September 14, 2021

Page 1






S E P T E M B E R 14 , 2 02 1 T U E S DAY





Coordinating Editor Lua Presidio

Business Manager Douglas Baird

Visuals Editor Mahin E Alam

Account Manager Forest Scarrwener

News Editors Charlotte Alden and Nathan Bawaan

Web Developer Keegan Landrigan

Culture Editor Tianne Jensen-DesJardins Sports + Rec Editor Diana Hong Video Editor Josh McKenna Opinion + Blog Editor Thomas McLeod Science Editor Sophia Russo Photo Editor Isabella Falsetti Features Coordinator Paloma Green

Web Developer Samuel Lin President Danilo Angulo-Molina Social Media Coordinator Maheep Chawla

CONTACT Editorial Office: NEST 2208 604.283.2023 Business Office: NEST 2209 604.283.202 The Nest 6133 University Boulevard Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1 Website: Twitter: @ubyssey Instagram: @ubyssey

File Alex Vanderput



Charlotte Alden and Nathan Bawaan

We wish to acknowledge that we work, learn and operate the paper upon the occupied, traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the xwməθkwəyə̓m (Musqueam), Sḵwxw̱ ú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and səli̓ lwətaɁɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh).

Welcome to The Ubyssey’s 2021 federal election print issue. Whether you picked up this paper on campus or are reading it online, we’re happy you were interested enough in us or this election to make it here. In the following pages, we’ve covered everything you as a UBC student might need to know to vote in this election. From a debrief of how Canadian politics works, to profiles of our riding’s major party candidates to explainers of some issues students care about, consider this your voting guide. You’re probably tired of voting — if you’ve lived in BC, this will be your second (and hopefully last) election in a pandemic. But we hope this issue will show you how important it is to vote in every election. This federal government and the one that comes after has an unprecedented responsibility to lead a country: two public health crises, a global climate crisis that gets more and more urgent each year, a reckoning with racial injustice and historic and ongoing abuses against Indigenous peoples. This government is essential in charting our path forward out of these crises, and in addressing whatever else might come up. If you’re convinced of the importance of this election by this point, be sure to register to vote and find your local polling station on the Elections Canada website as soon as possible. If you’re not convinced yet, keep reading. Hopefully, you will be by the time you turn the last page of this issue or before September 20 rolls around.U

LEGAL The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the University of British Columbia. It is published every second Tuesday by the Ubyssey Publications Society. We are an autonomous, democraticallyrun student organization and all students are encouraged to participate. Editorials are chosen and written by The Ubyssey staff. They are the expressed opinion of the staff, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Ubyssey Publications Society or the University of British Columbia. All editorial content appearing in The Ubyssey is the property of the Ubyssey Publications Society. Stories, opinions, photographs and artwork contained herein cannot be reproduced without the expressed, written permission of the Ubyssey Publications Society. The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press (CUP) and adheres to CUP’s guiding principles. The Ubyssey accepts opinion articles on any topic related to the University of British Columbia (UBC) and/or topics relevant to students attending UBC. Submissions must be written by UBC students, professors, alumni or those in a suitable position (as determined by the

opinions editor) to speak on UBC-related matters. Submissions must not contain racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, harassment or discrimination. Authors and/ or submissions will not be precluded from publication based solely on association with particular ideologies or subject matter that some may find objectionable. Approval for publication is, however, dependent on the quality of the argument and The Ubyssey editorial board’s judgment of appropriate content. Submissions may be sent by email to Please include your student number or other proof of identification. Anonymous submissions will be accepted on extremely rare occasions. Requests for anonymity will be granted upon agreement from three-fifths of the editorial board. Full opinions policy may be found at ubyssey. ca/submit-an-opinion. It is agreed by all persons placing display or classified advertising that if the Ubyssey Publications Society fails to publish an advertisement or if an error in the ad occurs the liability of the UPS will not be greater than the price paid for the ad. The UPS shall not be responsible for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value or the impact of the ads.


S E2 P T E M B E R 14 , 2 0 2 1 PAGE 3



Canadian politics 101: A guide to the 2021 federal election Tina Yong Elections can be hard to navigate. Here are our answers to some common questions about Canadian politics to help you cast an informed vote on or before September 20. HOW DOES THE CANADIAN POLITICAL SYSTEM WORK? The legislative branch of the Canadian government comprises the House of Commons and the Senate. The House of Commons contains 338 elected representatives called Members of Parliament (MPs), while Senators are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister. There are 338 electoral districts in Canada, known as ridings. In the upcoming federal election, each voter will vote for an MP that goes on to represent their respective riding. Students can enter their postal code at the Elections Canada website to figure out which electoral district they can vote in. If students live at UBC or anywhere west of Arbutus, they fall into the Vancouver Quadra riding. HOW IS A WINNER FOR THE ELECTION DECIDED? Dr. Kenny Ie, a lecturer in UBC’s department of political science, explained that voting in the federal election does not mean voters are directly choosing the Prime Minister. “It’s important to recognize that at the most basic level, voters are not choosing a government, they are choosing a candidate who is going to represent the district that they are voting in,” Ie said. Once the votes are cast, the winning political party — the party that won the most seats — will elect its party leader to become Prime Minister. If the leading party holds the most seats but not a majority, they could seek support from another party and form a minority government — which is what happened after the 2019 election. WHY ARE WE HAVING ANOTHER ELECTION WHEN ONE JUST HAPPENED IN 2019? Federal elections usually take place once every four years, so why are we having one so soon? Ie said there is an institutional reason and a political reason. The institutional justification, according to Ie, is that the Prime Minister reserves the power to dissolve parliament and call an election upon seeking approval from the Governor General. “That’s just a power that is the right of the Prime Minister to exercise, and that’s what Justin Trudeau did,” Ie said. The political justification, according to Ie, is a bit more complicated. “The political question ... is really an open question,” Ie said. “There was no real legislative reason for it because by all indications, the Liberal Party would’ve still had continuing support.” Speculation among political science experts and professors has suggested that the Liberal Party is hoping to secure a majority in Parliament by calling an election at a time when the public is relatively pleased with its vaccine rollout and other COVID-19 measures. HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR THE ELECTION? Most importantly, students who are Canadian citizens and 18 or older should register to vote. When asked whether he had any advice for first-time voters, Ie said to “make it a priority to vote.” Voter turnout among youth has always been comparatively lower, so it’s important for students to exercise their right to vote. Ie also advised students to look at party platforms. “Look at what [the parties] are saying about issues that you care about,” Ie said. “Think not just about your short-term interests as a student, but long term in the future.” U

Isabella Falsetti

‘Will create a lot of problems for students’: the AMS, UBC respond after Elections Canada removes on-campus voting stations Lalaine Alindogan Elections Canada will not provide any on-campus polling stations for students, leaving the AMS and UBC frustrated. In a Twitter thread on August 25, Elections Canada defended its decision, citing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and “the minority government situation.” “We will continue our communications and outreach efforts to be sure students have what they need to vote, and we look forward to offering vote-on-campus at future elections,” one of the tweets reads. Elections Canada offered students other options to vote, such as voting with a special ballot or by mail. In a letter to Elections Canada Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault, the Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities (UCRU) — of which the AMS is a member — expressed its concerns over the decision. “Ensuring that there are [voting locations] at post-secondary campuses across Canada is crucial as it makes certain that young people and students have accessible ways of voting in their home riding when living or spending most of their time on campus,” the letter reads. AMS VP External Saad Shoaib, who also serves as vice-chair of UCRU, was a co-signer. “Youth have had historically low voter turnout rates”, said Shoaib in an interview with The Ubyssey. “... This barrier ... will create a lot of problems for students across Canada.” In a wave of media pressure, UBC President Santa Ono, the Carleton University Young Liberals and Young Liberals of Canada called on Elections Canada to reverse its decision. According to Matthew Ramsey, director of university affairs at UBC Media Relations, UBC staff have been communicating with Elections Canada following the “tremendously successful” 2015 Vote on Campus program that increased voter turnout among young electors. “The most important thing at this point that students can do is to get informed about the voting options that are available and make a plan on how to cast their ballot,” said Ramsey in a statement to The Ubyssey. ENGAGING STUDENT VOTERS IN A PANDEMIC Besides advocating for Elections Canada to reverse its decision to remove all oncampus voting options, the AMS Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign will focus on encouraging students to cast their ballots amid the pandemic. The student society’s GOTV campaign will be in partnership with UCRU, according to Shoaib. Ramsey says UBC has also been working with the AMS around the campaign to push students to vote. Part of this year’s voter engagement was to host various online and in-person events. For example, the AMS and Graduate Student Society hosted a Vancouver Quadra candidates debate on September 8. The debate was be live-streamed and was intended to offer students a chance to hear from the people running to represent them — the Vancouver-Quadra riding encompasses anywhere west of Arbutus, including UBC. From September 10 to 20, an AMS booth will also be set up in the Nest to hand out GOTV-branded merchandise and informational material on voting. GOTV will especially focus on social media engagement, with about $4,500 of the campaign’s $10,000 budget centered on video production and social media management. According to Shoaib, the online campaign will not only be dedicated to providing students with the necessary information on where, why and how to vote — such as directing them to the “UVote” website — but also to get them enthusiastic about the election. AMS Associate VP External James Cabangon says the key to ensuring student engagement with federal elections is a tweak in their classic approach with the GOTV campaign: to have it be “more fun, entertaining, and relatable to the viewer demographic.” “It is super essential that we continue to be readily available to students during the voting period to ensure that students can get their concerns heard through their votes,” Shoaib said. U

