The North Delta Reporter sent all six candidates running to represent Delta in Parliament five questions submitted by readers to gauge their positions on some of the big issues for voters in the 2021 federal election. Candidates were given a limit of 1,250 words total to answer your questions. Here’s what NDP candidate Monika Dean had to say:
1) Why are you running to be Delta’s MP? Why should voters choose you to be their representative in Parliament?
I didn’t wake up one day thinking I wanted to be a politician. I already have a lot of satisfaction from my work with the City of Surrey and volunteering on my union’s executive board. But when I started to consider becoming a candidate, I was overwhelmed by all the support from my colleagues, other activists in the labour movement and in particular my dad.
Someone asked me what I loved about my union activism, and I responded saying it was all about making positive change for working people. They pointed out that since I was already advocating for union members, why not all of Delta, and why not Canada?
My biggest supporter was my dad, who back in the ’70s had been asked to run for the NDP provincially in Saskatchewan and has always regretted not putting his name forward. My family believes in lifting everyone up around them to make life a little easier for everyone, especially marginalized communities who are often overlooked and need the most support.
My family values align with New Democrat values, and if I am chosen to represent you in Parliament, I will fight to make life a little easier for everyone in our community, the way I fight for my own co-workers and family: with love and courage.
2) What are your top priorities if you are elected on Sept. 20?
For too long, Indigenous people have lived with the impact and legacy of colonialism while being denied basic human rights. It is time to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.
The province of B.C. has declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency and thousands of Canadians died from this last year, including neighbours in our community. The stress of the pandemic, forced isolation and disruption to global supply chains affected tens of thousands of families. With federal support, we need to end the criminalization and stigma of drug addiction so people struggling can get the real help they need.
We still need to do more in terms of pandemic response. I’m proud of Delta having among the top vaccination rates in the province, showing we care about those in our community who are unable to get the vaccine and our exhausted health care workers. Across the country, too many lives have been lost, and too many businesses have suffered. With a targeted $1 billion in support to remove remaining barriers for those who are unvaccinated and a national vaccine passport, the health and safety of Canadians must come first.
3) The top issue raised by readers was housing affordability, both for owners and renters. If elected, what will you/your party do to bring down home prices, ensure fair home-buying availability and opportunity for Canadians, and make rents more affordable and commensurate with average wages and overall cost of living?
Canada is in a national housing crisis, and safe shelter is a fundamental human need. The pandemic has only made things worse for people already struggling to make rent and mortgage payments — let alone other everyday essentials. I see seniors in Delta struggling to find a safe, accessible and convenient space to live as driving becomes more of a burden and I worry about my peers struggling to put down roots locally, with many choosing to move outside of the Lower Mainland resulting in fewer talented workers staying in our communities.
Canada’s New Democratic Party will provide immediate relief to families who are struggling to afford rent now and can’t wait years for a solution. We will work with other levels of government to create varied housing options that will provide something for everyone. We will mobilize federal resources to prioritize the construction of housing co-ops, social, and non-profit housing, turning unused and under-used properties into vibrant new communities. An NDP government will waive the GST/HST on the construction of new affordable rental units so quality housing can be built faster and stay affordable in the long run.
For first-time home buyers, we will reintroduce 30-year terms for entry-level homes to make mortgage payments more accessible and double the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit. We will go further and bring creative solutions forward to facilitate co-housing, such as model co-ownership agreements. An NDP government will also put in place a 20 per cent foreign buyer’s tax on homes for people who aren’t Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
4) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently warned that global temperature rise was reaching a “code red” for humanity, and an Angus Reid poll found climate change was the top issue identified by voters in driving their ballot choice this election. How do you/your party plan to address climate change?
I pursued a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences for a reason, and I choose to work every day to mitigate human impacts on our landscape. Drastic action must be taken; we need to fight the climate crisis like we want to win. An NDP government will cut emissions by more than half to meet the 1.5-degree target scientists say is necessary to prevent catastrophe.
I am filled with hope that prioritizing our climate response is driving how people are voting. “What needs to be done can be done — when enough people want it to be done and decide to do it.” With wildfires blazing and heat domes causing record temperatures in the province, the BC Coroners Service reported over 700 deaths in one week. We have experienced what people in many other countries have: our climate is changing enough to impact all forms of life. Just this summer, with measured ocean temperatures of greater than 50 C, we have seen tremendous die-off of ocean life. The ocean is an important sink for carbon dioxide (about 30 per cent), and changes will impact dissolved oxygen content, acidification, and contribute to sea level rise and further melting of ice caps — all of which will impact all forms of life.
I’m very passionate about this. An elected NDP government would set a target of reducing Canada’s emissions by at least 50 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, because we know reaching net-zero by 2050 means taking action immediately. Like planting a tree, the best time was 20 years ago, but the second-best time is now. We would create and fund a Climate Accountability Office to provide independent oversight of federal climate progress, engage the public, and make further recommendations.
We will continue with carbon pricing, but make it more fair and roll back loopholes the previous government has given to big polluters. Under an NDP government, public money spent on oil and gas subsidies will be spent supporting renewable alternatives and clean technologies. We have pledged $500 million in funding to support Indigenous-led stewardship programs to advance reconciliation and protect the land, water and forests, including old growth, with a goal of 30 per cent of ecosystems protected by 2030.
5) Do you support the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Expansion? Why/why not?
T2 would cost over $2 billion, while other private company options are less expensive with a smaller impact on the environment. Regardless of the cost, this port expansion comes with a level of automation that puts well-paying, family-supporting jobs at risk — an estimated 9,200 marine terminal jobs province-wide. Many of these workers live here, work here, and pay taxes here. There are of course environmental concerns as well. What are the impacts? What are the remediation efforts? We must balance all these interests, and for that to happen we need further stakeholder engagement and creative solutions. I need to see real benefits for Delta and a reassurance for long-term family-supporting jobs in order to support any port expansion.
Election day is Monday, Sept. 20.