Canada, Ethnic Studies and the World

edited by Stanley Lee

interviewed by Stanley Lee and Yi Fang

 

We interviewed Michael Lee, BC Liberal candidate for Vancouver-Langara, right after our conversation with Councillor James Wang, BC NDP candidate for Vancouver-Langara. You may not have heard of this guy in the media, but he has been volunteering in the community in different capacities for a long time. He has been a political volunteer since his early twenties or late teens, and worked his way into leadership roles in electoral associations at different levels. One thing that stood out in the interview was his leadership of taking a different approach with financing his campaign, which is understandably a perceived liability of the incumbent BC Liberals going into the election.

 

Before we get into the interview, here are the links relevant for his campaign.

 

 


 

 

We just spoke to your opponent.

 

Yes.

 

First question, how well do you know your opponent from the NDP personally? How would you differentiate yourself from him given the contrast in the political experience between you two?

 

I know of him in the community. I’ve met him at some community functions and I’ve seen him at particularly from the Mainland Chinese community. That’s all. My contrast in political experience would be that I started in the community and in politics about 30 years ago when I was 20 years old in the Chinese community in Chinatown. I’ve worked with youths at risk as a volunteer for success. I was also selected to be part of a national youth advisory committee advising the Canadian Government on youth issues.

 

I did that for a year as part of a 24 person youth advisory committee travelling across Canada organizing regional youth forums as well as writing our report. I’ve worked on head tax redrafts in Chinatown interviewing head tax payee under the Head tax CBA –Chinatown Head Tax Payee Association of Vancouver. I studied political science at UBC. I was in the political science program and into student government.

 

I became the first Chinese-Canadian student vice president at the University of British Columbia in 1989-90. I was involved in federal politics. I was a youth organizer for the Progressive Conservative Party as well as on the riding executive board doing advanced work for the sitting ministers. I also worked for Kim Campbell for three and a half years. When she became the first female minister of Justice in Canada, I worked for her for a year in Vancouver and afterward in Ottawa. 

 

So from 1984 to 1993, I spent nine years of my life involved with the community in politics both at UBC and federally in different ways. I’ve also on Tung Chan’s campaign when he first ran for city council. So I did things like that. I’ve branded Chinese voter’s education project as well in 1986. So I’ve got a very strong history in that way. Obviously, in terms of my other political involvements, I’ve been on Gordon Campbell’s riding executive doing outreach in the community for him when he was premier. I’ve worked with Colin Hansen on his riding executive as well.

 

Of course, for the last three and a half years, I’ve been involved with Vancouver-Langara riding association, which is this riding that I’m running for the BC liberals. I’ve been the riding association president for the last three years. I was also the first membership chair of the BC liberal party when they redid their constitution. So I have a very extensive political experience federally, provincially and municipally. I chaired Peter Ladner’s campaign when he first ran for city council back in 2002. These are examples of my political involvements over the last 30 years in this community. 

 

Another question regarding Mr. Wang, do you think his history of being an elected official in Burnaby is one of the reasons you want to persuade the voters that they should not vote for him?

 

You are asking…state the question again please.

 

Yes, do you think the fact that James was an elected official in the city of Burnaby is the reason why –one of the reasons why people in this riding should not vote for him.

 

I think it’s up to the voters to decide how they want to vote. I’m not going to suggest why voters shouldn’t vote for one candidate or another.

 

Okay.

 

But I would say this, I think from what I understand about Mr. Wong’s experience, he has been representing people in Burnaby at the school board level and city council level. That’s what he was elected to do. I think when you are elected by a community to represent that community; it is better to continue to represent that community.

 

So I think it was unfortunate that he wasn’t able to get the NDP nomination to run in Burnaby. I think you represent a community better when you take on the role and you stay with that community. So I don’t know how well he knows Vancouver. I know he has some family here and his mother and things like that.

 

Yes.