Jasmine Manango


S E P T E M B E R 14 , 2 02 1 T U E S DAY



Garima Singh

Iman Janmohamed

Despite being Vancouver Quadra’s MP for 13 years, Joyce Murray believes there is still work to be done — specifically to address the climate crisis. She wrote about climate change in her MBA thesis in 1992, started a reforestation and restoration business with her husband and has represented Vancouver Quadra in Ottawa for over a decade. “I got into politics to advance the cause of taking action on climate. Why I’m running again? Well, we have more work to do on that. And I’m going to continue to be a champion for climate action, as I have been in my political career,” she said. Climate change is an “existential crisis,” Murray said, arguing that the Liberal plan was the only credible, science-aligned platform that was fully-costed by climate experts. The plan includes a 40 to 45 per cent greenhouse gas reduction within nine years, and a promise to achieve net zero by 2050. Murray said she recognizes climate is a key concern for many students. “Students care about climate because, that’s the world, that’s the future that they will live most of their lives in. And so the work that we’re doing to reconstruct an entire economy of our country … the activities of individuals, to transportation, heating houses, products and how products are built, infrastructure, how we move. It is a major reconstruction of our entire country to really get off of fossil fuels. That’s an enormous project,” she said. Murray added that she believes climate action can be undertaken in a “thoughtful” manner while considering the needs of people vulnerable to losing their jobs. When asked why progressive voters should vote for the Liberals over the New Democratic Party (NDP), Murray said that the NDP’s approach to climate policy is “aspirational” and would result in a “massive disruption of the Canadian economy.” The NDP has pledged to reduce Canada’s emissions by at least 50 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030. “If they were really to put into place what their plan says on climate ... [it] would actually put a huge number of Canadian workers out of work, because there wouldn’t be time to develop the alternatives or the kinds of activities that they’re involved with now,” she said. Additionally, Murray is in support of increasing the assistance threshold up to $50,000 for new grads, waiving interest on student loans for an additional year and implementing a $4.5 billion plan to support post-secondary education. She noted how young people were some of the most adversely affected by the pandemic, and pointed to the Liberal government’s actions in doubling the Canada Student Jobs program and providing income support to over 700,000 students through the Canada Emergency Student Benefit. Murray spoke of her work with President Santa Ono to bring the concerns of students around pandemic supports to a Cabinet meeting — when those concerns were not even on the radar of the Cabinet at the time, she said. In addition, Murray said she firmly believes in advancing Indigenous reconciliation, increasing housing affordability in the region and finishing the fight against COVID-19 through mandatory vaccination. “Especially in places like Metro Vancouver … it’s a real challenge for families to afford the cost of living. I’m interested in continuing to make life more affordable and providing funds for students, and young people, and for lower income families,” Murray said. U

Climate scientist, financial analyst and economist Dr. Devyani Singh is frustrated with political inaction — especially in regard to the climate crisis, affordable housing and Indigenous rights. “We’re running out of time. We need to take action as soon as possible,” Singh told The Ubyssey. Singh ran in the 2020 BC provincial election as the BC Green Party candidate for Vancouver–Point Grey. She received 17.3 per cent of the vote. By shifting towards federal politics, Singh hopes to create larger-scale, nationwide change. Bringing lived experience as a Queer woman of colour with a graduate degree to Parliament is Singh’s top priority. “Being that voice within Parliament and working across party lines is important because once elected, I am no longer a Green, Liberal or Conservative or [New Democrat],” said Singh. “I represent everybody who lives in Canada.” Singh also highlighted working towards ending partisan politics, criticizing the campaign strategy of Vancouver Quadra incumbent and Liberal candidate Joyce Murray. “I always say that the Liberal incumbent tries to gain votes out of fear,” said Singh. “It’s never ‘Vote for me because I have done this for you’… it’s ‘Vote for me because our Conservative [candidate] will win [if you don’t].’” In regard to student issues, Singh is a proponent for student loan forgiveness, a guaranteed livable income and affordable housing. “I know myself how hard it is to concentrate on your studies when you have to work side jobs to be able to pay rent, to pay your bills,” said Singh. “Should you not be able to focus on your studies without worrying about how you’re going to feed yourself and not have to eat cereal one whole week in a row?” Singh did not give a timeline or details on how to achieve these things in Vancouver Quadra. Singh is not a career politician and she is not planning on becoming one. “It’s time we looked beyond four years to finally start making plans for the next five, ten, fifteen, twenty years,” said Singh. “I’m passionate about what I believe in and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to create change and make this better, make the planet better and have the government work for people and [the] planet, not just for corporations.” “We need a systemic change and we need somebody who’s willing to do whatever it takes, and not just pay lip service to these issues or think about the four-year reelection cycle,” Singh said in reference to the climate emergency, overdose crisis and racial injustice. A key theme Singh spoke about in her interview with The Ubyssey was the need for action and listening to experts, which is achievable by voting out of hope. “If we only vote out of fear, that is the future we create for ourselves,” said Singh. “You know what they say: what you put out is what comes back to you, so don’t put out fear, put out hope.” U




S E2 P T E M B E R 14 , 2 0 2 1 PAGE 5





Nathalie Adriana Funes Serna

Kevin Nan

New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Naden Abenes is running with a platform focused on affordability and labourers’ rights in Vancouver Quadra. “I’m very active when it comes to workers’ rights,” Abenes said. Since the pandemic started, Abenes explained that employers in the hotel industry have been using “the pandemic as an excuse to fire people, and replace it with cheaper workers.” Being a hotel worker herself, Abenes was among the 50,000 hotel and food industry workers in BC that were laid off during the pandemic. This termination of labourers led Abenes to actively advocate for people in the workforce. Collaborating with other unions across BC, including Burnaby, Richmond and northern communities, she organized a hotel strike and won major concessions for workers. Furthermore, like other Vancouverites, Abenes understands the struggle of finding affordable housing. This issue was highlighted to her during the pandemic, as she has had to move twice since 2019. Being able to make a living wage goes beyond affordable housing, Abenes said, as safety and health are just as important. “No one should have to choose between shelter [and] medication,” she said. Abenes is committed to pushing for safe and “harmonious” living spaces in cooperative housing, as well as making housing and health care affordable for more people through subsidies — prioritizing those with the most precarious living conditions — and funding PharmaCare. She acknowledged that students also struggle with housing affordability. “How can you actually study when you’re worried about finding an affordable place to live in?” She explained that she wants to ensure affordable housing is available for students in order to decrease their stress levels so that they can focus on their studies. Additionally, she said she believes that “it’s very crucial for us to support the young generation.” Abenes fully supports the NDP’s commitment to ending interest rates on student loans and forgiving up to $20,000 of student debt for graduates. “I definitely encourage, advocate and push for student needs because they are our future,” she added. When asked about the NDP’s commitment to removing barriers for Indigenous peoples’ access to post-secondary education, Abenes said that there must be funding in Indigenous communities to bridge the education gap. Since ‘’they are the ones that know best about their land and culture,’’ these subsidies could ensure that Indigenous peoples can explore post-secondary options within their own communities. As a worker and union organizer, she said she is aware that “some people are being left behind.” She wants to ensure there is an investment in educating workers, creating growth and job opportunities so that workers can make a liveable wage from one job only, instead of multiple ones. “I will fight for that equality,” she added. If elected, she said she would ensure that she is listening to the community’s needs, and would pressure other political leaders “to do the right thing.” “My vision is for the people; my platform is about improving people’s lives,” Abenes said. U

