“Is my job to feed my neighbour’s children? I don’t think so.” It was less than two weeks before Christmas 2013 at a Conservative press conference where then MP James Moore voiced those words and glossed over the child poverty problem Canada is facing. It made sense to ask Moore what the Federal Government will do about B.C.’s high rate of child poverty.
This wasn’t the first time I saw the Harper Government’s dismissive attitude towards so many problems in our community, in addition to poverty. Affordable housing, science in our country, help for women facing violence, and an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women are among the many issues the Harper Government have actively undermined or ignored.
After years as a journalist, holding the government to account on everything from lackluster job numbers to the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station, I began to notice the Harper Government becoming less and less accessible to both media and the local community.
When I had the chance to cover Tom Mulcair while working on assignment for a local paper, Tom stood in Jack Poole Plaza, surrounded by media, answering every question reporters could lob his way. Tom was honest, straightforward, and willing to talk.
About a year ago, I decided the best way to continue my work of keeping the government accountable and to try to affect change was to run for office myself. It made sense for me to run for the NDP, who has a commitment to ending child poverty, and a strong plan to help families and the local economy in my community and across the country.
Once I won the nomination to run for the NDP in Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, I began knocking on doors. It has been a privilege to talk to so many people who have shared their stories, hopes and concerns with me. Since February, those people I’ve met in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam have been telling me they need a change in government.
So many families are being crushed under the increasing price of everything from food to housing. Young Canadians are graduating post-secondary training with a wealth of knowledge and massive student loans only to find they can’t get a job or afford to move out on their own. Parents are working two or more jobs to pay for childcare that costs thousands of dollars every month—or one parent is forced to stay home, putting families in precarious positions while depending on a single income. Just the other day a man told me he is afraid to take even one sick day because every bit of his paycheck goes to making ends meet.
This is not the Canada I envision. We have a lot of repair work to do. I am working to get those uncaring words from James Moore out of my head, by helping to elect an NDP government who truly cares about the people who live in our communities here in Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam and all the way across the country.