick-started. Federal GST/HST requirements will be waived on the construction of new affordable rental units, and we would reintroduce 30-year terms for entry-level homes for first time home buyers to make mortgage payments accessible. An NDP government would put in place a 20 per cent Foreign Buyer’s tax on homes for people who aren’t Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
Q5: Do you think the COVID-19 pandemic response has been handled well here in Canada?
A: I’m proud of Delta having among the top vaccination rates in the province, it shows we care about those in our community who are unable to get the vaccine and our struggling health care workers. Across the country, we’re ready for the pandemic to be done. Too many lives have been lost, and too many businesses have suffered. We still need to do more. With a targeted $1 billion in support to remove remaining barriers for those who are unvaccinated and a national vaccine passport, we must be clear that the health and safety of Canadians comes first.
Q6: If elected, how will you help small businesses in Delta as they rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Small and medium-sized businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. New Democrats stood up for emergency small business aid and will continue with wage and rent subsidies until they are fully able to reopen. We would put in place a long-term hiring bonus to pay the employer portion of EI and CPP for new and rehired staff to help get people back to work, and we would cap high credit card merchant fees at a maximum of one per cent. With our plan for universal pharmacare, small businesses will also save approximately $600 per employee with extended health benefits.