With a focus on the economy and climate change, Brad Armstrong said he’s ready to show voters that the Conservative Party is a strong alternative to the long-standing Liberal incumbent in Vancouver Quadra. “At the national level and locally … we are the best alternative to bringing us out of the pandemic and managing the finances,” he said in an interview with The Ubyssey. Armstrong is a UBC alumnus — he graduated with a degree in economics in 1976. After his undergraduate studies, Armstrong went on to the London School of Economics and McGill Law School. For the past 40 years, Armstrong has been an environmental lawyer, primarily working with natural resource clients as part of environment assessment processes. Armstrong was born and raised in Vancouver, so he said he understands the challenges of housing affordability. He said the Conservatives are ready to meet the challenge. “We would tie some of the infrastructure funding from the federal government … such as extending the SkyTrain [to] municipalities who commit to increasing the housing supply and density of housing.” While discussing other issues important to young voters, Armstrong said the Conservative Party will address climate change in a way that also builds the economy. “We’re looking at ways to encourage development of natural resource industries in a way which is respectful and protective of the environment, and of First Nations interests,” he said. When asked about concerns that the Conservative Party doesn’t take climate change seriously, Armstrong reiterated that his party has “strongly” committed to meeting the Paris 2030 targets, adding that emissions in Canada have risen over the past six years under the Liberal government. “I’d encourage people to read our plan to fight climate change,” he said. “Many of the measures that are in place right now for large industries were started by the Harper government … we are fully committed to this collective effort,” With both a bachelor’s and a master’s degrees in economics, one of Armstrong’s main reasons for running is his concern over what kind of economy students will graduate into. “We have work to do to get our economy up to full employment … I want to help us provide more and better opportunities for young people,” he said. “[Many] have expressed worry about their ability to get meaningful employment.” While Armstrong noted that he’s very supportive of the Canada Recovery Benefit and other emergency measures to support individuals and small businesses, he doesn’t want to pass on unlimited debt to the next generation. “We’re approaching … a trillion dollars of debt in Canada, which has to be paid off by future generations …. that [also] means less money for the essential programs that government provides.” In the end, Armstrong said his campaign can win Vancouver Quadra with hard groundwork and showing voters their alternative vision. Referencing party leader Erin O’Toole, Armstrong remarked, “He says if you’ve got a mission, then you need to have a plan … ours is called ‘Secure the Future.’” U




S E P T E M B E R 14 , 2 02 1 T U E S DAY


Isabella Falsetti

‘Vote like your lives depend on it’: Vancouver Quadra candidates clash on pandemic recovery at AMS-organized debate Alan Phuong

On September 8, candidates from the Vancouver Quadra riding clashed on topics ranging from climate change and Canada’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery to addressing the housing crisis at a debate organized by the AMS and the Graduate Student Society. The evening’s debate was mostly civil, but was punctuated by members of the audience — mostly those who appeared to support the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) candidate — occasionally clapping loudly, hollering or engaging in intense exchanges with other audience members. Four out of the five invited party candidates attended the debate: Brad Armstrong from the Conservative Party, incumbent Joyce Murray from the Liberal Party, Dr. Devyani Singh from the Green Party and Renate Siekmann from the PPC. The New Democratic Party candidate, Naden Abenes, was absent. One area of contention was concern over Canada’s economic recovery, particularly the role of public spending and the accruing of federal debt. Armstrong, Murray and Singh were all in general support of pandemic spending in order to fuel economic recovery. On the other hand, Siekmann expressed a deep concern for the amount of debt the federal government has taken on. Throughout the night, Siekmann reiterated her preference for smaller government and reduced spending measures. “There is no such thing as a free lunch,” she said multiple times. It was clear that the approaches presented by each candidate for Canada’s economic recovery were vastly different. Siekmann pushed for an ending of all pandemic-related restrictions in order to “get back to [an old] normal.” Murray pushed for continued economic support and an expansion of the safety net with promises like ten-dollar-aday childcare. Armstrong promised a balancing of the budget within ten years and promised to increase affordability through tax incentives. Singh argued in favour of a green recovery, promising policies such as a guaranteed minimum income and a large increase in non-profit housing. While the recovery plans discussed had key differences, some areas of agreement were acknowledged. Climate was one of the winners of the debate, with all candidates agreeing on the severity of the climate crisis. Murray and Armstrong battled over differing emissions targets — with Murray targeting a 45 per cent emissions reduction by 2030 and Armstrong, a 30 per cent reduction. Siekmann spoke on ending the

carbon tax and reducing shipping emissions through local manufacturing. Singh proposed the most aggressive action. She said the Green Party would target a 60 per cent emissions reduction by 2030, end fossil fuel subsidies and ban the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure past 2023. Another major winner of the debate was the unanimous acknowledgement of the mental health crisis. Singh spoke of her experience studying at UBC as a PhD student and the difficulty of accessing the university’s mental health services. She proposed universal health coverage, which would include services for mental health. Murray and Armstrong expressed similar views, with both candidates promising increased investments in mental health services. Siekmann did not mention any specific policies to address access to mental health services, but suggested that mental health would be improved through the ending of all pandemic-related restrictions. On housing affordability, Singh, Murray and Armstrong proposed policies to address the crisis, while Siekmann criticized the government’s spending as a reason for rising rental and housing prices. Armstrong proposed a marketbased solution to the crisis through incentivizing developers to expand supply. In contrast, Murray and Singh proposed more intervention-based solutions. Murray proposed increased investments in building homes for people with “modest incomes” while Singh stated that housing should not be a for-profit venture. The debate flared on the topic of vaccine mandates and vaccine passports. Tensions in the audience and between candidates ran high with Siekmann diametrically opposing the general sentiment from the other candidates on the importance of encouraging vaccinations to end the global health emergency. Siekmann, while responding to a question on abortion access, pivoted and targeted vaccine mandates saying, “It’s your body, your choice.” In the closing statements, climate was again highlighted as a top concern among the Liberal, Conservative and Green candidate’s platforms — with Singh saying “nothing else matters.” In contrast, Siekmann appealed to voters as the alternative to the mainstream parties and casted the party as a bulwark against a perceived loss of rights and freedoms. All candidates were in broad agreement on the critical nature of this year’s federal election. “Vote like your lives depend on it,” Singh said. “Because frankly they do.”U

S E2 P T E M B E R 14 , 2 0 2 1 PAGE 7



Vancouver Quadra candidates wrestle with environmental policy at 100 Debates on the Environment Lauren Ebert Melissa Li

On Tuesday, September 7, three of the candidates running to represent the Vancouver Quadra riding met over Zoom to discuss environmental policy. The candidates present shared many common views, but also took time to differentiate themselves from their opponents. Incumbent MP Joyce Murray of the Liberal Party, Dr. Devyani Singh of the Green Party and Naden Abenes of the New Democratic Party (NDP) were in attendance at the GreenPAC-organized debate. It was part of the non-partisan organization’s 100 Debates on the Environment initiative and held in collaboration with Climate Justice UBC. All party candidates running in the Vancouver Quadra riding were invited to the debate. However, both the Conservative candidate and the People’s Party of Canada candidate were not in attendance. The event swiftly began after opening remarks from the candidates. Moderator Esme Decker of Climate Justice UBC asked a series of questions on environmental issues concerning greenhouse gas reductions, heat waves and climate disasters, Indigenous rights and a just pandemic recovery. On many points, the candidates shared common ideas. All candidates expressed the need for climate action in response to the extreme wildfires and heat waves experienced in BC this summer. Murray emphasized the Liberal plan to train 1,000 new firefighters and its nature-based climate plan to make the landscape more resilient. “The impacts of climate change are always felt most by marginalized people. As a working single mother and an immigrant to this country, trust me when I say I know what this feels like,” said Abenes. All candidates also spoke to the importance of centring Indigenous voices in a just pandemic recovery and protecting old-growth forests.

