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Meet the candidates in each Richmond riding

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 11:14 PDT, Wed October 14, 2020

Last Updated: 1:02 PDT, Wed October 14, 2020

Richmond North Centre



JAEDEN DELA TORRE, 

BC NDP

Ice cream or sushi? Sushi.

Canucks fan? Yes. 

Favourite book? Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

Hobbies? Reading, writing, watching films, going on daily walks.

Who is your hero and why? Personally I would say my hero is Mr. Rogers. 

The kindness and empathy he showed really resonates with me and it’s something I try to do my best (at). 

This world needs more kindness, hope and love. 

Always reminding people what they are worth is a goal we should always strive for. 

Was politics discussed in your house growing up? Occasionally, but never full discussions until I started getting politically involved. Then, it became more frequent.

Political role model? (New Zealand Prime Minister) Jacinda Ardern.

Current job? Student. 

Alternate dream career? Animator. 

Reasons you went into politics? The people I met on the doorstep inspired me to go into politics. 

Canvassing and learning the issues that people care about shaped my views and inspired me into pursuing a career in politics.

Reasons you chose this party? 

The values and view of the BC NDP are values I hold very closely and are viewpoints I agree with. 

Biggest issue this election? COVID recovery, farmland, Richmond Hospital, Massey Tunnel, public education.

Do public schools need more government support? Yes.

Where do you stand on private longterm care facilities? We need to invest and build more public longterm care facilities. 

COVID-19 supports you’d like to see? Sick pay for workers and supports for students struggling to find jobs.

What legislation will you be proposing? Increasing supports for post-secondary students, more investments into co-op housing, creation of youth mental health services. 

Do you support a first-past-the-post system? Voters had an opportunity to express their thoughts on this issue and I respect the outcome.


VERNON WANG, 

BC Green Party

Ice cream or sushi? Sushi.

Canucks fan? No.

Favourite book? No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy.

Hobbies? Sports (volleyball and water polo).

Who is your hero and why? Chris Austin Hadfield, not just what he did, but his images and vision.

Was politics discussed in your house growing up? Yes.

Political role model? Pierre Trudeau.

Current job? Community advisor / marketer.

Alternate dream career? Politician.

Reason you went into politics? It makes sense, and fits me quite well.

Reason you chose this party? The colour and values make me comfortable.

Do public schools need more government support? Sure.

Where do you stand on private longterm care facilities? They should be allowed, but need strict guidelines to follow.

What legislation will you be proposing? BC fair vote.

Do you support a first-past-the-post system? No.


TERESA WAT, 

BC Liberals

Ice cream or sushi? Ice cream (pistachio to be specific!).

Canucks fan? Of course!

Favourite book? Animal Farm

Hobbies? Swimming, gardening, reading, and a lot of walking!

Who is your hero and why? Mary Ellen Smith. Mary was the first woman to serve in the BC Legislature and was a trailblazer for all of us who follow.

Was politics discussed in your house growing up? No, but it was always a passion for me.

Political role model? Nelson Mandela.

Current job? MLA for Richmond North Centre.

Alternate dream career? Radio host.

Reason you went into politics? I wanted to give back to British Columbia, a place that had been so good to me and my family since immigrating from Hong Kong in 1989. 

Reason you chose this party? I was here during the 1990s and I saw how difficult life was under the NDP. The BC Liberals’ positive vision strikes the right balance between economic growth and supporting services for those in the greatest need.

Biggest issue this election? Pandemic recovery—that includes jobs and the economy, as well as finally getting shovels in the ground for the new acute care tower at Richmond Hospital.

Do public schools need more government support? Yes, particularly as they respond to COVID-19.

Where do you stand on private longterm care facilities? Longterm care is very important to me personally. My mom is in a public facility and the pandemic has severely restricted our visits. COVID-19 has shed light on many challenges in longterm care, and I believe all facilities, public or private, must meet the highest standards of care.

COVID-19 supports you’d like to see? Where to begin. I’ll name three. An economic plan to ensure people have economic opportunity and aren’t as worried about their personal finances, investment (finally!) into a new acute care tower at Richmond Hospital and support for our school system to better manage the pandemic.

What legislation will you be proposing? Allowing for real competition in auto insurance to give drivers a choice outside of ICBC’s monopoly.  

