Jinny Sims – NDP candidate for Surrey / Panorama
As we all know the provincial election has been called for Oct 24th. To help our readers understand the candidates, and what they stand for on important issues, the Asian Star Newspaper will bring to you, our readers, the candidates answers.
The first candidate we sat down with is Jinny Sims from the Surrey-Panorama Constituency.
The Asian Star: Everyone is asking; why is The NDP calling an election right now?
Jinny Sims: The other question is, Why not? We are in the largest health pandemic – our economy’s been turned upside down, the way we live, the way we celebrate, the way we say goodbye to our loved ones, the way we work, everything has changed. So, when you are in this stage of the mandate, when we have done three and a half years and you got 6 months to go. It makes sense to me that you go back to the public and get a mandate so you can focus on the new normal. Covid is still here, we thought back in March that Covid will go away, it’s still here. The vaccine won’t be readily available for at least 12 – 18 months. When I think about this, if we have the election now it will be (during) Covid, if we have it in May 2021, it will still be Covid. So, how do you make a long-term plan to rebuild the economy to support people, when you really have a mandate for only about another 6 months? What’s to say if the Greens decided they didn’t like something we were wanting to do to rebuild the economy? Especially, when as a minority government, with are just one vote away from triggering an election, they could have triggered an election in Dec or Jan.
The Asian Star: People suffering from mental health, addictions, especially opioids and homeless numbers are up. How is the NDP going to tackle these challenges?
Jinny Sims: These problems were allowed to build and build over time by the previous government. I’m happy to share that last year, for the first time in a long, long time we saw a drop in the death rates in the overdose crisis, and that’s because we have a dedicated minister for that work, who is actually focused on putting services in place. We have Foundries all over BC that provide services and a 24/7 crisis line access to those needing help with addictions and mental health. Covid 19 has put a huge pressure on everyone, imagine if you are homeless? I’m proud of the work we did, look at the Whalley strip, you know what it used to be like, you go there now, and it is like a different thing. We managed to get so many homeless people of the streets and into housing, others are staying in hotels. We know that if you are going to look after people’s safety then you got to take care of their basic needs. What we are looking at now is housing that is built for people who are taken off the streets; we have wraparound services for them, with social workers and addiction workers there onsite in the beginning to ensure the people get the support they need.
The Asian Star: Business are suffering, especially the restaurant industry, an owner printed on receipts to his customers to, “Vote that F*cker out” re Mr. Horgan. How is the NDP planning to help them?
Jinny Sims: There is an incredible amount of money in the restart plan to help businesses assess where they are at, and help them re-tool, and refocus. I talk to restaurant owners here, it’s going so well for them, one owner told me his sales has gone up by 25% and he only does take out. To the restaurant owner, “really, this is a health pandemic, nobody is doing this. Dr Bonnie Henry doesn’t wake up in the morning saying which business I can hurt today. Her job is to make sure we are all safe. And stop the spread of the virus. We worked very closely with the restaurant industry to open them up early. There is a lot of support available for small and medium size businesses. And there will be more in the future. Go to Covid19 BC website and Covid19 Canada website to see what help is available – it’s heart breaking what the restaurant industry going through.
The Asian Star: Massey Tunnel was to be replaced with a 10-lane bridge. When the NDP came in, they nixed the bridge replacement plan. Why?
Jinny Sims: People love to re-write history.
The Asian Star: What’s the real story?
Jinny Sims: The real story is the provincial election was coming up. The liberals made that massive announcement without an agreement from the Metro Vancouver Mayor’s Council. The Mayor of Richmond didn’t want it, the Mayor of Vancouver didn’t want it, and all the other mayors were against this 10-lane bridge idea.
Why you ask they were against it? Because they (the Mayors) thought ok, with the bridge all you are doing is moving the parking lot from the side of Delta to the side of Richmond. The infrastructure on the other side of the bridge can’t handle the 10-lane flow into it! Where is the traffic going to go when it’s on the other side of the bridge?
So, you can se why people at that end were saying this is crazy – none of the Mayors were consulted – it’s Metro Vancouver Mayors Council that is supposed to make public transit decision. So, when we got elected, and we said it when we were running, that we will send this project to the Mayor’s council. It went to the Mayor’s Council and they have unanimously, including Delta, supported the expansion of the tunnel. And they get to make that decision as they know their cities better.
The Asian Star: So why did the Liberal government spend $70 million dollars to do the study?
Jinny Sims: What was the need to have the study delivered when they haven’t done the engineering? It was a big photo op. Our commitment was we were going to work with the Mayor’s Council and we have increased the funding we give to the mayors council. Just like the Patullo bridge – we are going to build a 6-lane bridge, but only four lanes are gong to be open. Again, because there is no infrastructure on the other side to handle the increased traffic. It’s going to be expendable, there’s going to be walkways and bike lanes, and when the infrastructure is ready on the other side – when New Westminster is ready – then we can look at expanding the lanes.
I think the liberals are trying to mislead the people of Surrey, they are not telling them why things are happening the way they are. They talked about the Patullo bridge and then did nothing. We announced it straight away – we got the plans done – then the business plans had to be done, and that’s done. It’s already been assigned to a company and they are already hiring. So right now, the liberals have learned a lot from Trumpland – and they keep giving misinformation – I like to call it lies – and they are hoping that if they repeat the lies enough, people will believe them.
The Asian Star: What about the proposed PST cuts by Liberals?
Jinny Sims: We already give businesses a deduction in PST when they buy equipment – and it used to be only the big, big companies – we expanded that to smaller and medium sized companies during this Covid time. But, I think for me, I see a general cut on PST – considering how many billions of dollars it’s gong to be – my worry is where is the money going to come from? Is going to be cuts to health services, schools we are building, education, to infrastructure we have already announced? Even Gordon Campbell’s right-hand person, he used to be his chief of staff, Martyn Brown said that he has never seen such an asinine policy. It makes no sense during this Covid period. For the few pennies you are going to save here, its going to create a huge deficit. It almost feels to me they are a government for the very rich – this again is only going to help those who have money to spend, who are well-off. Yes, they can go buy that $500k car and save on the PST – buy their yacht. For the average person going grocery shopping they are not paying PST for grocery.
Many people I have talked to after this was announced, they said we need investments in health care, in education, more infrastructure and this seems like a very cynical way of announcing this. Its only for a year and imagine the damage it’s going to do long term to programs helping people. My focus is how to provide services across the board.