When asked about what the candidates would do to ensure that Indigenous communities had access to clean water, all candidates agreed that swift action is needed, and Murray cited the Liberal government’s $4 billion commitment to end long-term boiled water advisories. While discussing the fossil fuel industry and greenhouse gas emissions, Murray highlighted that the Liberal climate plan was endorsed by the former BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver who called it the only credible, science-aligned plan. She emphasized how independent experts have called the NDP plan “ineffective” and “costly.” Singh argued that the Liberal plan lacked accounting for externalities and was only achievable because it wasn’t enough. Discussion was respectful throughout, and became lively when an audience member posed a question on emissions from the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) project. “We are in a climate emergency and should be taking action to drive down our emissions ... Instead, we are building a new pipeline and we want to be exporting all this oil and gas to Asia,” Singh said. Murray said she had advocated against the pipeline being built, but as long as demand for oil existed, Canadians should get a fair price and instead work to drive down demand for oil. “From my perspective, we negotiated a very strong deal in exchange for approving TMX and that was Alberta accelerating their elimination of coal-fired plants, regulating their methane and toughening up their price on carbon ... so it brought reductions in the most energy-intensive province in the country,” said Murray. U

Desirée Dawson FRI SEP 24 / 1PM



Kimmortal FRI OCT 22 / 8PM



S E P T E M B E R 14 , 2 02 1 T U E S DAY


BC has seen a summer of heat waves, drought and wildfires batter communities across the province. Safe to say, climate change has emerged as a priority for many voters casting their ballot this September. With the 2021 federal election approaching, The Ubyssey has broken down the platforms of the four major parties on climate policy to help students stay informed.

LIBERAL PARTY The Liberal Party’s platform builds upon its previous efforts and promises to do more for a “greener, cleaner future.” PLATFORM If re-elected, the Liberals promise to meet an “ambitious” emission reduction target at 40–45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The Liberals’ platform commits to obtaining net-zero emissions by 2030, with five-year reduction targets applied to the oil and gas sector to “stay on track.” The party has also previously committed to

increasing carbon pricing by $15 per tonne annually starting in 2022 and will reach $170 per tonne by 2030. The party also promises to protect old-growth forests in BC by reaching “a nature agreement” with the province and investing $50 million into a “B.C. Old Growth Nature Fund,” while working with First Nations groups and local communities. It also pledges to a 100 per cent net-zero emission electrical grid by 2035 through new tax credits and the implementation of a “PanCanadian Grid Council.” ANALYSIS As the incumbents, the Liberals have faced scrutiny for the pace at which its climate policies affect change. In a live debate, New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Jagmeet Singh confronted Liberal Leader and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about how emissions have gone up under his leadership. The party has defended their policies, with CBC News reporting that “Liberals say carbon pricing is still in its early stages” and that it expects improvements in the coming years However, other G20 nations and collectives, most notably the


S E2 P T E M B E R 14 , 2 0 2 1 PAGE 9



European Union, have remained on track for emissions targets. In fact, since signing the Paris Agreement in 2015, the EU has seen observable emission reductions. Though Trudeau came into power that same year, Liberal policies have not had similar outcomes. In fairness, it should be acknowledged that the EU has been on a downward emissions trend since the 1990s. Rising emissions is not the only shortcoming of the Liberals’ platform. According to a May 2021 report by the International Energy Agency, the road to achieving net-zero by 2050 should include an immediate halting of all oil and gas projects — a goal contrasted by the Liberals’ commitment to building the Trans Mountain Pipeline. When asked about how the Liberal Party justified its purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, Minister of Digital Joyce Murray, Liberal incumbent candidate for the Vancouver Quadra riding, referred The Ubyssey to a recent interview with climate expert Mark Jaccard. In the interview, Jaccard discussed the importance of modelling climate policies, explaining that both the expected efficacy in “bending the curve of greenhouse gas emissions” and cost are weighed. According to Jaccard, the Liberals and Conservatives have more manageable but modest climate policies; however, he gave the Liberals a higher ranking than the Conservatives, and ranked both above the NDP and Greens.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY The Conservative Party’s platform offers “alternative” solutions, focusing on individual opportunities for green investment. PLATFORM The Conservatives’ platform pledges to meet the Paris Climate Agreement emissions target — a 30 per cent reduction compared to 2005 levels — by 2030. If elected, the party plans to eliminate the consumer carbon tax backstop and instead opt for a “Personal Low Carbon Savings Account.” When buying hydrocarbon-based fuel, money will be put aside to help the consumer move towards a “greener life,” like buying a transit pass or saving for an electric vehicle. The party also promised carbon pricing at $20 per tonne, while capping it at $50 per tonne. Additionally, it promised to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles, impose carbon border tariffs on “major polluters” and more. The party committed to invest in carbon capture to “trap” carbon dioxide emitted from facilities and in “natural climate change solutions” like forests and wetlands. The platform emphasized that the Conservative climate plan was independently reviewed by Navius Research, which claimed that the plan would achieve “substantially the same emissions reductions” as the Liberal’s 2020 plan. ANALYSIS The Conservative plan faces challenges similar to that of the Liberal plan. Most notably, the Conservatives also promise to build the Trans Mountain Pipeline. When The Ubyssey asked about the implications of the pipeline for the Conservatives’ climate policy, Brad Armstrong, Conservative Party candidate for Vancouver Quadra, argued that the Liberals have also committed to building the pipeline, saying that the Conservative stance is “not different.” Armstrong emphasized that the party will innovate ways to reduce emissions from the oil and gas industry, while still preserving the “thousands of jobs” that industry supports. Like the Liberal and NDP promises to reduce emissions, the Conservatives also fall short of the proposed “fair share” necessary to limit global temperature increases. The Conservatives’ pledge to reduce emissions is lower than other parties but, according to Armstrong, it will not end there. He said once the 30 per cent reduction target has been reached, the party will continue to prioritize ways to minimize emissions. Individuals are given the core responsibility for addressing climate change. The “Personal Low Carbon Savings Account” leaves investment into greener options up to Canadians — some may opt to spend their savings on greener alternatives, while others may not. But perhaps most notable is that these policies stand on unsteady ground; the Conservative party declined to put the words “climate change is real” into party policy this past March.

NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY (NDP) The NDP’s climate policies highlight room for expansion and greater equity in addressing the climate crisis. PLATFORM The party aims to reduce emissions to 50 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050. The platform advocates for the expansion of carbon pricing to eliminate “loopholes … given to big polluters,” the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and the enforcement of more stringent efficiency standards for new buildings. If elected, an NDP government would also increase investments in public transit, green retrofits and more environmentally-friendly infrastructure while providing re-training and job placement services for workers. All the while, the NDP aims to centre reconciliation and Indigenous knowledge within its climate policies and create an Office of Environmental Justice to confront pollution and biodiversity loss within low-income, racialized and other marginalized communities. ANALYSIS While more ambitious than the Liberal plan, the broad goals of the NDP plan belie a lack of details on how they’ll be achieved. During a September 7 campaign stop, Singh declined to clarify how exactly the NDP’s carbon pricing plan would differ from the Liberal plan — the party previously aimed to widen the range of companies within a given industry who would have to pay for carbon emissions. Singh has also yet to speak on the party’s views towards the Coastal Gaslink natural gas pipeline, which he previously supported despite opposition from Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. The terms “fracking” and “hydraulic fracturing” make no appearance within the platform. Vancouver Quadra’s NDP candidate, Naden Abenes, did not respond to requests for an interview.

