I ventured outside of the downtown core to meet up with Haida Lane, the BC Liberal candidate for Vancouver-Hastings.
“I’ve always had a passion for politics,” said Haida who start campaigning later in the game since the untimely passing of candidate Andrew Mak. “Given the opportunity and the need, I knew that this community could use better representation so I jumped on board and have been at a running pace since.”
Being a stay-at-home mom when her daughter was young, Haida began visiting the Hastings Community Centre Family Drop-In, what she calls a “phenomenal resource for communities”. The adult interaction allowed her to meet other parents, build networks, and led to her getting on the board of the Hastings Community Association. She also Chairs the Hastings Sunrise City Planning Committee, which deals with implementing community visions in the area.
“It’s a pretty diverse riding,” said Haida whose electoral district spans from Commercial Drive, to Boundary, then from the Burrard Inlet down to 12th Avenue. “There are a couple neighbourhood centres within that as well as highway orientated retail… …and we have some small commercial districts, low use industrial districts as well so there’s a lot of variety there.” Resources close to home for Haida though will always be the community centres – promoting small business and living in a “walkable” neighbourhood is key.
Haida is committed to informing her constituents, whether it be when they stop by her office, message her on Twitter or leave a message for a call back (which she’ll do personally). “I believe that this is a very precarious time given where we are on the global economic scale and what we [the BC Liberals] have done for BC in the last eight years. I mean we are one of the leaders of the economy in Canada right now… …I know that just speaks volumes so I really hope that people look at that, and realize the full impact of how important it is to have strong leadership.”
Her main platform issues are on the economy, public safety, and the environment. “I would love to see what could be done working with a majority government (if that ends up being the case) to really move the issues of this riding forward in Victoria.”
I asked her what her favourite part of the Vancouver-Hastings area and she had no shortage of highlights to share. “A lot of people, when you say ‘East Van’ they usually go ‘oh, East Van…?’ but this area is amazing!” She continued, “it’s not only just the sense of community that exists but it’s things like your neighbourhood centre where you can do your shopping, there’s neighbouhood community centres,” and also the abundance of parks. Haida recommended the Hastings Park Conservancy and New Brighton Park, which she described as “a bit of the gem on the East Side that not a lot of people know about.”
The BC General Election & Referendum on Electoral Reform takes place May 12, 2009. Other candidate interviews include Spencer Herbert (NDP, Vancouver-West End) and Drina Read (Green Party, Vancouver West-End).