Page 6

A6 May 31, 2013 The Richmond News

News

SENIORS DISCOUNT

15%

! E R E H L H N E H T ENJOY

L BY PRESENTING APPETIZER SPECIA ORT MOVIE RECEIPT RP FOR SILVERCITY RIVE NDRAISER RELAY FOR LIFE FU . e th h tc ca & by Come with live music on Friday, May 31 p playoffs... r all the Stanley Cu Also your home fo ials for the games! lots of spec

2 1

PATIO OPEN! 14140 TRIANGLE ROAD, RICHMOND

Located upstairs at Richmond Ice Centre, across from SilverCity

14140 TRIANGLE ROAD, RICHMOND 604-274-0011 • www.stanleysgrill.ca (Located upstairs at Richmond Ice Centre, across from SilverCity) • Tons of Parking • PATIO NOW OPEN! • FREE WIFI

www.stanleysgrill.ca

Walk to Fight Arthritis Sunday, June 9, 2013

VANCOUVER

ATHLETES VILLAGE PLAZA 1 ATHLETES WAY

PARTICIPATING SPONSORS

REGISTRATION: 8:30 am | WALK START: 10:00 am 1km or 5km walk along False Creek COMMUNITY MEDIA SPONSOR

A M J C A M P B E L L VA N L I N E S

It’s YOUR move. Register today at www.walktofightarthritis.ca or call 1.866.414.7766

Wat: Voter turnout down, volunteers up Continued from page 3 “After the diagnosis, we had a lot of time to talk together,” Wat said. “And my husband kept saying that once he was in heaven, I had to serve the community. He told me to, ‘Please change your style. Don’t just work for your employer. You have to do more than that.’ And while volunteering in the community is not the tradition in Asia, we were now Canadians, and it was time to help others.” Thanks to his strong will, the one-year prognosis stretched to seven. “Through it all, I never showed my emotion. I kept on doing my work,” Wat said, adding losing him was a transition point in her life. Shortly afterwards, the BC NDP came calling to see if she’d represent them in the 2013 election. Her track record in the Glen Clark government as a communications manager in the multiculturalism ministry and role as a communications advisor in the premier’s office made her a known quantity to them. “Eventually, I said no, because I didn’t share their ideology,” Wat said. Plus, she wasn’t completely sold on the idea of entering the hurly burly of political life. It took a word of encouragement from her now adult daughter, Tin, to tip the balance when the B.C. Liberal Party sought her out late last year. “My daughter said, ‘Mum, I think you should go into politics. I know what dad told you. This is right for you,’” Wat said. “So, I thought about it for a couple of weeks and realized this type of opportunity doesn’t come around very often.” She was in the race. Then started a campaign to try and fit into a riding that was firmly liberal territory, but somewhat cynical to the fact she was an outsider from Burnaby — a non resident, parachuted in to play to the large Chinese-Canadian constituency. The strategy was to mount a grassroots, old school effort complete with plenty of door-knocking to meet voters face to face. It dropped 12 pounds from her already slender frame. But it was worthwhile as Wat said she found an audience willing to listen, although the riding was labelled with the dubious distinction of having the lowest turn out of registered voters in B.C. on election night. Preliminary figures showed 38.9 per cent cast ballots compared to a province-wide 52.3 per cent. Wat said she believes a large percentage of new immigrants in the riding who are ineligible to vote is the reason for the low turnout. Registration to vote in B.C. requires Canadian citizenship, being at least 18-yearsold, and a resident in B.C. for the past six months.

PHOTO SUBMITTED

Teresa Wat (right) stands with her daughter, Tin, and late husband at Tin’s graduation. Wat said some Chinese immigrants who can qualify also rule themselves out of voting because they are reluctant to relinquish their Chinese citizenship for a Canadian one. “The Chinese government doesn’t recognize dual citizenship,” Wat said. “And if they (immigrants) have family and business connections still in China, it’s not easy to travel back using a Canadian passport. Each time you have to apply for a travel visa.” Still, there is hope things will improve in time for the next election cycle four years from now, and it comes from some encouraging volunteer numbers in Wat’s campaign, she had close to 150, an increase from former MLA Rob Howard’s 60. Oddly, many of them were from mainland China. “Even though they were not citizens, they wanted to get involved because they saw a Chinese-Canadian (candidate) and also wanted to get to know about Canadian politics,” Wat said. “And some were international students who intend to stay here after finishing their studies. ” Initiating that type of engagement is the biggest lesson Wat said she learned from the campaign. It’s also a part of who she is. “I love to talk to people. As a journalist I am a naturally inquisitive person,” she said. “And if we have discussions, there is the opportunity to have a better understanding of each other so all the misunderstandings can be put aside.” It’s a long way from the career-driven, family-first direction Wat was used to taking. Her schedule is now built around embracing her constituents at every opportunity to define local issues and map out a plan of action. “Not everybody wants to become a politician — it’s a tough job,” she said. “But when I think about what I’m contributing to the community, I’m sure my husband would be proud of me.”

Richmond News May 31  
Richmond News May 31  

Richmond News May 31

Advertisement