 

But I know that I’ve been living in the community. I was born and raised in Vancouver-Langara area for my early 20’s. I have a lot of community involvement in Vancouver including this area. So I know there’s quite a contrast there in terms of his involvements versus mine.

 

Okay. Let’s move on to another topic that we anticipate is going to be really discussed in depth in this election. It might even be one of the election ballot box questions and that has to do with campaign financing. Are you concerned about BC liberals image being hampered by the campaign-financing situation going to the election campaign in the court of public opinion?

 

I’m a business lawyer for 20 years so I understand conflict whether it’s real or perceived. I was speaking at a town hall meeting at SUCCESS on Sunday with NDP and Green Party candidates that were in there and certainly that was raised. I can tell you that I expressed my belief when people are elected to government roles that they act appropriately in those offices.

 

My view is that government needs to act appropriately but I do recognize and I expect that they be. But I do understand that the public knows that perception is important as well as I door knock in this riding. That’s one of the reasons why I run is to- with some my background 20 years as a business lawyer, 30 years in this community that I represent something—a new perspective let’s say to bring into government. 

 

I take people’s concerns seriously about our perceived conflicts of interest so much so that for my own campaign recognizing that of course, this BC liberal government has increased transparency when donations are made unlike the other parties in terms of being willing to share that information on a quicker basis.

 

But also the premier as you know has said that she is moving forward with an independent review of donation rules in our province. I do believe personally that that review is very necessary and that we should be looking at how our public fund raising donation rules political should be reviewed and possibly tightened. I would say for my own campaign as new candidate nominated and acclaimed at the end of November by this party that I have put in place with my team a very broad-based fundraising strategy which is focused on primarily individuals and focused on donations suggested guidelines for those individuals.

 

So I have tried to build more of a broad-based donation level with hundreds of people donating to my campaign in reasonable levels and I think that’s important. I think that’s important because political campaigns are to have a bit of engagement they shouldn’t be from one part of the community. I have a very broad-based diverse fundraising base not from one part of our community. Secondly, I don’t take the big checks whether we are in a fundraising, dinning with people sticking their hands up donating money to this party. They do not donate that way. I think it’s important that we encourage people to donate money.
What are the limitations you’ve set for yourself as an individual? How much they should be?

 

The suggested donation level for my campaign is $2,000. There are a few exceptions to that but the majority of my donations are $2,000 level and below. 
Next question, given the number of general provincial elections that the BC Liberals have already won running in a row in the history of the province, do you feel that the BC Liberals are the natural governing party of the province?

 

I don’t think when it comes to politics that anything is necessarily natural. I think that you need to earn the confidence and trust of the voters and that is obviously done every four years. That’s something a government and a party need to work for every four years and they should be doing it continuously during the four-year mandate to maintain the confidence and trust.

 

So I think obviously that the BC Liberal Party is the better choice for voters in this province but I would not suggest in any means that there’s natural or anything related to that. I’d like to think that voters recognize why it’s important to go for a party that believes in strong fiscal management and can continue to build resources to fund the kind of programs we need in health, education and social programs.  

 

Okay speaking of the election, we have another question. The kind of comments we’ve been getting in our readership is that given the demographics in Vancouver Langara like with the newcomer community. The large concentration of Cantonese speaking people living in this community and that Mr. Wang is a Cantonese from Mainland China. Do you think the victory is in your hand, given the past voting patterns?

 

I think there are two questions there can you just…

 

Let’s make it simple. We have this riding traditionally and it is more liberal. Let’s say, inside of Chinese community from our understanding is the majority of Cantonese-speaking population. Mr. Wang is from Mainland China. He speaks Mandarin only. Do you think just by the calculation you see the demographic here, does this supposed to be easy battle for you? Do you think you have an advantage given this composition of the demographic?

 

I think that’s what I have as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to represent, as you say, a very diverse riding. Diverse ethnicity wise, age wise, economically wise, so as a second generation Canadian whose parents came from Hong Kong in the 50’s and 60’s, I speak basic Cantonese. My wife came from Hong Kong where she was born and she speaks more fluent Cantonese and basic Mandarin.

