Beyond Housing and Affordability: A Vancouver Election Candidates' Survey
Election day is fast approaching and it will be an important one for the future of Vancouver. As questions about housing and affordability dominate the conversation, a city as diverse and forward-thinking as Vancouver deserves a deeper conversation about inclusivity and equity.

A few months ago, I met Jalana Lewis, a young woman from Halifax who lead a public survey of the candidates running in the 2017 Nova Scotian provincial election on issues related to African Nova Scotians.

The survey, a project of African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition, asked respondents for their takes on environmental racism, historic land claims, access to health and education, and position on street checks (

Vancouver is home to peoples of diverse religions, genders, sexualities, races, and abilities. I'd like to know more about how you — the candidates — will represent and address the concerns of equity-seeking groups in our city such as: Indigenous peoples, people of colour, persons living with disabilities, women, and the LGBTQAI2+ community.

This is a voluntary survey about issues that you may have not considered or encountered, but are nonetheless important to "equity-seeking" voters. Please answer as many or as few questions as you can and feel comfortable.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive questionnaire that represents all points of views and experiences in Vancouver; instead, this project is an imperfect reflection of the conversations and concerns in my communities. I recognize my own and my contributors' limitations in both lived experience and capacity to represent all intersectional identities and communities.

Individuals and organizations who have contributed to this survey include:

—Stephanie Allen
—Aslam Bulbulia
—Ian Bushfield
—The Cambie Report
—Ela Esra Gunad
—Hogan's Alley Society
—Lost Votes YVR
—Michelle Lorna Nahanee
—Kimberley Wong
—Ellen Woodsworth
—Women Transforming Cities

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and for running in the election. It is a courageous act.

Your responses to the questions below will be shared widely with voters. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Megan Lau

*Response deadline is October 4, 2018 at 5:00pm Pacific Time.

Candidate's First and Last Name *
Your answer
Candidate's Political Party *
Please enter "Independent," if there is no party affiliation.
Your answer
Candidate is running for *
Intersectional Policy
First coined by Black feminist scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw (1989), intersectionality is a complex theory derived from academia, that examines and acknowledges the ways in which differing social hierarchies like race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and more interact and are interconnected with each other, often in overlapping ways. It helps us understand how differently people walk through life, and was developed largely to liberate women of colour, who were often left out of the feminist movement because they experienced different kinds of oppression than those who were white.

"Intersectionality" is a term that now appears in various public policy programmes of the City of Vancouver, such as: the Women's Equity Strategy, Creative City Strategy, Healthy City Strategy, and the City of Vancouver's Code of Conduct. The City of Vancouver is currently developing an "intersectionality framework" so that the City can apply an "intersectional lens" when developing and implementing policy.

Examples of intersectionality initiatives proposed or implemented in governments include:
- A Toronto councillor proposed "Intersectionality Awareness Week" as a “first step to help City Council and city staff better understand the experiences that shape the lives of Black, Indigenous and other racialized individuals in Toronto.”
- The Government of Canada uses the Status of Women Canada's Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) training course and program. The Minister of Finance "proudly noted that every single budget decision was vetted through GBA+."

