Bridget Burns is running for MP for East Vancouver to create profound change through proactive, progressive, pro-environment and pro-people policies.
Bridget's top priority is hearing from people in the community: What's your vision for East Vancouver? What does your ideal community look like? Over the next several months, she'll be spending a lot of time talking to local residents, business owners, and experts in housing, transportation, infrastructure and homelessness. She wants to hear about your priorities for making Vancouver East a livable, sustainable and accessible place to live—now and in the future.
You can check out the Green Party 2019 Election Platform here.
Here are some of the key issues Bridget is focussed on.
Bold action on the climate and environment
The verdict is in: We need to stop our planet from heating up by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. Anything above that and we risk hitting a dangerous tipping point—a self-accelerating, irreversible spiral into environmental meltdown. Catastrophic storms, epic forest fires, lost habitats, and potential extinction of many species on earth, including ourselves.
The good news is that, with real effort and vision, the nations of the world can keep global warming below that 1.5-degree point of no return—but it will take political courage and immediate action.
The Green Party’s contribution to this global effort is Mission: Possible, our 20-point Climate Action Plan. The Green Party has a long-standing, uncompromised commitment to fighting climate change. Our plan calls on Canada to adopt a war footing to secure our economy and the future of our children and their children. We would declare a climate emergency, forming a cabinet of all political parties to work together, and call on all Canadians to contribute. It’s an “all hands on deck” situation.
Those who say tackling climate change has to come at the expense of the economy are wrong. The greater the challenge, the greater the opportunities. The Green Party plan can generate millions of new, high-paying jobs: retrofitting Canada’s buildings to be more environmentally sustainable, modernizing our electricity grid, and rethinking our transportation to build new rail links and charging ports for electric vehicles. Climate crisis is going to be a huge part of our future, like it or not. Canada can lead the way.
As the Green MP for Vancouver East, Bridget will lead her community in the fight against climate change, working with every community organization, every school, every municipal leader, to step up to the challenge. The time to fight for our planet is now.
More affordable housing through proven, practical solutions
Bridget was born in East Van. She’s lived here all her life. She knows all too well the struggle of finding an affordable place to live here. Young people are told they just need to work a bit harder and drink less coffee and things will work out, but that’s just not true. Wages have stagnated and the cost of homes has skyrocketed.
It hasn’t always been this way. The federal government lost interest in affordable rental housing almost half a century ago, abandoning its duty to fund public housing back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. This has played a huge role in contributing to the housing crisis we are in now. Decades of government pushing home ownership has left co-ops, rental housing, social housing and supportive housing neglected—and left too many people without a stable roof over their head.
The Liberal government’s National Housing Strategy doesn’t go far enough. Its funding stretches out over 15 years, but people need a place to live now. Other targets fall short of the mark too, such as cutting homelessness by 50 percent. The goal should be no homelessness at all—and it can be if we get our housing policies right.
Bridget and the Green Party believe strongly that safe and affordable housing is a human right. The Green Party wants to shake up the housing system. We would appoint a housing minister to work with provincial ministers on a target of 25,000 new builds and 15,000 rehabilitated homes every year. We would make funding available for new builds, co-op housing and rental assistance, and restore tax incentives for purpose-built rental housing.
Bridget believes these measures will help combat the scourge of homelessness and home insecurity, helping people in East Vancouver find safe, stable and affordable homes.
Confronting the opioid epidemic through decriminalization and safe supply
Since 2016, more than 1,000 people in Vancouver alone have perished in opioid-related deaths. Across the country, the death toll is over 11,000. Life expectancy in BC has shockingly decreased as a result of opioid-related fatalities. As well as being tragic, this is embarrassing for a country as prosperous and supposedly progressive as Canada.
Bridget is tired of seeing her neighbours suffer. Like many others, her family has been touched by the tragedy of opioid addiction. In Ottawa, Bridget will do everything in her power to save lives in her community and across Canada.
The Green Party has a clear, coherent strategy. At its heart is making sure that opioid addiction is treated as a health care issue, not a criminal one. It’s time to recognize that fentanyl contamination means these deaths are poisonings rather than overdoses. Drug possession of small amounts should be decriminalized, and the government should provide people a safe, screened supply, along with the medical support essential for combatting their addictions. That means increasing the funding to community-based organizations to test drugs and making Naloxone kits widely available to treat overdoses.