 

We are all part of this very diverse community but what’s important for me is that I’m seen to be someone that’s capable with my track record of representing the entire riding which includes Jewish people, South Asian people, Taiwanese, Filipino and others. Of course apart from Mandarin speaking, Cantonese speaking Chinese, whether they are new immigrants or long time residents, I feel like I can represent the entire riding.

 

That’s what I’m working towards. Yes, it has a very strong history. The BC liberal party in this riding has very strong legacy of leadership. We have previous cabinet ministers in our government Dr. Stillwell, Carole Taylor as a past minister of finance and Rev. Anderson since 1991. I intend to be on the ground serving the community as Rev. Anderson has been recognize the opportunity I’ve been provided with which I want to earn.

 

So I think I am broader. I’d like to think that I’m a broader person given with my background, and perhaps Mr. Wong as well. I recognize that he has a strong or he has good social connections within the Mainland Chinese community here in Vancouver. But of course, I’ve been reaching out to that Mainland Chinese community for some years now. So I do have my own social connectivity there as well. So I think the demographics of this riding are very broad and diverse. I do think that because of my background, I am in a stronger position to represent that riding well.

 

Right. We only ask this question because there are dynamics in play about the different ethnicities being in their silos because of technology or beliefs or whatever. So, moving on.

 

Can I say something about that one?

 

Yes, sure.

 

Lee: So that is actually one of the reasons before Mr. Wong came along to run in this riding.

 

Yes.

 

It’s actually one of the reasons why I wanted to run for political office. Because I recognized as you said that our community has made silos in different ways.  They’re historic. They’re based on ethnicity lines. They’re cultural.  So this community is not as integrated as we think it is. It needs to grow up a bit. It needs to be more global. I know this generation sees the rest of the world the way it is. We need to find more ways to integrate more.

 

It’s not just about building bridges and having more multicultural festivals. I think it’s more about integration. So that’s the reason why a candidate like is coming forward again as a second generation. I was born in Canada and hopefully will put a different face on the way people look at their elected representatives, which is the reason why when we look at ethnic politics and like everybody party does, puts forward a candidate that speaks the language more fluently from that country and I’m not trying to be that candidate.  I can do some of that. I would do more of that in the future but I feel that I’m that broader candidate because I want to get through some of those silos that you just mentioned.

 

So you are more focused on unity and integration given the globalization. You talked about public officials too. So the next 2 questions are, can you explain a little further on what you think is missing for that integration to happen? Second, what is your understanding of their impressions of public officials these days? A deep question maybe, right?



Yes.

 

Sorry I need to add a little bit. You also mentioned about integration. Let’s just say Chinese community, some people say it’s more than just one Chinese community even we are all ethnic Chinese have different views, different cultural backgrounds, even for that little community, how you were able to integrate or learn from each other more? The broader view is that how do we integrate different ethnic groups more because you’re talking about integration? To be honest Mr. Wang also talked about it. Are there any real plans to implement what you want to achieve? Maybe I was asking too many questions.

 

Okay so there are three questions. Your first question though was the other one.

 

What do you think was missing when you talked about integration?



Can I start with that one?

 

Sure.

 

May I go to that one then come back to the last one?

 

Sure.

 

I think the question is about what it is missing. I think that for example when Prime Minister Trudeau went forward with last federal election, he did many important things to renew the country in different ways including speaking to the young people, women ethnic diversity let’s say. I think when he came down to choose his cabinet he did a good thing. But I’d like to see the integration of this country, the province and the cities. It needs to get beyond, counting how many of these we have in the future.

 

You’re talking about circus level accounting so to speak…

 

Yes, so we need to get beyond that which is what Trudeau cabinet did. Of course the reaction in the Chinese community among some people was, “Well you say it’s a diverse cabinet, but there’s no Chinese Canadians, sir?” Well, that’s the challenge, right? That’s the challenge. I do think we need excellence in selecting representatives, but the prime minister didn’t have that amongst the people he could choose from.