GREEN PARTY The Green Party’s platform places an emphasis on strong government stimulus and industry regulations to address the climate crisis. PLATFORM The party wants Canada to reduce its “fair share” of emissions, calling for a 60 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 and becoming carbonnegative by 2050. Regulation and infrastructure emerge as major themes, as the platform calls for an end to all fossil fuel subsidies, fracking and new pipeline construction. The party also aims to create a 100 per cent renewable electricity grid — without nuclear energy — and impose a ban on fossil fuel-powered vehicles (specifically “internal combustion engine passenger vehicles”) by 2030. Under Green Party rule, carbon taxes would increase by $25 per year between 2022 and 2030. The government would also implement a carbon border adjustment to protect Canadian companies from facing disadvantages in the marketplace. The Greens hope that pandemic recovery efforts like a nationwide building retrofit programme and worker retraining resources will bolster Canada’s economy while staying true to its aim as an international climate leader. ANALYSIS Having the most ambitious climate plan, the Green Party faces the hardest political headwinds to turning its ideas into policy. While going carbon-negative requires massive investments in infrastructure and public services, funding sources for the Green Party’s plans have yet to be released. However, the party is leaning on a growing repertoire of studies that show that the projected fiscal and physical consequences of climate change far outweigh the costs of reducing emissions. Implementing efforts like a nationwide clean electricity grid may also be difficult, as electricity generation remains a provincial issue. But perhaps the hardest step will be convincing voters to recognize the benefits — and look past the upfront costs — of a just transition. Dr. Devyani Singh, Green Party candidate for Vancouver Quadra, explained that the transition would take place within a “managed wind-down,” during which workers would receive retraining resources and wage assurances as opportunities open up in greener industries. “More jobs are going to be created in the green economy than currently exist in [the fossil fuel industry],” Singh told The Ubyssey in an interview. “So not only are we going to be able to move people from the fossil fuel industry, there’s going to be way more jobs for people coming into the workforce.” U


S E P T E M B E R 14 , 2 02 1 T U E S DAY


Are students voting this election? Aafreen Siddiqui and Farzeen Ather On September 20, Canadian students — amongst other voters — will make their voices heard in a snap election less than two years after the Liberal minority government was elected. A major concern this election season for students (besides COVID-19) is the scrapping of the Vote on Campus initiative that allowed them to vote at their universities in 2019. The Ubyssey spoke with some UBC students to see why they’re voting this year, which issues matter to them and if the pandemic is playing a vital role in their vote. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR STUDENTS TO VOTE IN THIS ELECTION? Rosemary Alberts, third-year political science student: “By exercising your right to vote, you are expressing your views on what you want our country, provinces and towns to look like in the future. I think it’s important for students to vote not just in this election, but every election.” File photo: Zubair Hijri

Polite politics: Tips and tricks for respectful political conversations Shane Atienza

Syra Tak, second-year commerce student: “As a woman of colour, I feel like I owe it to … how I identify to vote because you know we had the suffragette movement before, where women fought to vote and then … immigrants [also fought to vote] … like my grandparents. So I feel like I owe that to my history.” Amy Topshee, third-year political science student: “So many election issues are particularly relevant to young students: affordable housing, climate change, student debt, health care.” Julia Dhillon, second-year arts student: “This pandemic has both highlighted and exacerbated existing inequalities, showcasing how post-pandemic paths cannot perpetuate existing harmful policies. We need to become engaged citizens and work for change.”

With the federal election set for September 20, it is that time again — when conversations turn to politics, and relationships are tested. When the personal intersects with political and pertinent issues like pandemic management, as well as the overdose and climate crises take centre stage, emotions often run high. Yet, the risk of heightened emotions doesn’t mean that we should shy away from discussing important political issues and the political candidates that can change the way our government, and ultimately our society, manages such pressing issues. Whether you are a keener honours political science student or someone who has trouble remembering the names of the federal political parties, it’s easy to learn how to engage in polite and productive conversations about politics — even with those who hold differing views.

Sean Thorne, fourth-year political science student: “Young people are becoming one of the largest and most influential voting demographics, and the only way our members of parliament will represent the issues that impact us most is if we advocate for them with our ballots. If we don’t vote, politicians won’t listen to our concerns.”

ENGAGING As with any conversation, it’s best to be open to different perspectives while talking politics. It isn’t healthy to assume that you are always 100 per cent right and whomever you’re talking to is 100 per cent wrong. In fact, finding common ground with someone you may disagree with is always possible and can be quite helpful in grounding a conversation with an aura of respect. For instance, the fact that you’re talking with someone about politics shows that you both have an appreciation of the importance of the issues at hand! With conversation inevitably comes questions and so, when asking yours, stick to non-judgemental, “non-loaded” ones. For instance, instead of saying “How could you possibly be dumb enough to think x, y or z,” try for something more like “What are your thoughts on x, y or z?” When you’re not asking the questions, be an attentive listener: don’t try to interrupt or catch the person you’re talking with off guard (with a loaded question, for instance). Such tactics will probably leave a sour taste in the mouth on both sides. Being a good listener and asking thoughtful, open questions will allow both you and your conversation partner to hear and express different ideas out loud, all without feeling like you hate each other.

Alberts: “As a student, some of the top issues that matter to me are climate change and affordability, whether that be tuition or housing, among other things. Everyone will have to deal with the consequences of the climate crisis but the younger generations will be most impacted. Student debt can prevent many students from saving up to buy a home in the future as the affordability gap continues to grow.”

MAKING SPACE FOR FRICTION With such a polarising topic as politics, things are almost inevitably bound to get a bit tense. However, it’s possible to respectfully manage this friction. It can be easy to get riled up and turn to personal attacks when dealing with a person who holds opposing views. It’s important, though, to try not to make conversations personal. In other words, don’t attack the person; instead, question or challenge ideas. Finally, don’t be afraid to call out potential misinformation that your conversation partner might mention, but don’t put them down for absorbing it! Pretty much anyone can fall for fake news (even professors).

Sahil Gupta, second-year mechanical engineering student: “I became a Canadian citizen almost six months ago so this would be my first time voting so I feel pretty excited about it.” WHAT TOPICS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN PARTY PLATFORMS, OR WHICH ISSUES MATTER THE MOST TO YOU?

Tak: “Selfishly, as a student, I obviously look into parties and all of the promises that they have for students that they’re putting forward … Also climate change, which is a really big thing and I’m really looking at not just making promises but seeing ... what they have done already to combat climate change.” Topshee: “For me, the issue that matters the most is climate change. Climate change has and will continue to negatively impact population health, the economy, housing and more. One issue that I haven’t heard anyone else discuss, but that I’d really like to see, is lowering the voting age. [Students] receive civics education in school and the outcomes of elections will impact them.” Dhillon: “If I had to pick just three issues that I am looking most at in this election, off the top of my head, they would probably be climate change, Indigenous reconciliation and social [and] economic inequality.” Thorne: “This year I’m looking to parties to address affordability, particularly with school and cost of living, as well as effective climate and health care policy.” Gupta: “Mostly, I am looking for who can offer the public the most and my biggest concern is the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia monopoly.” HAS COVID-19 AFFECTED THE WAY YOU’RE GOING TO VOTE?

ENDING THE CONVERSATION Whether it be 15 minutes into a conversation about politics or 15 seconds, there may come a point when you just want to stop talking about a controversial or sensitive subject. A simple, “Well, let’s agree to disagree’’ could suffice to end the discussion, as could a clever segue (into small talk on, say, the weather). And if you’re flustered, a candid “I’d rather not talk about that topic right now” could do the trick as well. As long as you keep your cool and are honest (or perhaps seem really enthused about the weather), moving your conversation topics away from politics is easy. But when all is said and done, it’s important to appreciate that people don’t always have to agree to be friends or friendly! Politics can divide people, but it doesn’t necessarily have to.

Alberts: “It definitely means I will look at each party’s views on issues that were not important during the last federal election such as COVID[-19] recovery and mandatory vaccinations.”

DE(VOTE)D TO THE CONVERSATION Civil political discourse is healthy, and helps prevent us from becoming trapped in a dangerous political echo chamber. When done respectfully, talking with those who hold different political views from your own can be extremely fulfilling and worthwhile. Through dynamic political conversations, you can be introduced to new perspectives, and these new perspectives in turn could either help you solidify your own beliefs, or open you up to novel ideas that you might actually end up supporting! In the end, even if you end a conversation not agreeing on key issues, it’s important to feel comfortable having the conversation nonetheless. Hearing different perspectives ultimately helps keep you informed, and informed citizens are much more likely to vote. And hey, voting is good! U

Dhillon: “Though COVID[-19] hasn’t really affected how I will vote, it has definitely made me more confident in how I plan to vote … this is due to the pandemic’s reinforcement of existing social inequalities. We need change.”

Tak: “… You definitely see more so, how the current party in power has been responding to [COVID-19] and so you kind of have to take other parties, what they’re promising and such at face value … because we haven’t gotten to see it in action quite yet.” Topshee: “Not overly, I will still vote in person, wear a mask and follow any other public health guidelines that are in effect at that time.”

Thorne: “Practically, no, I’ll still be going to the polls and putting my ballot in the box. In terms of party, it has definitely been a part of my decision of who I’m voting for.” FINAL REMARKS Dhillon: “As the Vote on Campus program has been cancelled this year, it is vital that the youth make a plan to vote. Our future is on the line, and your voice can make a difference. Please vote.” U

S E2 P T E M B E R 14 , 2 0 2 1 PAGE 11



Lua Presidio

COVID-19 policy, explained Sophia Russo The past two years have been marked by the COVID-19 pandemic — and the policies guiding Canadians in the midst of this crisis. COVID-19 policy has been discussed by all major political parties, with proposals for action ranging from bolstering Canadian vaccine research and domestic production to party stances on “vaccine passports.” To help students stay informed, The Ubyssey compiled the most topical points pertaining to COVID-19 policy from the four main political parties.