Do you support a first-past-the-post system? Yes. I’ve taken pride in representing Richmond North Centre for the people who know I’m their local advocate.



Richmond-Queensborough


KAY HALE, 

BC Conservatives

Ice cream or sushi? Sushi.

Canucks fan? Since forever.

Favourite book? My father’s biography.

Hobbies? Gardening (fruit and vegetables).

Who is your hero and why? Gandhi—he bestowed wisdom.

Was politics discussed in your house growing up?  In those days there was no need to discuss politics—government was for the people.

Political role model? Ronald Reagan.

Current job? Real estate consultant.

Alternate dream career? I have my dream job

Reason you went into politics? To bring back “people before government.”

Reason you chose this party? The BC Conservatives are a non-socialist party that stands for representation of the people and does not lobby for any special interest group or large organizations.  

Biggest issue this election? The economy, seniors, housing, homelessness, opioid crises.

Do public schools need more government support? Public or private school, support should be based on the students’ needs.

Where do you stand on private longterm care facilities? To be held legally or financially responsible to ensure the homes are safe and secure for residents.

COVID-19 supports you’d like to see? Schools and workplaces are given the resources to sustain a safe work environment.

What legislation will you be proposing? Free hospital parking immediately, allocating up to one per cent of existing crown land to development that will pro- mote more affordable housing for British Columbians, providing accommodation and housing assistance to seniors in need, protecting the ALR lands, a property transfer tax exemption for first time home buyers, increasing the threshold to qualify for to be based on fair market value in respective BC regions, addressing birth tourism and stopping the “passport mill.”

Do you support a first-past-the-post system? Yes.


JAS JOHAL, 

BC Liberals

Ice cream or sushi? Both, but never together.

Canucks fan? Obviously. 

Favourite book? The Great Gatsby. It is a book about aspiration that has stuck with me through the years. 

Hobbies? Watching documentaries. Even better, making documentaries. 

Who is your hero? Why? My parents and Mahatma Gandhi.

Was politics discussed in your house growing up? Yes, we discussed federal politics a lot as well as politics back in India. That’s what started my love of international politics early in life. 

Political role model? Obama. I appreciate the positivity he brought to politics.

Current job? Seeking re-election as MLA for Richmond-Queensborough.

Alternate dream career? I already had it: Reporter. 

Reason you went into politics? Public service. 

Reason you chose this party? It resonates with my values. 

Biggest issue this election? Which party can lead British Columbia out of this health crisis and into a robust economic recovery.  Locally, I’m focused on fast-tracking a George Massey Tunnel replacement and providing funding for a new acute care tower at Richmond Hospital. Both these projects would have been well underway had they not been unnecessarily delayed. 

Do public schools need more government support? Yes.

Where do you stand on private longterm care facilities? My priority is a safe, healthy environment for residents. Facilities must meet rigorous standards set and enforced by government, no exceptions. We owe our seniors; they deserve the best from us. 

COVID-19 supports you’d like to see? An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 businesses will not survive this pandemic. Government needs to step up and provide support to individuals and small businesses over the next 18 to 24 months.

What legislation will you be proposing? Immediate PST cut to zero per cent for the next year and three per cent in the second year. This is to support small businesses and families. Second, providing consumer choice in auto insurance by ending the ICBC monopoly.

Do you support a first-past-the-post system? Yes. 


AMAN SINGH, 

BC NDP

Ice cream or sushi? Ice cream.

Canucks fan? Yes! I always cheer for the hometown team. 

Favourite book? 100 Years of Solitude—one of the most beautifully written pieces of literature I’ve ever read. 

Hobbies? Reading books and going on walks with my one-year-old daughter Leni is always the highlight of my day. I am also a dog lover and love to spend time with my two rescue dogs Charlie and Dave. And my wife and I are big music fans and are always listening to new artists, especially local acts.

Who is your hero and why? My parents. They were refugees who had to leave their home with nothing and managed to build a better life in a new country. I am so grateful for their sacrifices and I strive to make them proud in everything I do. 

Was politics discussed in your house growing up? I was fascinated with local politics and world events as a kid growing up in Hong Kong. My parents supported this and helped spark my interest in politics and law by always taking the time to explain the news to me and encouraging me to join in to lively dinner table debates. 