 

So I’m coming forward because I think we need to change that. So we need to give our elected prime minister or our premier or whoever more choices. So that’s I’m working towards, it may not be me but it’s the next generation. My view of integration is having more excellence in elected and volunteer politics in our political process as we do have in business, academia, and the health profession in this country.

 

We have people let’s just say from the Chinese Canadian community who are varied leaders in these areas but yet we don’t really have that in politics. We have some of it certainly since the days of Douglas John—Douglas John 1957?

 

Yes.

 

It’s probably one of the best ones that this community has never put forward. There have been other examples but we need more of that men and women. So that’s what I’m working towards and that’s what I think is missing. I think it’s a combination of excellence and ethnic diversity let’s put it that way. Good examples of that locally, minister Harjit Sajjan, the Member of Parliament Randeep Serai in Surrey. When you look at members of the Indo community – South Asian community here in British Columbia or federally you’ll see good examples of that. I’m sure there are other examples of course that I could name from the Chinese Canadian community from Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia there are some certainly.

 

I just think that I am another example of a person that will be that next generation candidate to bring about something that when you’re asking what missing, I think what’s missing is someone men and women like me. We need more with my background in the community and skill set which is seen to be representing not just one part of our community but the broader community. I feel like by the way that when someone is viewed to be a stronger representative of the broader then you’re also a stronger a representative of your own community right? Because the stronger you are the more people who feel that you are representing the whole community.
You’re not stronger if you are only to be representing one part of a community. That’s my belief and that’s why some people and in ethnic politics have been limited in their abilities to going forward.

 

You are talking the lack of broad-based appeal?

 

Yes. So I hope it answers your first question.

 

So how do you initiate that integration?

 

So for the last 30 years as I mentioned, I’ve been working in the community as a youth volunteer first for youths at risk. I learned that SUCCESS is a bridge itself. My view of community started back then because we’re very good at helping each other inside our communities.

 

The Hong Kong based community and even the proliferation of the number of Mainland Chinese community organizations including the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations C.A.C.A are great examples and their efforts with Barkerville and Fort McMurray relief and the things that they do were great. We’re very good at helping within communities.

 

Without going outwards.

 

Yes. So that’s the way it’s been for at least 30 years that I’ve been looking at this. Now having said that there are some good examples in the South Asian community, they do some things for the Children’s Hospital. They do a fundraiser every year that my good friend Robin Diaterre chaired in the past.  They open it up to the community more.  

 

The Jewish community had a project here at the Jewish Community Center, which is where I went to preschool at 41st and Oak which is in the riding. I was involved in the program there until I was 10. So I know about the Jewish community, which is an interesting mix. They do things at the Jewish community center that serve the broader public not just the Jewish community. It’s either 50 or 60% of the people, sorry, 40 to 50% of the people they serve are not Jewish. They go through that center.

 

I think we need more of that success partly through government funding happened 10 years ago giving service to the immigrant community beyond just the Chinese community. So there’s another example of a Canadian community organization that’s opening the doors to other ethnicities and other ethnic groups. Those are three good examples where I think integration is happening in some ways.

 

But I am concerned that with the Mainland Chinese community. It’s such an important one to this city and to this province that we continue to fund raise to do that. I’ve been spending time speaking to groups of Mainland Chinese people when I was the executive chair of the party before about community involvement. I think we talked about it and people want to know. Even though I was not born in Mainland China but what they want to know is you’re a good example of someone who is involved in the community. It’s not so much for them but it’s for their children because they want their children of course to be part of a better Canadian society.

To integrate



So that’s what we need more examples of. I think people who sit down and talk to me and hear my story and who volunteer to my campaign, who are from Mainland China, they understand I’m the example. Even though they’re okay that my parents are from Hong Kong, I’m another example of another immigrant son. We have my immigrants’ sons and daughters who have gone to do good things in this country.