LIBERAL PARTY VACCINATIONS If elected, the Liberals will make vaccinations mandatory for federal public service workers as well as travellers on commercial flights and “other federally regulated vessels.” The party also detailed that they are working with Crown corporations and workplaces that are federally regulated to “prioritiz[e]” employee vaccination. The Liberals support provincial requirements for proof of vaccination documentation. To assist provinces and territories who choose to make this documentation a requirement for use of non-essential services, they will invest $1 billion in a “COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination Fund.” The fund will cover costs tied to the planning and implementation of proof of vaccination documentation requirements and will be allocated on a “per capita basis.” The origin of these funds was not mentioned in the platform. The Liberals also promised to push for legislation that will protect businesses from legal action if they impose this requirement. Following the distribution of vaccines for free over the past nine months, the Liberals have committed to making vaccines against new variants and COVID-19 booster shots free for Canadians as well. COMING OUT OF THE PANDEMIC In the effort to better understand the long-term consequences of COVID-19, the Liberals pledge to invest $100 million in a wide-scale study of its effects. The Liberal platform did not make any new promises regarding the domestic manufacturing of vaccines or personal protective equipment (PPE), but they emphasized previous action taken. The party highlighted Canada’s Bio-manufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy that they implemented in 2021 to increase vaccine manufacturing in Canada.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY VACCINATIONS Instead of mandating vaccines, the Conservative platform commits to introducing rapid testing measures for unvaccinated Canadians. The party has promised to implement rapid testing for all who enter Canada regardless of vaccination status. Entry into Canada will be prohibited for travellers originating from “hotspots” of new variants. The Conservatives also aim to increase the number of rapid tests available to provinces, “accelerate Health Canada approvals” for rapid tests that have been approved by other countries and make at-home COVID-19 tests “readily available” — although it is unclear what this means. Like the Liberals, the Conservatives have promised to make booster shots for Canadians a priority. They also pledge to support the provinces in the delivery and distribution of vaccines and booster shots.

COMING OUT OF THE PANDEMIC “Homegrown” development, research and manufacturing of vaccines in Canada was promised to be “accelerated” under Conservative leadership. The domestic production and stockpiling of PPE is also detailed in the platform, with tariffs on imported PPE being proposed. The Global Public Health Intelligence Network — which was previously shutdown under Liberal leadership in May 2019 — was emphasized in the Conservative platform as a means to “strengthen the sharing of public health intelligence across the federal government and with the provinces and territories.” The party also aim to establish a “threat-level warning system” that will perform risk assessments on new viruses of interest.

NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY (NDP) VACCINATIONS Like the Liberals, the NDP support mandatory vaccinations for federal workers with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh pushing for hard deadlines to implement the practice. In an August 2021 press release, Singh said that federal employees who do not wish to be vaccinated for non-health-related reasons may be subject to the “progressive discipline process” outlined in the worker’s collective agreement — which may include termination. He said that disciplinary measures would be done as a “last resort” but may be “necessary in rare cases.” The New Democrats have also committed to invest $1 billion to give Canadians paid time-off as they get their vaccinations and facilitate efforts to increase the vaccination rates in rural areas and vaccine-hesitant groups, according to Singh at a September 2021 press conference. However, the origin of the funds for this investment was not disclosed. COMING OUT OF THE PANDEMIC The NDP platform has committed to the domestic manufacturing of PPE and vaccines, promising to “expand critical domestic manufacturing capacity” for PPE, pharmaceuticals and vaccines. It also pledges to “stockpile” PPE.

GREEN PARTY VACCINATIONS Green Party Leader Annamie Paul said that vaccines are “vital” but “questioned the motives” of the Liberals making vaccine mandates a political topic during this election. She also criticized the lack of details in the Liberal’s vaccine mandate plans for how those with “legitimate reasons” for not getting vaccinated will be accommodated, including Canadians with medical, cultural and religious reasons, as well as those with inadequate access to vaccines and information regarding them. Dr. Devyani Singh, the Green party candidate for Vancouver Quadra, said in an interview with The Ubyssey that the Green Party “believe in public health measures that are taken to reduce the burden on our hospitals.” Singh also highlighted that she feels there is “a lot of place[s] for improvement” in the implementation of COVID-19 policies as well as for “how governments are conveying the science.” COMING OUT OF THE PANDEMIC The Greens have committed to investing in vaccine research and their domestic production, writing that Canada’s lack of capacity to manufacture vaccines “must change.” U


S E P T E M B E R 14 , 2 02 1 T U E S DAY

Affordable housing platforms, explained Words Owen Gibbs Design Mahin E Alam If you study at UBC, chances are that your rent is higher than many of your friends studying in smaller cities. According to a report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the average rent in Vancouver is over $1,500 per month, while the national average is $1,165 per month. Both Vancouver and national rental prices are on the rise. This is the result of a “housing bubble” that has been growing in the area for years. As the 2021 federal election approaches, many Canadians may want to know what each party plans to do to get housing prices and rent under control going forward. Each of the four major parties have different yet similar ideas on how to improve rental prices, so we’ve summed up each platform so that you can cast an informed vote. LIBERAL PARTY The Liberals have released the most detailed platform on affordable housing and made it a central part of their bid for re-election. The Liberal platform centers on a commitment to “build, preserve or repair 1.4 million homes in the next four years.” This plan includes conventional ideas for creating supply, such as building more middle-class houses and more innovative plans such as converting empty office space into rental units. However, there are issues and missing pieces within the Liberals’ explanation of making this approach work. Their platform includes the assertion that a Liberal government would build or revitalize 250,000 additional homes on top of 285,000 that are already on the way, but lacks an explanation of how it will fulfill the rest of the party’s 1.4 million home commitment. The platform also doesn’t guarantee that new homes would be dedicated to affordable low- and medium-income housing. The Liberal platform does include significant measures to get the housing bubble under control, however. It commits to a requirement for buyers to maintain ownership of a property for at least one year, which is meant to crack down on house flipping — which is considered to be responsible for driving Vancouver rent and housing prices through the roof. The Liberals have numerous other items that would affect affordable housing for students, including a ban on “renovictions” — an eviction carried out to do a repair or renovation — and imposing federal oversight upon the housing market. However, skepticism towards the Liberals’ true commitment to affordability may be warranted as the party has not had the best track record with following through on election promises. For instance, the Liberals have not followed through on promises to ensure Indigenous reserves have access to drinkable water. Recently, Taleeb Noormohamed — the Liberal candidate for Vancouver-Granville — was discovered to have flipped 21 homes since 2005, earning nearly $5 million in the process. This is the exact business model that the proposed anti-flipping legislation would prevent. CONSERVATIVE PARTY Like the Liberals, the Conservative platform voices its intention to create affordable housing by constructing new homes quickly. The platform indicates that the Conservatives would fuel the construction of a million new units in the next three years by improving public transit infrastructure to stimulate demand in urban areas, releasing 15 per cent of government buildings to the private sector, encouraging investment in rental housing through capital gains tax deferrals, and incentivizing corporations and private landowners to donate properties to a Land Trust that would then be used to fund affordable housing. The Conservatives would also target corruption in the housing market by amending the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act to investigate real estate money laundering and introduce a registry for residential properties. Just like the Liberals, the Conservatives would introduce anti-flipping legislation. The Conservative platform is highly reminiscent of that of the Liberals. However, the Conservative plan focuses more on encouraging the private sector to create affordable housing. It’s difficult to ascertain whether any benefits of the Conservative platform would trickle down to students. If the market were to produce affordable housing

