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We asked the candidates...

By Don Fennell

Published 11:21 PDT, Wed October 16, 2019

Last Updated: 4:33 PDT, Tue October 22, 2019

The Richmond Sentinel asked the candidates three questions: “Why are you running for office?”, “What is the biggest issue facing Canadians, and how would you and your party deal with it?” and “What is the biggest issue facing 

Richmond constituents, and how do you propose to change things?”

Following are the answers, in alphabetic order, of those who responded.


RICHMOND CENTRE CANDIDATES

DUSTIN INNES, NDP 

Why are you running for office?

“Richmondites, alongside most Canadians, are struggling when we should be thriving. Over half of Canadians are living pay cheque to pay cheque and, on average, are spending $1.79 of debt for every dollar of income. These statistics are getting worse not better.

Family, friends and neighbours are moving out of their communities because they can no longer afford them. Meanwhile, the rate of our vacant homes is increasing. Richmond has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation; because people are struggling, and because of undeclared income due to a flawed tax system.

I understand this struggle I’ve worked multiple jobs simultaneously while studying. To afford my community, I share a house with three friends. I worry our government is out of touch with what’s affecting people. A lot of promises are made, and meanwhile the actions taken don’t benefit us.”

What is the biggest issue facing Canadians, and how would you and your party deal with it?

“Affordability. For too long, governments have been benefiting corporate lobbyists over regular citizens. People are working more and saving less. Expenses keep rising on housing, rent, medication, transportation, dental care, food, education, cellphones and more. Meanwhile, our taxes are wasted on corporate welfare subsidies. Four provinces (including ours) pay over $29 billion a year; almost 700 billion over 30 years. Figures show over two-thirds of that money doesn’t achieve its objective and create any income. Why are regular Canadians subsidizing people who earn higher incomes?”


STEVEN KUO, Liberal

Why are you running for office?

”First and foremost, I love Canada. This country has given me the opportunity to become the person I am today. It has provided me with the education I need, it has helped me grow a successful business and now when I am elected for Member of Parliament in Richmond Centre I am going to do my part to give back to my home, my community, and my country.”

What is the biggest issue facing Canadians, and how would you and your party deal with it?

“As Canada’s economy continues to grow stronger, the rising cost of living is making it harder for everyone to share in that success. For too many families, it's still tough to make ends meet. Four years ago, we had a real plan to invest back into Canadians and that plan worked to help Canadians invest back into their communities, driving unemployment rate and poverty rates to all-time lows. Now, we are continuing our actions to give more back to the middle class by removing federal tax on the first $15,000 Canadians earn. This means that 700,000 more Canadians, young and old, will pay no federal tax, and lift more that 40,000 Canadians out of poverty.”

What is the biggest issue facing Richmond constituents, and how do you propose to change things?

“Affordable housing has been a huge issue, that has been on the rise. I have children and I want them to be able to have a roof to live under in their future. That is why we are targeting this issue by taxing foreign speculators that think they can just use Canadian properties as investment opportunities. We are ramping up our First-Time Home Buyers Incentive, which gives people 10 per cent off the purchase price of their first home and raising the qualifying value to nearly $800,000 in places where houses cost more—like the City of Richmond.”


FRANCOISE RAUNET, Green

What is the biggest issue facing Canadians, and how would you and your party deal with it?

“Our global economy is broken. It depends on us to keep harvesting the Earth’s resources at an unsustainable rate. In order to keep stock prices rising and CEO salaries growing, we need to keep mining, cutting down trees, and polluting the planet faster and faster every day. We’re destroying the planet, and the worst of it is, we’re doing it mostly for the benefit of the richest and most powerful people in the world, not for average families. 

We need to return to a strong, local economy, where money circulates among neighbours instead of being siphoned off into the boardrooms and corporate headquarters of the world. Tax reform, investment in local, renewable energy and food production, establishing a national guaranteed livable income program, and reinvesting in public and rental housing, will all help Canadians as we transition to a new, post-fossil fuel economy that supports life-sustaining ecosystems.”


ALICE WONG, Conservative

Why are you running for office?

“I am running again for office because I truly believe in service above self. Since coming to Canada almost 40 years ago, and becoming a Canadian citizen in 1983, I appreciated the opportunity to earn my PhD, work in the education sector, and hone my volunteerism. I decided to give back to the community that supported me and I still do today.”  

What is the biggest issue facing Canadians, and how would you and your party deal with it?

“I believe affordability in the day-to-day lives of Canadians. Two-thirds of Canadians feel that they either can’t pay their bills–or have nothing left over at the end of the month after they do. Everything keeps getting more expensive, from gasoline and groceries to home heating and housing.  Individual debt is crippling many individuals and families. Conservatives will scrap the federal carbon tax, take GST off home heating, implement the Universal Tax Cut, fix the mortgage stress test, increase the age credit and take other steps. A Conservative government will live within its means and commit to helping Richmond and Canadian families get ahead.”  

What is the biggest issue facing Richmond constituents, and how do you propose to change things?

“Transportation in and out of our beautiful Island City is a challenge for many Richmond residents. Our bridge traffic sometimes come to a full stop. And access in and out of the Massey tunnel can be challenging. Conservatives will fund the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project and implement the Green Tax Credit for Public Transit saving a family of four using public transit $1,000 annually. “


STEVESTON-RICHMOND EAST CANDIDATES

KENNY CHIU, Conservative

What is the biggest issue facing Canadians, and how would you and your party deal with it?