 

So having said that I’m very sensitive to this, externally wise we all look Chinese. I appreciate your point as well. I know within the Chinese community there’s great diversity including in Chinatown the clan associations with lots of different things, right?  But I appreciate all of those differences but when others look at us, they look at us in a similar way. So are all in it together. So we need to find ways to strengthen the dialogue. I would like to get past some of the issues that affect our community. When I say the community – the broader community.

 

Some people from Mainland China spoke to us and they are saying they feel a bit of Sino phobia sentiments going on in BC society. Do you feel the same way or that’s something you want to prevent?     

 

I think it’s something that I want to work with. I think it’s not just here in British Columbia. There are silos everywhere in the society of course. In some cases as you know there are class silos we have it better here in many ways. I’d like to work through it because it will be very challenging. We can’t continue this way because there’s lots of a misunderstanding.

 

Part of that is through the media where they focus on things like people driving luxury cars or living in big houses. But I know that in the Mainland Chinese community many of the people I’ve met are looking for a better future. Sure they might have some wealth off but others are just working.

 

The media are just focusing on specific examples

 

We have examples in other communities of course of excess, right?

 

 

Yes.

 

 

This is not the only community that has that.  So I think that’s why I want to work through that because I think that’s very unfortunate. Having said that though of course, it’s a two-way street we need to encourage of course Mainland Chinese people to engage. So as a result, when I door-knock, my wife comes with me usually and we do also take other volunteers who are fluent in Mandarin and they talk because I was trying to engage with them. So how do we work through this? Part of it is language, I know we need more people to speak Mandarin and for me I studied Mandarin in law school.

 

I know that my Cantonese will improve over time before the election. My commitment is up until I’m elected. If I am elected, I will continue to work on my mandarin but I’m not a natural Mandarin. It is something that is important and I will do that. I don’t expect to do it before the election. Those are like five weeks left. But it is something that I know is important. But I also know what’s important of course is English. English is important too.

 

So it’s a two-way street. So we reach out and people reach back. So I think it’s important that we talk about that and I will tell you on those doors that were trying to educate people about our voting system. That people have a choice. They don’t just have to choose based on social networks. They can base on policies of the candidate.
Since you mentioned about policy, we need to move on to policies.

 

Yes.

 

Yes and I do have a question on language services policy pretty much two questions as well. Number one, do you think there are enough language services for newcomers communities? Secondly, whose responsibilities do you think it is for adequate language services?

 

Some of the ESLs courses got cut, I think two years ago. Yes, that was two years ago, some of the courses got cut by the BC government. Of course there was some funding issues between the federal government and BC government. What’s your view? Do you want to comment on that or?

 

Yes, I think that language training is very important. So when I was on the board of success, I’m very familiar with the importance of ESL training. My own grandmother, when she came from Hong Kong in 1978 she went down to success to learn English on her own that way. So I think we need more programs to support that. It’s all connected to how we fund government and where the government’s priorities are of course.

 

I think that it’s something that should continue to be looked at in terms of where all the resources can come from. What kind of collaboration partnership we can have with good community organizations and vital services. As you say, where the federal government money is well, I think these things are things that ought to be considered but it does come back to a government that has the right because fiscal management can be able to generate the resources to fund these programs.

 

Government can always do more and they can certainly provide more ESL language training programs. But we can only do that if we have strong management of our financials, which includes, in this case, five consecutive balanced budgets. A situation where we do not have to borrow more money to pay for interest on operating debt services that we can’t afford. So some tough decisions have been made at the times to rebalance some of the priorities.

 

I think this government if re-elected, is in a much better financial position in the way it manages the finances of the government to move forward in a good way so that we can actually provision resources for more services.

 

Do you think that the foreign buyers tax regarding the housing policy is effective so far, the 15% foreign buyer’s tax?