as the party expects it would, then new units would supposedly be built that would benefit UBC students. However, the platform contains no specifications as to what proportion of new housing would be dedicated to families only. NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY (NDP) The NDP has decided to take an approach to solving the affordable housing crisis that’s quite similar to the Liberals and Conservatives, albeit less ambitious. The NDP platform is geared towards creating thousands of new housing units in the near future. The party intends to construct 500,000 new units within the next ten years, less than one-third of the Liberal target in more than double the time. According to the official NDP platform, mass housing construction will be jumpstarted through dedicated federal funding, which the party claims will streamline the approval process for new housing projects. Notably, priority approval would be reserved for non-profit and social housing, as well as co-ops. Furthermore, the NDP would introduce a 20 per cent foreign buyers tax, meant to reduce the offshore investment bubble that has plagued Metro Vancouver real estate for the past few years. The strategy of stimulating affordability through new construction is questionable. A simple “build more” strategy is based on the premise that real estate operates on the same converse supply-demand curve as other products. If supply increases, then demand — and prices — will decrease. However, demand must be uniform across Canada for this to be the case. In a place with extremely high demand, like Vancouver, simply building more houses could lead to further high-priced investment while maintaining current housing prices. The NDP does seem to be aware of this potential problem as it specifies that it will prioritize social and co-op housing federally. This assures that units created will be relatively inexpensive compared to other real estate. While the Liberal platform addresses the need for co-op housing, it does not explicitly earmark funds for its creation of new student housing. Theoretically, the increase in rental units in the NDP platform could trickle down to students living near UBC and other local universities. GREEN PARTY The Green Party was the last to release its official platform, initially providing only broad descriptions of its policies. Now, we have a full slate of ambitious policies that the Greens would attempt to accomplish if in government. If elected, the Greens would begin by declaring the housing crisis a national emergency, allowing more resources to be distributed towards improving conditions. Like the other parties, they would fund the creation of at least 300,000 new affordable housing units over the next decade. The Green platform includes several significant provisions for renters, such as introducing a national moratorium on evictions until the end of the pandemic and possibly beyond, and creating national standards on rent and vacancy control. If implemented properly, students would benefit substantially from these policies. Also included in the platform are tax incentives for building rental-specific housing and credits for community land trusts to build affordable housing — the tools through which the 300,000-unit goal would be made possible. For renters, rent on units owned by developers would be GST-exempt. Also included in the Green platform are significant measures to reduce youth homelessness. The Green Party’s plans for affordability seem less focused on housing and more on the idea of a Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI), an ambitious and expensive undertaking that the party hopes would reduce poverty. This means that the government would provide each Canadian with the amount of money necessary to pay for food and rent every month, which would certainly help students. However, such a plan would be expensive, and the Green Party has not provided an exact plan for paying for it although it claims GLI would be cheaper than what poverty costs the medical system. U


S E2 P T E M B E R 14 , 2 0 2 1 PAGE 13



Overdose crisis platforms, explained Farzeen Ather Content Warning: This article contains mentions of harmful substance use, death caused by overdose and other topics that readers may find distressing. On September 20, Canadian voters will make their voices heard in a snap election less than two years after the Liberal minority government was elected in 2019. While many Canadians will be thinking about public health measures due to COVID-19 as they head to the polls, British Columbians will bring the weight of two public health emergencies: COVID-19 and the overdose crisis. In 2015, illicit drug overdoses became the most common cause of unnatural death in BC. On April 14, 2016, BC declared a public health emergency under the Public Health Act. This was the first time the Provincial Health Officer enacted these powers, making the overdose crisis the longest public health emergency in BC history. According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction, 96 per cent of opioid-related deaths are accidental, and in 2020 the overdose crisis took the lives of 12 Canadians a day on average. The main factors driving the crisis are the contamination of the illegal drug supply with fentanyl and the overprescription of opioids which can cause dependence and high tolerance. The pandemic has exacerbated the effects of the overdose crisis. Access to safe consumption sites decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing the risk of overdosing. Over the course of March 2020 to March 2021, the rate of death due to overdose in BC doubled. The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) also noted that people who have had an overdose were at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 and experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms due to co-occurring conditions such as homelessness and poverty. There is little data on illicit drug usage or overdoses at UBC, but students are not immune. The BCCDC reported that over the course of the pandemic people who overdosed tended to be younger. On April 14, UBC President Santa Ono released a statement on the anniversary of the public health emergency declaration. He detailed actions UBC took beginning in 2018 to support students. However, advocates say UBC is not doing enough to support students during the overdose crisis. Many groups including Doctors of BC, Moms Stop the Harm, BC Premier John Horgan and the mayor of Vancouver along with mayors of seven other major cities in BC are calling for the decriminalization of simple possession of controlled substances for personal use. Many are calling for the overdose crisis to be made a priority in the upcoming election. The Ubyssey has explained what the platforms of the four major parties say regarding the overdose crisis, so you can go into Election Day informed. LIBERAL PARTY If re-elected, the Liberal Party promises a “whole-of-society approach” to the overdose crisis that will address its causes and support people who use drugs. The platform promises an investment of $25 million in public education to reduce the stigma associated with illicit substance use and to invest $500 million to support provinces and territories in providing access to “evidence-based treatment,” although they have not explained what evidence-based treatment means. The platform also pledges to support low-risk or first-time offenders by repealing mandatory minimum penalties in the Criminal Code and by requiring police and Crown prosecutors to consider alternatives to the criminal justice system for offenders. At a campaign event on August 31, which is International Overdose Awareness Day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Liberals will treat the overdose crisis as a medical problem. However, when asked by a reporter whether the Liberals would follow advice from experts and push for decriminalization of the possession of controlled substances for personal use, Trudeau indirectly said ‘no.’

CONSERVATIVE PARTY The Conservative Party states in their platform that they believe “the last thing that those suffering from addiction should have to worry about is being arrested,” so the focus should be on dealers and traffickers. The Conservatives claim they want to frame the issue of the overdose crisis around recovery. In order to do so, they promise to invest $325 million over the next three years to facilitate 1,000 drug treatment beds and 50 recovery community centres across Canada. They also highlight their promised support to treatment and prevention programs in Indigenous communities. Finally, they pledge to partner with provinces to ensure that naloxone kits are available for free across the country. However, the Conservative Party does not plan to decriminalize possession of controlled substances. On August 22 at a campaign stop, Party Leader Erin O’Toole was asked if the Conservative stance on the overdose crisis should be codified into federal policy. He stressed the importance of “judicial discretion grounded in compassion,” meaning Conservatives would most likely not decriminalize possession. NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY (NDP) In their platform, the NDP focus on how they believe the Liberal government failed by not declaring a public health emergency and investigating the role of drug companies in the overdose crisis. The NDP pledge to declare a public health emergency and to work with various levels of government to “end the criminalization and stigma of drug addiction” by focusing more on bringing drug traffickers and suppliers to justice. It also promises to create a supply of medically-regulated alternatives to illicit street drugs and provide overall support to treatment and prevention for people struggling with substance use. Finally, it pledges to investigate the role of drug companies in the overdose crisis and obtain financial compensation from them for the public costs of the crisis. The NDP has not provided any financial details to accompany their campaign promises in regards to the overdose crisis. GREEN PARTY In their platform, the Greens emphasize the exacerbation of the overdose crisis by the COVID-19 pandemic. They also state that the overdose crisis should be treated as a healthcare emergency as opposed to a criminal issue. The Greens promise to decriminalize simple possession. They plan to de-prioritize policing of simple possession and pursue decriminalization at the federal level. In addition to decriminalization, the Greens want to declare the overdose crisis as a national public health emergency. They promise to support and fund communitybased programs for prevention and rehabilitation of substance use. They also pledge to develop a safe supply of pharmaceutical alternatives of drugs as well as legally regulate illicit drugs in order to provide safer access to adults while protecting youth. The Greens have also not provided any financial details to accompany their party promises in regards to the overdose crisis. Resources If you or a loved one are struggling with harmful substance use, please refer to these resources for support: • • • • • •

UBC Counselling and resource page (Canada-wide) Wellness Together Canada: 1-866-585-0445 (Canada-wide) Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (BC only) Alcohol and Drug Information Referral Service: 604-660-9382 or 1-800-663-1441 (BC only) HealthLink BC: 8-1-1 (BC only) 310Mental Health Support: 310-6789 (no need to dial area code) U

Lua Presidio


S E P T E M B E R 14 , 2 02 1 T U E S DAY

Student funding platforms, explained

NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY (NDP) The NDP is running on a platform of providing all students equal and equitable access to post-secondary education, identifying wealth and the ability to take on debt as barriers to individuals pursuing an education. To address current student needs and concerns, the NDP has promised to remove interest from federal student loans and introduce a debt forgiveness program that would result in the cancellation of up to $20,000 in student debt. The NDP has also pledged to work with provinces and territories to cap and reduce tuition fees and integrate post-secondary education into Canada’s public education system. Ultimately, it is the party’s vision to move away from loans entirely, and instead, significantly increase funding towards Canada Student Grants.