“The single biggest issue facing Canadians, and Richmond constituents, right now, is the cost of living. Everyday essentials like housing, groceries, and driving to work are more expensive because of failed policies. The average middle-class family is paying over $800 more in taxes because of tax hikes. 

“A Conservative government will make life more affordable for Canadians. The Universal Tax Cut will save individual Canadians up to $440 per year, and couples up to $850 per year. 

In addition, increasing the Age Credit by $1,000 will save seniors up to $150 per year, and senior couples up to $300 per year. We will also make maternity benefits and home heating tax-free. In addition to reducing the overall tax burden, a Conservative Government will address housing affordability by relaxing the mortgage stress test, which will make it easier to finance a home. 

I will also push for an inquiry toward money laundering, which is a known factor in the upward pressure on housing prices.


JAEDEN DE LA TORRE, NDP 

Why are you running for office?

“I’m running because I want to provide a positive alternative to the road ahead. I'm part of a generation that's facing serious concerns such as climate change and income inequality. These issues have influenced me to run, because I want to give my generation a chance to have a say in our future.” 

What is the biggest issue facing Canadians, and how would you and your party deal with it?

“The biggest issue facing Canadians currently is the climate change crisis. The NDP has put out a plan that is dedicated to helping restore the sustainability of our planet. We have measures to stop greenhouse gas emissions, shift towards a green economy and green jobs, and finally standing up to big oil businesses by ending tax subsidies.”

What is the biggest issue facing Richmond constituents, and how do you propose to change things?

“Housing is a very big concern facing Richmond residents. There has been a rise in expensive homes in Richmond, and the lack of affordability has contributed to a housing crisis. The NDP has a plan to invest into building 500,000 affordable homes over the course of 10 years, with half of it being completed within five years.”


NICOLE IACI, Green 

Why are you running for office?

“I’m running for office because as a lifelong resident of Richmond, I’m ready for change. I can no longer sit back as the status quo continues to lead us in the wrong direction. Climate change is the pivotal issue of our generation, and yet our leaders continue to invest in non-renewable energy causing us to fall further behind our climate targets. 

Canadians, and specifically residents of this community, are finding it harder to make ends meet.
We need affordability for all Canadians to become a priority. Ensuring our climate targets are a priority, increasing the availability of affordable housing, eliminating the cost of post-secondary tuition, guaranteeing livable income for all, enacting universal health and dental care for low income Canadians. ”

What is the biggest issue facing Canadians, and how would you and your party deal with it?

“Climate Change is the single biggest issue facing Canadians. It is the defining issue of our time. The election is now a climate referendum and the Green Party’s Mission: Possible is the only concrete action plan to avert climate catastrophe. Mission: Possible is an action plan delivering concrete solutions to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2030, moving to zero emissions by 2050. The climate plans of every other party fail to meet the emissions reduction targets necessary to achieve the 1.5 degrees goal of the Paris Agreement.” 

What is the biggest issue facing Richmond constituents, and how do you propose to change things?

“Affordability is the single biggest issue facing Richmond constituents—especially as it relates to accessing affordable housing. After 30 years of government withdrawal from some sectors, such as housing, and failing to keep pace with changing and expanding needs in others, the social contract between government and citizens is frayed. This is especially true for Richmond as rapid economic and social changes have created new conditions that require creative program responses. Renewing the social contract is a Green Party priority. 


JOE PESCHISOLIDO, Liberal

Why you are running for office?

“It has been an honour to serve as the Member of Parliament for Steveston-Richmond East. I choose to run for re-election because I want to continue serving the great people of Richmond. In the past four years, I have secured federal funding to:

What is the biggest issue facing Canadians, and how would you and your party deal with it?

“Climate change is real and that it the biggest issue we face as Canadians. We need to quickly transition to a low or no carbon dependent economy. A Liberal majority government will invest in renewables to get to 90 per cent clean electricity by 2030 and reach a net carbon neutral economy by 2050. We will make zero-emission vehicles more affordable and accessible. We will also commit to ban harmful single-use plastics and micro beads. We owe it to our children to give them a better future. 

Affordability is a big concern when I talk to people at the doorstep. We delivered our promise to lower the age eligibility of Old Age Security (OAS) back down from 67 to 65 years old. We will continue to invest in young people to make post-secondary education more affordable by increasing grants by 40 per cent and providing delayed interest-free payments plans. We will lower cell phone bills by 25 per cent and save first-time homebuyers hundreds on their mortgage each month.

We need to end birth tourism and restore the integrity of our healthcare system to best serve our residents. My plan is to go after the illegitimate businesses that profit from birth tourism. Also, work with the city and the province to shut down the illegitimate maternity-ward businesses running out of residential homes.

I have been successful in protecting Richmond’s agriculture and the Fraser River by not allowing Port Metro Vancouver to be built on our precious farmland.”

What is the single biggest issue facing Richmond constituents, and how do you propose to change things?

“The Massey Tunnel needs to be replaced to make life better for us.  Since 2015, our Liberal government has brought billions to the table to fund the replacement project, but it’s up to the province to decide on what to build. ”

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