New Canadian Media

Vancouver South Residents Seek Change

Written by  NCM Election Desk Saturday, 17 October 2015 10:27
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Naresh Shukla, owner of Mother India Naresh Food Inc., an East Indian convenience store located on Main Street in Vancouver.
Naresh Shukla, owner of Mother India Naresh Food Inc., an East Indian convenience store located on Main Street in Vancouver. Photo Credit: Sableen Minhas

by Sableen Minhas in Vancouver

Canada’s weakening economy, the implication of Anti-terrorism Act, Bill C-51 and rapid growth in the riding are some of the main concerns of constituents in Vancouver South. These issues might decide the fate of this diverse riding in the upcoming federal election. 

As per the latest projections by ThreeHundredEight.com, Liberal candidate Harjit Sajjan is emerging a winner with support from over 55 per cent of voters in the riding. 

Wai Young, the Conservative incumbent, is trailing at about 24 per cent. The number of her supporters seems to have almost halved from the 2011 federal election, which she won by beating the three-time Liberal member of Parliament (MP) Ujjal Dosanjh in a tight race. 

“When I came into Canada 40 years ago, when politicians [said] something I trusted that yes, [they’re] going to do it. These days, they say something, but they are not really serious.”

Naresh Shukla, owner of Mother India Naresh Food Inc., an East Indian convenience store located on Main Street, says that he intends on voting, but has not fixed his mind on a particular candidate yet. 

“When I came into Canada 40 years ago, when politicians [said] something I trusted that yes, [they’re] going to do it. These days, they say something, but they are not really serious.” 

Shukla’s opinion on Young is in line with the drop in her popularity. 

“I am disappointed,” he says. “Wai Young came to my house and I asked her two questions and I said to her that if you give my two questions’ answers, I will support you.”

He explains that his two questions were regarding Senator Mike Duffy and the present government’s stand on economy. According to Shukla, Young’s responses were not satisfactory for him. 

Growth issues 

Shukla is not alone in his disappointment of the riding’s current MP. 

Reeha Korpal, a recent political science graduate from Simon Fraser University, echoes a similar sentiment. 

“We also have our issues in terms of can we keep up with the growth and the issue of population coming in versus the cost of living here.”

Sitting in the Liberal party’s local campaign office on Victoria Drive, where she volunteers occasionally, Korpal says that Vancouver South needs someone who can address the riding’s major issues. 

“We are a part of city that’s growing and is one of the up and coming cities in Canada, whether that’s economically or socially,” she explains. “We also have our issues in terms of can we keep up with the growth and the issue of population coming in versus the cost of living here.” 

According to the Elections Canada website, Vancouver South had a population of 100,965 in 2011, packed in an area of 21 km2. This number is steadily increasing. As per data available on BC Stats, the projected population for Vancouver South in 2020 is 145,790.

Cultural issues 

In a riding that has diverse cultural demographics, the present government’s controversial bills like Bill C-51 and the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, Bill C-24, are not helping the Conservative candidate. 

“Van South is a very diverse riding, so we need to respect the fact that Bill C-24 that creates division between the type of citizens that we have – as Harper says ‘old stock versus the new stock,’ – [is] not acceptable,” says Korpal. 

"[I]t doesn’t matter if you have a Sajjan [or a Young] running. You need to have the [party] values aligned with that cultural identity as well.”

She adds that having ethnic minority candidates run just for the sake of garnering more votes doesn’t help either. “If the party’s values don’t align with that, it doesn’t matter if you have a Sajjan [or a Young] running. You need to have the values aligned with that cultural identity as well.” 

Howie Chong, campaign communications officer for the area’s New Democratic candidate Amandeep Nijjar says for the diverse people who walk into their office Bill C-51 and health care are of primary concern. 

“From what we are hearing, a lot of people are very concerned about Bill C-51, which gives the federal government the ability to listen in on Canadians,” Chong says. 

Bill C-51 has been a hot topic of debate in the all-party candidates’ debates in Vancouver South. Wai Young faced discontent from the public on her defence of the bill during the meeting at Killarney Community Centre. She did not attend a later debate held at Langara College. 

Young and her campaign team declined an interview for this article. They asked New Canadian Media to get in touch with party headquarters.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

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