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BC Liberal MLA Teresa Wat shares experiences

By Samuel Cheng

Published 10:45 PDT, Tue June 28, 2022

In the October 2020 provincial election, BC Liberal MLA Teresa Wat was the lone incumbent to hold her seat, winning in the Richmond North Centre riding. 

Wat has been an MLA since 2013. Host Jim Gordon spoke with her recently about her decade-long political journey and what she has learned.

Can you tell our viewers why you wanted to be an MLA?

It is a mission and an honour to serve the people of Richmond. I don’t see this as a career, but instead as a way of giving back to the community after I came to this wonderful province more than 30 years ago. I feel that our whole family has gotten so much out of this country (and) my husband always reminded me that whenever I can, I should give something in return to this community.

When I was approached by former Premier Christy Clark to run under the banner of BC Liberal for Richmond Centre, I gave it a week of thought before saying yes. I never felt so much drive, so much purpose, and so much sense of accomplishment in my life.

Talk about your riding and what is (of) the most concern to the citizens. 

I’ve been in politics for almost a decade and I’ve seen so many changes, particularly because of the pandemic. Housing affordability is an issue, not just to my riding, but for all of British Columbia. Richmond has always been seen as a city that is affordable, where people moved from Vancouver for a more affordable living standard. But now, Richmond is becoming more and more unaffordable, which is causing people to relocate to other areas such as the Fraser Valley, Mission, or Langley.

The current government (has) blamed the previous BC Liberal government for attracting too many investors from Asia, especially China. But now, even if we aren’t getting any more Chinese immigrants, the price of housing (has) remained unstable for the last five years. With all the speculations and initiatives, it hasn’t dampened the housing market. 

This is why I have to continue my role as (an) MLA to hold the government accountable, because they have been campaigning for providing affordability for British Columbia. Not only housing is unaffordable—the price of gas, the price of groceries, and other things around us (are) becoming more and more unaffordable. 

How can the constituents in your riding get in touch with you?

I have had constituents from outside of my riding calling my office because they could not connect with the MLA from their riding. We try to help them by calling the numbers of my colleagues and (passing) on their messages and concerns. We try our best to help whenever we can because this is something that I am proud of. 

I have a group of constituent assistants who are very passionate. They can practically tackle any kind of issue that the constituents come to us with. I think it’s really important for an MLA to really serve their constituents. I really miss the person-to-person interaction with my constituents and (am) looking forward to more of that in the future. Constituents give very good input and that’s why I treasure them and their opinions.

To watch the full video interview, visit richmondsentinel.ca/videos

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