Bridget Burns: Why I’m running for MP of Vancouver East

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      By Bridget Burns

      I’m not a typical politician. And mine is not a typical campaign. I’m fighting for radical change, in Ottawa and back home on the streets of East Van. I want real action, and I want it now. And that’s what made me do something I never thought I’d do: stand for public office as the Green Party’s federal candidate for my home, Vancouver East.

      I know it’s not just me who feels this way. Over the last weeks and months, my team and I have been speaking with people across East Van. Whether it’s young people and families struggling to find affordable housing or people swept up in the horrific opioid crisis playing out on the streets of the Downtown Eastside, the same disillusionment and despair at our political system is echoed again and again.

      I grew up in East Van; I started my business here, and I live here now. I’ve faced (and I still face) the same challenges in the community that we all do: finding affordable housing, paying student loans, working multiple jobs to make ends meet. I want to see East Van thrive as a creative, connected, and ultralivable community for generations to come. 

      I love East Van. But all too often I see my neighbours suffering. And if we don’t tackle the climate crisis now, things will get worse rather than better.

      So why the Green Party? I first got involved during Vancouver’s municipal election campaign last year. I was inspired by the Greens’ success, dedication, and capacity for hope when things often seem so bleak. When others say climate change is an impossible challenge, Greens say the bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunities. If we act now, Canada can show the world how to rise to this climate challenge, creating millions of quality jobs in the process.

      The Green Party is totally focused on sidelining self-interest, power, and greed, and putting the public good front and centre. We won’t get distracted trying to turn every issue into political points for the next election. We want to work with everyone to find the solutions that stick and deliver for real people right now.

      The Green Party lives and breathes these values. Just read our election platform, launched this week. 

      The Greens have been warning about the catastrophe facing our environment for decades. Unlike the traditional parties, which make promises then backtrack once they have your vote, the Greens are committed to decisive action—it’s all in our 20-point climate action plan. What’s more, we’ll work with anybody if it helps prevent climate chaos.

      These aren’t typical times. Forest fires rage in Canada’s west; megastorms batter the east. Schoolchildren are chastising world leaders. Thousands of Canadians are being killed by opioid addiction every year. Homelessness is rampant. And still government subsidizes the fossil-fuel companies that are making things worse while not doing enough to help those in need. 

      I’m running because we need fresh ideas, grounded in practical, affordable, and evidence-based solutions. We need to end political inertia. We need to think long-term, for the kids who can’t yet vote, for the generations not yet born. We need ethical and authentic leadership that is proactive, positive, progressive, and pro-people. It’s the only way we’ll achieve profound change.

      East Van can be ground zero for that change. We can win here, where I know hope is hanging on. We can win across Canada. Because I know Canada can be better than this.

      Make no mistake: Change is coming. Let’s make sure it’s the change we all need.

      Bridget Burns is the Green Party candidate running for MP for Vancouver East in this fall’s federal election.