While discussing her campaign over a mango smoothie on Davie Street I realized that it was probably Drina who got me started with all of these interviews back in the fall.
Drina Read is the Green Party of BC candidate for Vancouver West-End and being a long-time resident she’s very passionate about her community as well as the issues in which the Green Party strongly believes.
Drina has lived in the West End on and off for over 20 years as a renter and as such the renovictions and concerns of renters hit close to home. She spoke at the Renters at Risk Rally in the fall and told me that, “we have to fix the Residential Tenancy Act not only for renters, but for landlords too.”
She says, “the biggest issue of course is raising the rent – just thinking that any moment you could get a notice saying ‘oh by the way, we’re fixing up your apartment, you have to get out‘ and then when you come back you might not be able to afford it.” Drina would also like to see an amendment that would include something like the right of first refusal, so that you can have first dibs on your newly renovated apartment when it’s ready.
She attributes the money grab by developers and property owners to the Vancouver 2010 games, and noted “after the two week party, what happens to the community? That’s my concern.”
On the general housing issue, “the Green Party has a very strong policy on building safe, affordable housing and we would commit 1% of the total BC budget yearly towards building housing for people with disabilities, low-income, people with addictions and allot of programs to help them as well and not throw them out on the street all the time, like the way it has been happening.”
However aside from housing and rent issues she said there’s an even bigger beast: The Gateway Project.
“Billions and billions of dollars being wasted on a freeway and a bridge when we could have that money go towards housing, education, health care, you name it. All of that money could be used much better to improve the transit services, buy more buses, it just goes on and on.” Drina’s been a fan of rail, for freight and passengers, for many years and said that when she heard Stephen Rees speak at the Green Party conference, “everything he said just made sense.”
I’ve profiled Stephen as a blogger but he’s also a Green Party of BC candidate in Richmond. During his talk Drina said he brought up the fact that a UBC study discovered that for the cost of the new Port Mann Bridge, 200km of light rail line could be purchased for the Lower Mainland and the Valley. She also agreed with something else Stephen had mentioned about communities noting that we need to connect communities and not just move people to the downtown core. Connecting places like Surrey, Maple Ridge, Langley etc. is paramount.
With regards to cuts to the arts budget in the province, Drina pointed out the difference between her party and others. “Our members vote on our policies so we will not waiver from the policies as written. We will stick to them – it’s not political expediency that drives us, it’s whats best for everyone and we see a vibrant arts community as being integral to the society of BC.”
You can reach Drina online or through her Twitter account as she notes that using social media “definitely has an effect especially with younger voters from all over BC.”
The BC General Election & Referendum on Electoral Reform takes place May 12, 2009. Other candidate interviews include Spencer Herbert (NDP, Vancouver-West End) and Haida Lane (BC Liberals, Vancouver-Hastings).