Political role model? Jagmeet Singh is a leader who speaks from the heart and brings compassion to everything he does. I am proud to call him a friend. 

Current job? I am the owner and partner at my own law firm. 

Alternate dream career? I loved studying science and seriously considered a career in medicine before deciding to study law. 

Reason you went into politics? As a teenager in Hong Kong I developed a keen interest in advocacy and social justice. When I moved to BC to attend law school I found the tools to turn that advocacy into real, lasting systemic change. I want to continue to advocate for the underdogs and support people who otherwise feel shut out and not represented in politics. 

Reason you chose this party? The BC NDP is the party truly powered by people. Our base of volunteers is what moves this party forward, not corporate donations. Every day I am inspired by the fantastic work that has already been accomplished by this diverse caucus.

Biggest issue this election? The BC NDP has worked to make progress for people, and there is still more to do. Now more than ever we need a government that works for everyone, not just the people at the top. 

Do public schools need more government support? Every parent wants their children to have the best start possible. As the parent of a one year old, I want to ensure we have a well-funded education system that equips our students for success later in life. Our schools are still recovering from 16 years of Liberal cuts, we can’t go back to asking our teachers to do more with less. In the last three years our government has invested in building safer schools through seismic upgrades while reducing class sizes and hiring more teachers. We need to continue these investments so that every student can get ahead.

Where do you stand on private longterm care facilities? The global pandemic has been especially hard on seniors who have been the most at-risk to COVID-19. Our seniors deserve quality care delivered in their home communities. A re-elected BC NDP government will put our resources into new public beds, upgrading public facilities, and bring in new requirements for private operators. Every senior deserves a private room and compassionate, high-quality care, which is why I’m so proud of our government’s plan to spend $1.4 billion to improve services.

COVID-19 supports you’d like to see? This has been a challenging year for all of us, but especially the most vulnerable people in our province. Low-income workers, women, and seniors have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, and we need to continue to ensure that our economic recovery puts them first. I look forward to working with our federal and local government partners to make sure no one is left behind, and I applaud the consultation efforts led by John Horgan and Carole James. Our government will continue to invest in health care, with a record $1.6 billion investment in health care this fall and winter. This will increase our testing capacity, and hire more than 7,000 new healthcare workers to keep us all safe. 

What legislation will you be proposing? I will work on advocating for the needs of working families, by supporting more investments in education, affordable child-care, and supporting the construction of the new Richmond Hospital tower.

Do you support a first-past-the-post system? The people of British Columbia had their say about our voting system in the 2018 proportional representation referendum. I respect the decision of voters on this issue.


EARL EINARSON,

BC Green Party

No biography was available by our press deadline.



Richmond South Centre


ALEXA LOO, 

BC Liberals

Ice cream or sushi? Sushi.

Canucks fan? Yes.

Favourite book? Currently reading The Woo Woo by Lindsay Wong, our current Richmond Writer in Residence.

Hobbies? Biking, snowboarding, skiing, baking.

Who is your hero and why? After my parents, it is Rick Hansen. He changed how people see other people—to see their ability. He also changed spinal cord treatment and has saved countless people from paralysis because of the funds he raised for research in his Man In Motion Tour.

Was politics discussed in your house growing up? Yes. Mostly Canadian federal.

Current job? City councillor.

Alternate dream career? Accountant

Reason you went into politics? To make my community even better. When you build a city thoughtfully, people are healthier, happier and more engaged. When you have good policies and stick to them, good results follow.

Reason you chose this party? I am pro-business and pro-people. By supporting families and businesses with good infrastructure and policies, everyone does better. I don’t want to be with a party that encourages divisiveness—whether on race, gender or wealth.

Biggest issue this election? Getting people working and the economy going, and supporting mental wellness—COVID has left a trail of financial and emotional destruction in its wake.

Do public schools need more government support? Yes, and the BC Liberals will support schools with seismic upgrading, more building, etc.  

Where do you stand on private longterm care facilities? I support having both private and public longterm care facilities. People should be allowed to have a choice and the government cannot be the only one building care facilities—many not-for-profit organizations have longterm care facilities which are “private”. There is a third party licensing to ensure proper care. We need to continue to ensure that more private rooms are created and that people who need access to public longterm facilities are able to get it.