Words Nicholas Viegas Design Mahin E Alam

Universities are home to Canada’s youngest voters, and concerns regarding education affordability are a major talking point for post-secondary students come election time. While some aspects of education are under provincial jurisdiction, the federal government plays a key role in funding post-secondary institutions and providing student loans. The financial devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has made the conversation surrounding education affordability all the more important and most of Canada’s major parties have plans to address student interests. However, compared to most other issues each party has given considerably less attention to education affordability. “[Young people’s] experience[s] through the pandemic, obviously access to education, the current crisis around affordability and trying to get established in the labour market — all of those issues have not garnered any attention [during campaigns],” Katherine Scott, senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, told CTV News. Education affordability and funding is an important issue to many UBC students. The Ubyssey has summarized the key education affordability proposals of each of Canada’s four major political parties so you can go into Election Day informed.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY The Conservative Party does not explicitly mention education affordability in its platform. Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole made various pledges specific to post-secondary students when running for party leadership. Namely, O’Toole previously mentioned granting tax breaks of up to $100,000 for new graduates in the first three years after graduation, were he to become Prime Minister. As well, O’Toole has suggested that students who enrol in engineering, coding or the skilled trades could enjoy up to $200,000 in tax breaks over a period of five years. Erin O’Toole has not mentioned student debt or post-secondary education affordability at any campaign stops.


LIBERAL PARTY Amidst the pandemic, the Liberals have waived interest on Canada Student Loans for two years. For the federal election campaign, the Liberal Party wants to ensure that no student is deterred from pursuing an education because interest costs make it unaffordable for them. The Liberal platform promises to permanently eliminate federal interest on Canada Student Loans. The party claims that this will save the average borrower about $3,000 over the lifetime of their loan and benefit one million student loan borrowers. The Liberals have promised to increase the repayment assistance threshold to $50,000 for Canada Student Loan borrowers who are single. In simple terms, this means that university graduates who are beginning their careers will not be burdened with the task of repaying their loans until they are earning at least $50,000 annually. In 2019, the Liberals promised to make the minimum repayment wage $35,000 annually, but the party has yet to follow through on this promise.

GREEN PARTY The Green Party has a platform that promises to abolish tuition. Though they admit that this universally accessible system is estimated to cost over $10 billion annually, the party believes that it could be partially funded by the money that currently goes towards tuition tax credits and the administration of the current student loan system. The Green Party also want to reinvest in the system by allocating $10 billion to post-secondary education and trade schools. Like the New Democrats, the Greens are running on a platform of debt forgiveness, promising to cancel all federally-held student loan debt. The Green Party has also pledged to eliminate the two per cent cap on increases in education funding for Indigenous students. The Green Party also wants to reintroduce a retroactive Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) to guarantee students receive $2,000 a month from May 1, 2020 until the end of the pandemic. CESB orginaly ran from May 10, 2020 until August 29, 2020 applicants received $1,250 per month for a maximum of 16 weeks. U


S E2 P T E M B E R 14 , 2 0 2 1 PAGE 15



Lua Presidio

Public transportation platforms, explained Tina Yong The accessibility and affordability of public transportation has always been an important issue for students, particularly those who attend UBC which is often described as a ‘commuter school.’ In 2019 — the last full year of in-person school — 54 per cent of all trips to and from campus were made on transit. Despite the ubiquity of travelling via SkyTrains and buses, UBC students who don’t live on or near campus have faced long commutes and an overburdened transit system. A study published in 2019 indicated that about one million Canadians suffer from transport poverty, which means suffering socioeconomic harm due to lacking public transportation access. This primarily affects rural areas and people living in downtown hubs, specifically in low-income neighbourhoods. Transit agencies have been decreasing services due to low ridership, a trend the pandemic exacerbated. Greyhound Canada permanently ended all of its operations and services earlier this year, preventing many people living in rural areas from accessing jobs or services in cities. The public transit system is plagued with problems like inconsistent funding, unaffordability and priority given to “car-centric” infrastructure. So, what are politicians doing about it? With the looming federal election, here’s a look at each of the four major party’s key policies relating to public transportation. LIBERAL PARTY As the incumbent party, the Liberals have taken some action to expand public transit during its time in office. The party has invested over $13 billion in transit projects since 2015 and is pledging to invest another $14.9 billion as part of a permanent transit fund. The Liberal platform promises to invest $250 billion into creating cheaper, greener and faster transit. The Liberal Party said it would continue accelerating existing major public transit projects and strive for “better, cleaner transportation.” It is promising to fund the long-awaited Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension — to which it recently dedicated $1.3 billion in funding — as well as an extension of the Millennium Line from Arbutus to UBC. The Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension has been in discussion since 1990 and is widely popular among Metro Vancouver residents. It is projected to serve 62,000 riders by 2035, with nearly half of those trips being taken by people switching from another mode of transportation to transit. In its official platform, the Liberal Party promises to switch to zero-emission buses, build high-frequency, electric rail available between Toronto and Quebec City and advance a national strategy to build more “bike lanes, sidewalks, pathways and multi-use trails.” CONSERVATIVE PARTY The Conservative Party’s official platform gave a single sentence to public transit: “We will immediately invest in projects that will put Canadians to work, cut commute times, and clean up the environment.” Every party except the Conservatives pledges to compensate for service cuts in rural areas. In the housing section of its platform, the Conservative Party said that it would commit to building public transit infrastructure in populated areas and require federally funded municipalities to increase housing projects near transit. Like the Liberals, Conservatives have also promised federal funding for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension, but not in its official platform. The Conservative Party’s policy intersection between climate change and public transportation can be found in its plan to create a Personal Low Carbon Savings Account, which Canadians would need to pay into every time they purchase a hydrocarbon product.

According to the Conservative platform, consumers would then “be able to apply the money in their account towards things that help them live a greener life,” like paying for a transit pass. The Conservative platform also acknowledged that transit is not an option for many people who need to travel long distances or parents who need to work and tend to their children. It shifted the focus of its climate policy onto developing electric and hydrogen vehicles, calling them “essential to meeting our climate goals.” NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY (NDP) The NDP plans to electrify public transit by 2030 by doubling current investments in the Canada Community-Building Fund and work toward eliminating transit fares for “provinces and municipalities that identify it as a priority.” The NDP has already clashed with the Liberals on the issue of climate change and public transit. After NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announced he would double current transit funding to electrify buses and other fleets, he said that current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has failed to address the climate crisis. Trudeau responded by saying that the NDP “weren’t even trying to be ambitious” with its climate plan. Transportation currently contributes 23 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Although the majority of these emissions comes from commercial vehicles like cars, planes and trucks, investing in electrified transit would likely reduce emissions and transportation spending in the long run. A 2020 survey of more than 800 Canadians indicated that 80 per cent approve of the current government’s plan to provide municipalities with electric buses, an effort both the NDP and the Liberals support. In several Canadian provinces, steps have been made to transition to zeroemission means of public transport, making Canada home to North America’s largest battery-powered bus fleet. However, problems with infrastructure and cost have slowed the transition. To compensate for Greyhound’s service cuts, especially in rural communities, the NDP has promised to restore some cancelled services in under-serviced areas and develop a public inter-city bus system. The NDP, like the Liberals, support creating a high-frequency railway route along the Quebec-Windsor corridor, which is the most densely populated area in Canada and restoring the Ontario Northlander train service, which it called on the Conservative Party to do in 2019. GREEN PARTY Under the broader promise to “expand transit services and infrastructure,” the Green Party pledges that if elected, it will invest $3.4 billion annually into a permanent public transit fund starting in 2026/27, provide up to $720 million to develop or strengthen regional rail networks by 2024 and solve existing service shortfalls. The Greens promise to establish a bus-rail grid that mandates bus companies to “deliver passengers to local rail stations” and abolish sales taxes for public transportation in rural and inter-city communities. The party also included plans to make all public ground transportation carbon-neutral nationally by 2040 and build an electrified, high-speed rail in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec City triangle and the Calgary-Edmonton corridor. The Green Party claimed support for city charters, which would give cities greater autonomy to fund transit projects. “If cities are to have the tools needed to develop long-range plans for improved public transit and affordable housing, their decisions must be respected by provincial governments,” its platform said. U


S E P T E M B E R 14 , 2 02 1 T U E S DAY