With everything that’s been going on in the past 2 years, it comes as no surprise that there’s a lot of hot topics for the upcoming federal election. Though as a smaller, less populated part of Canada, it can sometimes feel like the concerns we have in BC don’t get addressed — often they barely scratch the surface in Ottawa.
Babbl cares about your community — we’re here and we’re listening. Here’s a summary of key issues voters and candidates alike are talking about in Richmond, Parksville, and Nanaimo.
Doubling Down on Affordability
Between the rising cost of food, the scarcity of cars, and sky-high cell phone plans, there’s no doubt we’re in an affordability crisis. Life is getting more expensive — and our bank accounts show it. Inflation is at 3.7%, the highest it’s been since 2010, and has no plans of slowing down any time soon.
Affordability is on the minds of Canada’s main political parties, and rightly so. According to Abacus Data, affordability is the top issue for voters in this election. It’s the first pillar of the NDP’s “Ready for Better” campaign, reminiscent of their platform 2 years ago. Conservatives have declared a cost-of-living crisis, promising to make life more affordable for everyone. And the Liberals are focused on making homeownership easier with their A Home for Everyone housing plan.
“We are going to recover from the pandemic sooner or later, but in terms of being able to maintain the high quality of living and the social safety net we have in Canada, we have to take the policy steps to support per-capita economic growth. We are seeing high levels of inflation and low levels of wage growth; if we want to stay ahead of the cost of living, we are going to have to create the conditions to address those issues.”
Concerned about Housing
Affordable housing is a serious concern that affects everyone in Canada. It’s heavily linked to inflation as we mentioned above, but the current national housing strategy is also criticized as being limiting to BC residents.
“Housing affordability and increasing homelessness are pressing concerns in our community. Inflated home prices are driving longtime residents out of our communities and away from their families. Skyrocketing rents have pushed hundreds of people into homelessness and thousands more to the brink.”
In Richmond, where the housing market is currently red hot, both NDP candidate Sandra Nixon and Conservative candidate Kenny Chiu agree that the housing crisis is unsustainable. And we now know that the number of people without homes has unfortunately more than doubled in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
Focused on Food Security and the Climate Crisis
Several candidates in both Richmond ridings are focused on food security and the climate crisis. In Richmond Centre, Green Party candidate Laura Gillanders is running because she’s passionate about protecting the natural assets of the region — the Fraser River, the floodplain, and the farmland.
Two Steveston — Richmond East candidates feel the same way. NDP candidate Jack Trovato believes food security and the climate crisis are intertwined. Trovato said, “We can talk about food security [but] if we don’t address the climate emergency, all of this is null and void.”
On the other hand, Liberal candidate Parm Bains stands behind the phrase “no farmer, no food.” He wants the federal government to collaborate with municipalities to produce more food locally. Much of Richmond’s farmland has been overtaken by mansions and manicured lawns. Bains would like to see better use of the land and support for future generations of farmers.
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