 

The 15% foreign buyer’s tax is one of the initiatives including tightening up consumer protection through ending self-regulation in the real estate industry. The 3% luxury tax, the high end, the greater first time home buyer’s load program in terms of free interest for the first five years and of course enabling the city of Vancouver to have this empty home registering regime.

 

I think the foreign buyers taxes was one instrument in that series of things. I think it was a blunt instrument in terms of how it was brought about. It’s not easy for a free enterprise government to bring in a tax like that. I think it seems to have had some effect of course to break down some of the top end of the market. But I don’t think any government has the silver bullet in dealing with housing affordability in every city.

 

I think it’s something that is a shared responsibility amongst the federal, provincial and city governments. Of course, I think where the focus should go to increasing supply working with the city government on increasing supply, a mix of supply along transit lines and tying it to the transit lines and tying the transit infrastructure funding that both the federal and provincial government has provided.

 

Okay speaking of transportation

 

Yes.

 

There happens to be a common trend of let’s say the provincial government position on doing something. Like taking action on foreign money injection into the market with the timing of the foreign buyer’s tax, with the announcement that the provincial government is going to match the contribution to the transportation plan with the Surrey LRT. So our question is, do you think the Ministry of Transportation and the ministry of education plan are far enough in advance where the infrastructure need to be upgraded or?

 

 

I think that is a very good question. It’s a very important question to be asked. I think that certainly in terms of the 10-year plan the mayors have with transportation that they’ve all agreed to that. As you say the phase 2 funding is that 40% match provincial and federal now. I think that is important except $2.2 billion contribution towards that transit plan. I think from what I’ve seen of that plan, it does look far enough out over the 10 year period over where potentially a million people might come to reside over the next 15 years or so. I think that is going to be an important one where we continue to build for the future.

 

I’m not sure for example that the city of Vancouver when they look at housing supply that they are actually seeing it that way with the zoning requirements and the density. We need to continue to look at greater density as opposed to current density, six stories versus more particularly in the transit lines. In terms of education, I think that the overall enrollment in schools over the last 15 years in this province has dropped by 55,000 students over the province.

 

Surrey of course is growing. So I think there are certain areas, Vancouver not so much. So I think the planning need to be looked for but it needs to be done in conjunction with the transportation plan and the housing plan. So we can look at the mix of things. So for example, in Vancouver Langara, I think that it’s a great example of where we’re building more density along the Canada Line. But over 22 different housing developments, we need to continue to build the overall region because that’s something that should be done not just at the city level. The province should have some role to play in how it brings health care dollars and education dollar to the table into this riding.

 

Okay, we have a question related to resource development with relation to the Kinder Morgan Transportation Pipeline expansion and the liquefied natural gas portfolios. I think in terms of approving those portfolios to go ahead from the provincial government level. The Premier has repeatedly brought up the five conditions that need to be met I believe by National Energy Board or what not. Our question, are you concerned about the public’s trust or mistrust level with those five conditions set by the board?

 

Yes. Let’s say you open a coffee shop just because you say have the best coffee ever. It doesn’t necessarily mean that people think the same way.

 

I think we elect governments that show leadership. I think that the premier and the provincial government in this case did that when she set forth conditions some years ago. Those conditions are to be met including by the federal government and the proponent Kinder Morgan in terms of the kinds of ways that those conditions were met which included world class spill response. So how do you find even world-class spill response? Sure that’s something that governments need to do.

 

I think that it is something with the amount of commitment dollar commitment towards that. I think it’s evident from its face that are to be evident that it was significant plan for spill response as well as protecting our coastline and those marine communities. Those were concessions in funding arrangements both by the federal government and with Kinder Morgan, which this province was able to obtain through setting up the conditions for what is a federal decision. Pipeline is a national decision. It’s not a provincial decision. So we’re in a situation where the provincial government here is setting conditions to others to meet.

 

So I think the public is concerned about a variety of things about the protection of the environment. I get that. I understand that as a business lawyer for 20 years. I’ve worked with resource companies. We have some of the most stringent environmental regulations in the world, in this country and in this province which is the reason it takes so long to get projects done in British Columbia and Canada economic development opportunities including LNG because we take so long.