Both the Liberals and Conservatives have been unwilling to call for such solutions in this election, preferring to chase votes rather than save lives. Meanwhile the NDP has controlled the province and riding of Vancouver East for years and the situation just keeps getting worse.
Unlike typical politicians, Bridget and the Green Party are willing to work with anyone, and explore any option, to end this crisis. It’s about saving lives.
Reducing waste throughout the supply chain
Canada produces among the most garbage per person of any country in the world. That’s definitely not a category we want to be a leader in. Bridget Burns is passionate about pursuing a zero-waste future. It would involve a wholesale change in our thinking, but it’s essential. And we need to start now.
We need to provide incentives for businesses and individuals to reduce waste throughout the supply chain. We need to look to countries, such as Germany, that require manufacturers to accept lifetime stewardship of all products, including packaging. Zero waste is a big challenge, but we have a big vision, and a firm belief that it’s possible.
Bridget’s election campaign is already showing other candidates how it’s done. Her supporters’ t-shirts are upcycled from existing, donated shirts and printed with fresh pro-Green designs. Her lawn signs are environmentally friendly too: the big ones are repurposed construction materials, the smaller lawn signs are made from biodegradable cardboard rather than the traditional plastic. Who needs hundreds of plastic signs that linger for a thousand years for an election campaign lasting just six weeks?
Reduce, reuse, recycle—in that order—are at the heart of everything the Green Party does. And unlike other parties, we walk the walk. We owe it to the species that don’t have a voice, and future generations who don’t have a vote on October 21.
Improving food safety, security and nutrition
Our health relies on environmentally sustainable production of safe and wholesome food. Unfortunately, global multinational businesses and other large-scale operations control our food supply. Factory farms crowd chickens, turkeys, cows and pigs into inhumane and unhygienic conditions, causing extreme water and air pollution while creating the risk of food contamination and serious health threats.
Industrial-scale agriculture has become a major cause of land degradation and pollution, contributing nearly a quarter of all climate-changing gases in the atmosphere.
The current unsustainable system creates far too much food that never ends on our plates (see another of Bridget’s top priorities—reducing waste). Estimates of the amount of food waste produced by industrial production range from 30 to 50 percent, yet thousands of people in wealthy countries have come to depend on food banks to feed their families.
Food security is more than an environmental issue, it’s a social justice issue. A health issue, an issue of equality. Bridget is passionate about reinforcing the value of wholesome, locally grown food. She supports family farmers as efficient producers of nutritious food and stewards of our environment. Our agricultural policies must be designed to keep family farms economically viable.
To make this a reality we need more emphasis on local food production, alongside specific government initiatives such as a national school meal program. The way we produce food is enough to turn people’s stomachs, often quite literally. We need a fresher, healthier and more wholesome system.
Eliminating child poverty
Of all Canada’s social issues, child poverty might be the most shameful. In 1989, the political parties voted unanimously to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000. Despite recent improvements, far too many Canadian children still grow up in poverty—it’s a real and present issue in East Vancouver. Child poverty rates are unacceptably high among new Canadians, Indigenous Canadians, and single-parent households headed by women.
This is an issue close to Bridget’s heart, having been raised in East Vancouver by her single, working mother. Bridget and her mom didn’t have a car, but they did have a strong network of loved ones—aunties, friends, Bridget’s grandma—to support them. Many people in her community aren’t so lucky.
No matter what hand they’re dealt in life, children need an equal chance to grow and flourish. At the heart of that is affordable, quality, universal childcare. The Green Party wants to make this a reality. Support in their early years strengthens children’s health and development, building a foundation for the future. Universal early childcare can make our society more inclusive, growing respect for diversity, disabilities, diverse ethnic and racial groups, newcomers and disadvantaged Canadians. It can halt Canada’s slide towards inequality by giving all children the solid start they need in life.
As the party most dedicated to tackling the climate crisis, everything the Greens do is about leaving a better world for our children. But we also want to empower the next generations to continue to improve the world long after we’re gone. To do that we need to eradicate child poverty once and for all.