In our previous posts we’ve looked at the major political parties contesting the October 21st federal election and also the individual leaders of each party. Now it’s time to consider the other influential factor in voting, and that’s the local candidate.
I do have to begin this post, however, with a couple of disclaimers. First of all, my intent in these communications has always been to help you become an informed voter by presenting all the options. However, when it comes to the local candidates for Richmond Centre, few options are currently available. As of this writing only two of the major political parties have nominated their candidate - the Conservative Party, where incumbent MP Alice Wong is running again, and the Green Party who only a couple of days ago chose a Vancouver resident, Francoise Raunet. The Liberals and NDP have yet to announce who will represent them on the ballot come October 21st.
Without wanting to appear overly critical, this does surprise me. If these parties really have the interest of our local community at heart, I’m struggling with their apparent lethargy in representing us in Ottawa. Contesting an election at a local level involves a lot of preparation, not just administratively but also in researching and understanding the issues that are of utmost concern to Richmond residents and then formulating solutions. Now perhaps some of this is happening quietly behind the scenes, but it doesn’t evoke a lot of confidence for the electorate when there is little evidence of such.
Anyhow, putting that aside, I do have another confession to make. I also happen to be a personal friend of Alice Wong and admittedly it will take a major effort on my part to be objective in describing her to you. My past experience has proven her to be a woman of great loyalty and integrity who loves people deeply and generously. It’s hard to not be effusive about someone like that!
But, be that as it may, I will put on my best journalist hat and give you some factual background on the only two announced candidates from the four major political parties.
Alice Wong – Conservative Party
Alice Wong is the current Member of Parliament for Richmond Centre having won the riding in the 2015 election. She also won in 2008 and 2011 when Richmond Centre included most of the current Steveston-Richmond East riding and was known then simply as Richmond.
During her 11 years representing our community in Ottawa, Alice has also held the additional posts of Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism, Minister of State for Seniors, House Critic for Small Business and Shadow Cabinet Minister for Seniors. Her major legislative accomplishments include the “Protecting Canada’s Seniors Act”, the financial abuse provisions of the “Digital Privacy Act”, and spearheading “Motion 203” to coordinate a national response to fraud activities.
Alice was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Canada as a young woman in 1980. She became a Canadian citizen in 1983. Her passions have always been education and business and she combined both by accepting a position at Vancouver Community College to teach ESL and Entrepreneurship. She continued with her own personal education by completing a Ph. D. at UBC in Curriculum and Instruction before returning to the workforce as Manager of International Programs at Kwantlen University College. During these years she was involved extensively in her community by serving on several non-profit boards and actively helping new immigrants assimilate into Canada.
Alice has been married to her husband Enoch for almost 40 years. Together they both enjoy music and the arts along with socializing with their many friends.
If you would like more information on Alice Wong you can visit her website at www.alicewong.ca.
Francoise Raunet – The Green Party
Francoise Raunet, 44 and the mother of two girls, is a French Immersion teacher who currently resides in Vancouver. In her earlier years, she lived for a time in Taiwan and is conversant in Mandarin. Raunet ran unsuccessfully as an Independent in last year’s Vancouver municipal election. She was also unsuccessful in two previous provincial elections running as the Green Party candidate in the riding of Vancouver-Pt Grey. She had hoped to run federally for the Greens in Vancouver Quadra this fall, but was unable to secure the nomination. Subsequently she was approached by the Richmond Centre Association to contest this riding.
So my post this week has been from necessity relatively brief. With no candidates for Richmond Centre yet announced by the Liberal Party or the NDP, there is really nothing more to add. However, it should be stated by way of full disclosure that the fledgling People’s Party of Canada has announced their candidate. His name is Ivan Pak and you can obtain more information about him and his platform by visiting www.ivanpak.ca.
Now having looked at the major parties, their leaders, and the local candidates - all of whom will significantly impact the results of the upcoming federal election - it’s time to examine some of the issues that will be the major debating points over the next three months.
Richmond Centre Conservative Association
(Photo Source: https://elections.ca/home.aspx)