 

 

It’s important to be comprehensive. It’s important to have social license. It’s important to meet the concerns of first nations, the global community. But because we are the way we are, we’re falling behind. We’re missing out on opportunities.  The world is moving on without us. If we do not meet those opportunities in that responsible way so as I come forward this is not for fun, right? This is because I feel like we’ve built a lot in this province.

 

We’re what some people say a powerhouse for this country but we need to compete and people from China knows that. People from India know we need to compete. Nobody is just going to hand us those dollars.  So for those people who are concerned how they are going to pay for senior’s care or childcare or other things that we all want to do, we need to find those dollars other than raising taxes.
So last two questions.

 

Yes.

 

It’s supposed to be the easy questions. If BC liberal were to win government again and if you win this riding, what do you think are your chances to be appointed as the Attorney General or the minister of Justice?

 

Justice. Yes, sorry about that. 

 

So we have an Attorney General and minister for justice who’s done this job very well and that’s Minister Suzanne Antonio of course.

 

Maybe there is a shuffle. 

 

Well, it’s not my decision. It’s the premier’s decision with a team of people advising her I’m sure. I have no expectation of that. I’m running to be the MLA for Vancouver Langara to represent this riding well. I’ll certainly consider taking on any opportunity that might be extended to me. I’d say, the people in the community have some expectation of what you’re speaking of. Not that particular role but I think they see me in the business community in the broader community. They see the potential of some other role that I could play in this government in the future but—

 

Any examples? Yes, it’s okay.

 

Lee:  That’s not for me to speculate. I’m just focused on—

 

You’re just focused on winning this election.

 

Winning this election.

 

That’s right. Fair enough. Last one it’s about young people. You mentioned about young volunteers. You started when you were young too.

 

Yes.

 

You started when you were in your early 20’s or even way before that but in this era we sense that this generation of young people let’s say under 35 years old the skepticism toward liberal democracy is high. You see the turnout is low in general but extremely low among young people and the question is whether it’s all just money-talk; big donors rule the world etc. We don’t really have a choice democrats or republicans. It’s the same so basically to them it seems like there’s no change or if there is a change, you end up having Donald Trump being the United States President which is something some young people don’t want to see. So as a candidate, you’re doing politics now. What’s your message to the young people that liberal democracy still matters and participating politics is still important? What’s your message to them?



I mentioned earlier that one the reasons why I was coming forward was the concern about silos in our community. Another reason why I’m coming forward which I think I hit on earlier was confidence and trust and in a particular amongst our young people. I think it’s very important if we’re going to regain confidence and trust in our political process that it needs to include of course young people because that’s how you bring about change.

 

Democracies can bring about change in a variety of ways. One is, of course, electing another alternative. But another way I think which is the way that I am working on is to include and reach out to young people certainly volunteers working on my campaign. Certainly, young voters in terms of having discussions and this are a good way to have a discussion like this.

 

I intend certainly if I’m elected to continue down that path because I think it’s important to do that for this party. If you look at the Vancouver candidates apart from Andrew Wilkinson, Suzanne Antoine and Sam Sullivan and then myself in this riding, the other five Vancouver candidates are all young people. Meaning they’re all in their 30’s or younger including James Lombardi, Gabe Garfinkel, as well as Kim Chan Logan, Conny Lin, and Jane Spitz and Trang Nguyen. Trang is probably a little older but not too old.

 

But those are good examples of the next generation of candidates. I know that a number of them are reaching out to the younger audience on younger issues. Perceived issues that people are as concerned about which includes housing affordability, right sharing, the development of more innovative economy, which is something I talk about a lot. But I think it’s very important that we continue to have young people consider that their vote is important and their opinion does matter because that’s how we shape our governments.
That’s all for our questions. Thanks for making time for the interview.



Thank you very much.