1. What does intersectionality mean to you in the municipal context? If elected, how will you practice intersectionality within your role and direct the practice of intersectionality at the City of Vancouver? How do you envision intersectionality applying to policies at the City, particularly vis-à-vis policies that do not currently have an “intersectional lens or framework” built into them (e.g. Greenest City 2020 Action Plan)?
Your answer
2. If elected, will you ensure that there is an empowered Office of Equity and Inclusion or similar department at the City of Vancouver, enabling the provision of necessary resources including financial, staffing, and decision-making authority, to ensure that the Office of Equity and Inclusion is involved in all City policies, programs, budgets, funding, staffing and governance?
Relevant department and groups: Vancouver Library Board, Vancouver Police Board, Board of Parks and Recreation; Arts, Culture, and Community Services; Social Planning; Development, Buildings, and Licensing; Finance, Risk, and Business; Planning, Human Resources Services, Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability; Corporate Communications, Engineering Services, Fire and Rescue Services and Emergency Management; Legal Services; Real Estate and Facilities Management.
Your answer
Reconciliation & Cultural Redress
In February 2018, Council approved the Northeast False Creek Area plan that contains a chapter entitled Reconciliation and Cultural Redress ( In the plan there are specific policies regarding Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, Urban Indigenous, Chinese-Canadians, and people of African descent/Black community.
3. If elected, (1) do you agree with the policy direction in the Reconciliation and Cultural Redress chapter of the Northeast False Creek plan, and (2) if so, how will you ensure the implementation of those policies by working with the First Nations and community groups named therein?
Your answer
A handful of institutions in Vancouver receive the majority of cultural services operating grant funds, or sometimes land assets, from the City of Vancouver. (e.g. Vancouver Art Gallery, Museum of Vancouver).
4. What changes would you support to city policy to redress the loss of land, culture, and place to local Indigenous cultures & communities, given the city operates on unceded lands?
Your answer
The City of Vancouver was designated a City of Reconciliation when the framework was adopted by Council on July 8, 2014. The goals are broad, concerning better relations, cultural awareness and Indigenous perspectives. At the same time, according to the 2018 Homeless Count, 40% of Vancouver’s homeless population identifies as Indigenous. While homeowners on these lands built generational security, Indigenous people cope with ongoing colonial impacts including systemic poverty and intergenerational trauma. There is a clear link between the income equity gained through property ownership on this unceded territory and the negative equity Indigenous people inherit.

1) City of Vancouver. "City of Reconciliation":

2) Georgia Straight. "Vancouver's Indigenous people are again heavily overrepresented among the city's homeless, count finds":

5. If elected, would you ensure the increased value of this land directly benefits Indigenous Peoples financially?
Your answer
Permanent Residents and Franchise
Approximately 60,000 permanent residents live in Vancouver. They live and work here, pay taxes and send their kids to Vancouver schools, but they aren't eligible to vote. In Vancouver, that’s equivalent to leaving out 30% of voters.

Permanent residents (PR) share the same responsibilities as citizens. Yet despite their contributions to our city they are left without a voice and without representation by our elected officials whose decisions affect them.

Without a vote, new residents can feel disengaged from our communities. Excluding them suggests that their voice is considered less valuable, and represents a major loss for a city that celebrates the benefits of inclusion, diversity, and multiculturalism every day. Voting for city council or the school board inspires confidence in a democratic system. It provides an equal opportunity for those who contribute everyday to the city they call home.

Eleven municipalities across Canada are working on extending voting rights to permanent residents. In April 2018, Vancouver City Council unanimously voted in favour of allowing permanent residents vote in civic elections, which will require changes to the Vancouver Charter through the provincial government.

1) City of Vancouver "Independent Election Task Force Final Report" (January 2017):

6. If elected, would you advocate in municipal and provincial level for required legislative change to allow permanent residents vote in municipal election?
Please elaborate on your answer above. If yes, how would you work with your constituents and political party to ensure the public, city councillors, and MLAs are fully informed and understand the importance of allowing permanent residents vote in civic elections?
Your answer
Fair Wages
"Over 60 per cent of those living below the poverty line in Canada have jobs—some more than one—and yet are still beneath the poverty line. Present welfare plans across Canada not only pay less than the poverty line—sometimes 20 to 40 per cent less—but also discourage work by clawing back benefits if more than $100 or so are earned.....Poverty is a perfect and accurate predictor of bad health, early hospital entry and longer stays, substance abuse, family violence and poor educational outcomes." (Source:

A larger proportion of people of colour work in lower-wage jobs. A raise in the minimum wage will help women and people of colour and help address the gender pay gap and racial wealth gap in this city.

1) CBC News. "Ontario basic income pilot project to launch in Hamilton, Lindsay and Thunder Bay":

7. If elected, would you support a basic income pilot project?
Please elaborate on your answer above.
Your answer
Access to Justice
Recently published data demonstrated that the VPD is using racial profiling in street checks. The numbers show that 16% of street checks involve Indigenous people, who comprise only 2% of Vancouver’s population; and 5% of street checks involve Black people, who make up only 1% of the city’s population.

