Those living in the Vancouver-Burrard or Vancouver-Fairview districts may have received their yellow voting cards in the mail by now. No, this is not for yet another federal election, but as previously outlined, two provincial by-elections will be taking place October 29th.
I have a series of interviews with some of the Vancouver-Burrard candidates, and today’s is with Drina Read of the BC Green Party.
I must admit, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the level of engagement the Green Party has achieved over the last few years. On the federal level, Adriane Carr who was running in this last election for Vancouver Centre, tripled the Green vote.
Drina Read saw Carr speak at the Vancouver Public Library a while back and her talk must have been quite captivating as it gave Read the motivation she needed to leap into the provincial political realm.
“I was always a committed Green voter,” she said during our call today after participating in the only debate of the by-election last night at the library. “I want to do something meaningful and for this I realized we need to change the government.”
I asked Read the same questions I gave to Spencer Herbert of the BC NDP, that were submitted by my readers regarding health care, education, and supportive housing.
The BC Green Party has a vision for a free post secondary education system, as they have over in Europe and they believe no student should be burdened by debt.
Regarding health care, more hospitals are the way to go especially given the population density of downtown Vancouver. Read compared us to other major cities, “when I lived in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district there were five hospitals in the area.” She also supports 24 hour health centres that would alleviate long lines and wait times in hospital emergency rooms, as well as abolishing the MSP fees.
Currently, BC is the only province in Canada that makes its citizens pay a monthly fee for health care and at $54 a person, a healthy person could be charged needlessly for living well.
Regarding the costs of medication, treatment and equipment, she supports Made in Canada solutions to not only create jobs, but boost the industry.
I also asked about the InSite supervised injection site (even though it’s not technically within the Vancouver-Burrard boundary) and the Green Party is in strong support of the project. “It’s supposed to be a part of the ‘Four Pillars Strategy‘ although all levels of support have failed us,” noted Read who recently went to a meeting about InSite where she saw Dr. Gabor Mate speak about the project so far. “He said the Four Pillars are more like a stump with three toothpicks.”
When it comes to homelessness and supportive housing she said there is a need to provide a “comprehensive social safety net” and that having people sleep in doorways or fearing that missing one month’s rent could get them evicted is completely unacceptable. She mentioned the “One per cent Solution” which is outlined on the Green Party’s site: “The One Percent Solution developed by the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (1998) calls on all orders of government to increase their spending on housing by one percent.” Also, solutions and support for those with low income along with the disabled and those with addictions is paramount and is targeted with the ‘guaranteed income‘ proposals.
Read affirmed that she believes, “the only way we’re going to have a better life, is by having a better government.”
Related posts: Questions for Vancouver-Burrard Candidates, By-elections for Vancouver-Burrard and Vancouver-Fairview, Candidate interview: Spencer Herbert.