Able to speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and Shanghainese, community activist Meena Wong could be a formidable candidate in Vancouver South, where at least 43 percent of residents are of Chinese descent.
Wong, who is seeking the NDP's nomination in the federal riding, may give Conservative candidate Wai Young stiff competition for the Chinese vote.
With incumbent Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh, a politician of South Asian roots, gunning for a fourth term, the three major parties will be represented in the riding by contenders with ethnic-minority origins.
“Vancouver South is a very diverse community,” Wong told the Straight by phone.
If the last election in 2008 gave Dosanjh a scare as Young came close to knocking him off, the former B.C. NDP premier sounded confident in a phone interview with the Straight, saying that he has been “working very, very hard in the last two years”.
“This is going to be a different campaign,” Dosanjh declared on the line from Ottawa.
Dosanjh said that he has been regularly engaging his constituents through town-hall meetings. He also noted that compared to 2008, federal Liberals in B.C. are polling higher.
Wong has done extensive work with the Coalition of Progressive Electors, a Vancouver civic party. She is known in the Chinese community for her involvement in the head-tax issue, and she is on the board of the Civic Education Society, a voluntary organization.