Liberals’ Laura McDiarmid downplays renters’ issues in West End loss
The defeated Liberal candidate for Vancouver-West End, Laura McDiarmid, named renting among the top three issues facing downtown-peninsula voters, along with the future of St. Paul’s Hospital and public safety.
But landlord-friendly Liberal policies don’t account for her election loss, she told the Straight in an interview at the Liberal victory party at the new Vancouver Convention Centre on May 12.
“We still do have a residential tenancy branch in the West End, though it’s not as accessible as it could have been,” McDiarmid said. “I think all rights [of both renters and landlords] have to be considered....We can’t discourage landlords from doing what they have to do.”
During the election campaign, Renters Fight Back encouraged voters to “evict” Premier Gordon Campbell from office, based on government policies that allow landlords to exploit loopholes in rent controls, which have resulted in skyrocketing rents and evictions.
In the West End, it seems, it worked.
After the NDP’s Spencer Herbert won a fall by-election, he introduced a private member’s bill, the Long Term Renter Protection Act, calling for renter-friendly reforms.
This election, Herbert handily won Vancouver-West End with 57 percent of the vote, over McDiarmid’s 33 percent.
McDiarmid explained her defeat in the following terms: she entered into the race late, and the contest followed an NDP-winning by-election.
“I have a lot to offer the city and the West End,” she said. “Congratulations to Spencer. He ran a good campaign; there was a lot of respect throughout and he deserves kudos for that. This was an issues-based contest. Next time, I want the people of the West End to hear what I am going do.”