1) BCCLA. "RELEASE: Civil liberties and First Nations groups launch complaint on discriminatory police stops; call for investigation":
2) BC Human Rights Code [RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 210:

8. If elected, would you (1) support an investigation into the racial disparity revealed in the Vancouver Police Department’s practice of “street checks” or police stops, often referred to as carding, (2) support the ability for people of all backgrounds to live freely without being subject to racial profiling on the on the streets or in other places according to the BC Human Rights Code? And (3) would you support working with local community organizations on the development of a justice strategy to address racial profiling?
Your answer
Police and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
According to Women Transforming Cities, "Indigenous women are killed at six times the rate of non-indigenous women. Between 1980 and 2012, there were 1,181 to 4,000 cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. Hundreds of Indigenous women and girls have gone missing in Vancouver in recent decades. Indigenous women are
less likely to be supported by police because of biases, and less likely to have access to justice."

In a 2011 report by, the Vancouver Police Department called the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada is "a national tragedy." It continues: "More work by all police agencies is required to build better relationships with Aboriginal communities. There is a legacy of mistrust and perceptions of police apathy from the community that must be overcome. In addition, police must proactively target predatory offenders who prey on Aboriginal women."

1) Women Transforming Cities. "Hot Pink Paper Campaign 2018 Municipal Election Guide":
2) Vancouver Police Department. "The Tragedy of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women in Canada":

9. If elected, how would you work with the Vancouver Police Department to improve prevention efforts and police investigative capacity to ensure the safety and protect the lives of Indigenous women in Vancouver?
Your answer
Environmental Racism
Environmental racism refers to the disproportionate location of polluting industries and other environmentally hazardous activities near Black and Indigenous communities, meaning the negative health and safety effects are most felt by racialized people.
10. If elected, how will you work with your constituents and political party to ensure racialized communities are protected from the negative consequences of environmental racism?
Your answer
Countering Anti-Muslim Racism
Since September 11, 2001, Muslims, and those who appear Muslim, have been targeted in violent acts of anti-Muslim racism. Moreover, Muslims report feeling feeling unsafe and unwelcome due to increased surveillance and interrogations by state authorities at their places of work and prayer.

Many Muslims, particularly women, choose to hide their religious identities for fear of being attacked or harassed. Muslims display characteristics of a community under threat and are often socially isolated from the city and its formal institutions based on the state's formation being based on ideas of secularism which disadvantage religious minority groups, particularly those which are newer to Vancouver.

11. What would you do to make Vancouver feel safe and welcoming for Muslim communities?
Your answer
Vancouver: Sanctuary City?
In February 2013 and 2014, the cities of Toronto and Hamilton became Sanctuary Cities, granting universal access to municipal services irrespective of immigration status. Recent changes in federal immigration policy have created barriers in migrants’ access to official refugee, resident, or citizenship status, while an increased frequency of deportation and detention prevents precarious migrants from accessing essential services due to fear of deportation and detention. A sanctuary city ensures all individuals can access municipal services such as health care, housing, food, education, and emergency shelters and services. This policy not only supports women, but also their dependent children, since children have limited access or no access to school while they or their families live under the threat of deportation.

1) Women Transforming Cities. "Hot Pink Paper Campaign 2018 Municipal Election Guide":

12. Do you support making Vancouver a Sanctuary City?
Please elaborate on your answer above.
Your answer
Diverse Representation on City Council
In October, Vancouver will elect its 40th mayor. Though they represent views across the political spectrum, all 39 mayors in Vancouver's history have been white men. Diverse political representation is important to a healthy, functioning democracy — bringing a range of experience and perspectives to government policies and operations and reducing the risk of inappropriate policies — yet the current City Council is not representative of the electorate.

In Vancouver’s 2014 election, women comprised 20% of Mayoral candidates, 33% of City Council candidates, 48% of School Trustee candidates, and 36% of Park Commissioner candidates (City of Vancouver, 2014). Of these, the majority were not women of colour or Indigenous women. (Source: Women Transforming Cities. "Hot Pink Paper Campaign 2018 Municipal Election Guide":

Many people don't see themselves represented in municipal government. If demographic reality was to be reflected in our political offices, more people of colour, women, and LGBTQAI2+ people would hold office.

13. How will you advocate for greater diversity in municipal politics?
Your answer
13A. If you are white and/or male, how is allyship and prioritizing the voices and issues of the underserved and underrepresented important to you? If applicable, please provide examples of your allyship to any marginalized community.
Your answer
14. Do you support policies and/or electoral reform ensuring women comprise at least 50% of candidates and elected officials (e.g. ward or proportional representation system)?
Please elaborate on your answer above.
Your answer
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