COVID-19 supports you’d like to see? I’d like to see the supports actually getting to the businesses that were promised it.

What legislation will you be proposing? I’d like to see a revamp of insurance and contract rules. Right now, people under the age of 19 cannot rent a car or a bike or a scooter. If we want a greener future, we need to create a system that supports young people to use alternative transportation and not get into cars in the first place.

Do you support a first-past-the-post system? Yes. At some point we select a system and use it. Every system has challenges and idiosyncrasies. The cost to change versus any possible benefits are not worth it.


HENRY YAO, 

BC NDP

Ice cream or sushi? Sushi.

Canucks fan? Yes.

Favourite book? A Walk to Remember.

Hobbies? Workout, Wing Chun, dancing, and of course eating delicious food with friends and family.

Who is your hero and why? Zhuge Kong Ming, a Chinese strategist in the Three Kingdoms era. What truly impressed me about him isn’t his unique genius or his peerless talents, but his dedication to serve a purpose and his Lord. He was a man who did his best to avoid his personal interest interfering with his service to his country. From military campaigns to governance, everything he did, he did with exceptional calculation and comprehensive consideration for all. He had the ability, competence and position to make himself and his family extremely wealthy and comfortable. However, he humbly served till his last breath and only received what was duly his. He was truly a man of honour for his time. 

Was politics discussed in your house growing up? Very seldomly.

Political role model? I would pick Abraham Lincoln. He brought a divided nation together.

Current job? Community Navigator (BC 211).

Alternate dream career? Don’t have one. I just want to live a meaningful and purposeful life.

Reason you went into politics? I initially got into politics because I wasn’t impressed with how things were being done. Families experience challenges everyday and I think my advocacy can make a difference in their lives.

Reason you chose this party? The BC NDP has made some incredible accomplishments for Richmond in the last 3.5 years. From moving forward with a new Richmond Hospital tower to seismically upgrading Cook and Ferris, the BC NDP government has made improvements in the lives of British Columbians. I am proud of how John Horgan and the BC NDP have invested heavily in health care, education, housing, and childcare, while combating runaway housing prices with a speculation tax.

Biggest issue this election? Healthcare. COVID-19 has challenged us in many ways. It’s allowed British Columbians to consider their priorities. People are worried about their loved ones and a future that looks different than we had ever imagined. Our government has made record investments into healthcare, including moving forward with a new Richmond Hospital tower, with more beds and services than initially envisioned. And we’re investing $15 million to develop primary care networks in Richmond. But there’s far more to do.

Do public schools need more government support? Our BC NDP government has invested over $80 million into new schools and seismic upgrades in Richmond. That includes seismic upgrades of Cook and Ferris elementary schools in Richmond South Centre.

Where do you stand on private longterm care facilities? We’re making a record $1.6 billion investment to fight COVID-19 this fall and winter. We’re hiring 7,000 healthcare workers with 2,000 of those in seniors long term care homes. In addition, last week, John Horgan announced a commitment of $1.4 billion over 10 years to revamp elder care facilities and their administration after the COVID-19 pandemic showed vulnerabilities in the system. Seniors in their later years should have the dignity of one room with just them in it and that’s what our goal is.


Richmond-Steveston


KELLY GREENE, 

BC NDP

Ice cream or sushi? Definitely sushi.

Canucks fan? Go Canucks go!

Favourite book? Lord of the Rings.

Hobbies? Gardening and baking.

Who is your hero and why? Dr. Roberta Bondar. I have been inspired by her since I was a girl. As the first Canadian woman astronaut, she was a trailblazer in a men-dominated field. She literally proved that girls and women can shoot for, and land, among the stars.

Was politics discussed in your house growing up? Not particularly. 

Political role model? New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Current job? Richmond city councillor.

Alternate dream career? Novelist.

Reason you went into politics? The BC Liberal government was going to shut down our schools and also withheld seismic safety improvements for any school until some were closed. The more I looked into the facts and policies, the angrier I became at the gross neglect of our community. We deserved better than that. Leading a successful grassroots opposition through this terrible situation, I felt a deep sense of responsibility to the people who entrusted me to make things better. As a result, I have continued to use my voice in service to the community and stepped into politics. 

Reason you chose this party? I value strong education so we are investing in our future, a well-funded healthcare system so people can get help when they need it, and solving the climate crisis of today so our children have the opportunity for a healthy future. These are values I share with the BC NDP, a party that puts people first. 

Biggest issue this election? The Richmond Hospital acute care tower replacement. We’ve been desperate for a replacement tower for well over a decade. The plans for the hospital tower are being drawn up by architects and engineers right now, and I am afraid that it will be shelved to pay for reckless PST tax cuts and other tax breaks for the one per cent if we don’t re-elect a BC NDP government.

Do public schools need more government support? Progress is being made to fix the education system, and more support is on its way. School closures are no longer a threat to families and the BC NDP has invested $81 million in repairing eight Richmond schools in the last 3.5 years. We won’t stop until every school is seismically safe!

Where do you stand on private longterm care facilities? More regulation is needed, and I’m proud that the BC NDP has taken concrete steps to improve the safety of workers and care home residents during COVID-19. We ended multi-facility staffing that was spreading COVID-19, are hiring 2,000 new workers for longterm care, and repealed a law that allowed contract flipping with high staff turnover, which is detrimental to residents and workers.  

COVID-19 supports you’d like to see? The BC NDP has worked hard to successfully in reducing costs for households across the province. We cancelled the MSP, reduced childcare fees for 63,000 kids, capped rent increases to the rate of inflation, and the speculation tax returned about 10,000 housing units to the market and funded the construction of affordable housing. We will continue the work to make life more affordable, plus targeted response to areas in need, for example, the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant, the $500 million InBC investment fund to scale up BC businesses, and the creation of thousands of jobs in healthcare and childcare.

What legislation will you be proposing? The Fraser River was formerly managed under FREMP, the Fraser River Estuary Management Program, where the cumulative effects of development were considered. The Fraser River and Estuary is a whole system, and our well-being and economy depend on a healthy river. I would propose legislation that would have a similar function, so we can continue to have a salmon fishery and so that resident orcas don’t become extinct. 

Do you support a first-past-the-post system? My preference is for a proportional representation system, as that allows for closer alignment with voter’s preferences. That being said, I support democracy, and first-past-the-post was chosen by referendum. So here we are!


VINCE LI, 

Independent

Ice cream or sushi? Sushi.

Canucks fan? Yes.

Favourite book? Harry Potter.

Hobbies? Basketball and snowboarding.

Was politics discussed in your house growing up? No.

Current job? Educator.

Alternate dream career? NBA player.

Reason you went into politics? To try to set a model that involves immigrants.

Reason you chose this party? I didn’t want any party affiliation for now.

Biggest issue this election? COVID.

Do public schools need more government support? Yes!

Where do you stand on private longterm care facilities? Safety first, we need more caregivers so (people) might be able to stay home with their families.

COVID-19 supports you’d like to see? Getting ready for a longterm battle.

What legislation will you be proposing? Allowing permanent residents who pay tax to vote.

Do you support a first-past-the-post system? Yes.


MATT PITCAIRN, 

BC Liberals

Ice cream or sushi? Timothy’s Ice Cream.

Canucks fan? Of course.

Favourite book? A Short History of Nearly Everything.

Hobbies? Cooking and camping.

Who is your hero and why? My dad. I strive to be the man and father he was to me.

Was politics discussed in your house growing up? Yes.

Political role model? Obama.

Current job? I resigned as CEO of the Chamber of Commerce several weeks ago; my sole focus is now earning the support and trust of the residents of Richmond-Steveston.

Reason you went into politics? I want to make life better for everyday British Columbians.

Reason you chose this party? I believe in the party’s free enterprise principles.

Biggest issue this election? Health and safety, and economic recovery.

Do public schools need more government support? Yes

Where do you stand on private longterm care facilities? We need safe private and public care facilities.

COVID-19 supports you’d like to see? Real rent relief for struggling businesses.

What legislation will you be proposing? I will be supporting our party’s commitments to addressing immediate and pressing needs for BC families, workers and businesses.

Do you support a first-past-the-post system? Yes.

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