BC Election 2020 | Political Candidates and the Heritage Sector
BC Election 2020 | Political Candidates and the Heritage Sector
To help heritage professionals and organization to better understand where candidates running in the 2020 provincial election stand on important issues, the BCMA, in partnership with the Archives Association of BC, the BC Historical Federation, Friends of the BC Archives, and Heritage BC, sent a brief survey to every candidate running from the BC NDP, Liberal Party, and Green Party.
In addition to the candidate responses, the BC Liberal Party also emailed us their official party response. You can read the official BC Liberal Party response here. Finally, a number of BC NDP candidates answered with a shared response, rather than repeating the response for each candidate, it is listed below as “BC NDP All Candidates.”
Question 1: A recent survey of heritage organizations in British Columbia found that more than 1 in 3 fear they will never recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, UNESCO found that 1 in 3 museums may close permanently due to COVID-19. Do you agree that increased provincial funding is needed to preserve our communities’ culture and heritage?
Question 2: As British Columbians work to address the legacy of colonization and systemic racism, in what ways can the provincial government support heritage initiatives by Indigenous and racialized communities in BC (responses are no in particular order):
- BC NDP All Candidates: Reconciliation, equality, and inclusion are key guiding principles of our party and a re-elected BC NDP government would continue to build on the work we started while in government that addresses the legacy of colonialism and systemic racism in BC and promotes cultural preservation and revitalization. For example, our government provided $500,000 in grants to the BC Museums Association to support First Nation communities and organizations with repatriation projects, as part of our commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We advocated for Vancouver’s Chinatown to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, while we work to create a new museum that honours Chinese Canadians. We are engaging with Indigenous peoples in B.C. to hear their views about how they would like the Royal BC Museum modernized and how the museum could most effectively tell the stories of B.C. communities and history. Also, we funded the Punjabi Legacy Project which celebrates the contributions of the Punjabi Canadian community in B.C. through the development of new educational supports, exhibits and online resources. There is still more work to be done and we are committed to supporting initiatives by Indigenous and racialized communities in B.C. We will extend our funding for key projects designed to preserve and respect Indigenous cultures – including the retention and revitalization of First Nations languages, putting additional languages into BC’s curriculum, and reflecting Indigenous peoples’ history and cultures in provincial parks and wilderness areas.
- Scott Berstein, BC Green Party, Vancouver-Kingsway: There is much work to be done and it should be led and guided by Indigenous people and people of colour. The province should support sustainable initiatives by offering funding and logistical support for local initiatives aimed at preserving and protecting BC’s heritage. The province needs to recognize the impact of colonialism and how it still manifests and take positive actions to support and empower those affected by past and current policies.
- Evan Jolicoeur, BC Green Party, Mid Island Pacific Rim: Fund Indigenous residencies of cultural and traditional wisdom, knowledge, and medicine keepers to come and provide insights and advice. Promote a year of reconciliation across all heritage initiatives in BC to support learning of where we have come from and where we are going
- Roxanne Helme, BC Liberal Party, Oak Bay Gordon Head: By promoting awareness and inclusiveness through education, communication, and governance.
- Catharine Kendall, BC Green Party, Prince George-Mackenzie: Indigenous languages and history should be taught in all BC schools. Elders should be invited at least once a year to share cultural teachings.
- Harrison Johnston, BC Green Party, North Vancouver-Seymour: Yes absolutely! I would support increased government investment in supporting Indigenous, Black and other racialized artists, historians, elders, and community leaders to help preserve their history, heritage, and culture.
- Kelly Tatham, BC Green Party, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant: The most important thing that can be done is treating all relationships with Indigenous Peoples as nation to nation relationships. This means that Indigenous Nations would have autonomy over their cultural resources and how they would like to ensure cultural continuity. In much the same way, racialized communities are the holders of their knowledge and culture and should be empowered through funding to make those decisions. I would also look to the BC Heritage Conservation Act and how aspects of it such as an arbitrary date for when an archaeological site or possession is protected by law which removes agency from the group impacted by its disturbance.
- Cheryl Wiens, BC Green Party, Langley East: I think the most important way would be to consult with Indigenous and racialized communities to ask them how they would best be served by the government in this unprecedented time.
- Kim Darwin, BC Green Party, Powell River Sunshine Coast: Fully acting to honour DRIPA.
- Bryn Smith, BC NDP, Surrey-White Rock: The main path the government can take is allowing heritage initiatives the funding and space they need to grow. We need heritage sites that highlight the histories of Indigenous peoples and racialized communities in BC, whose stories are often excluded from the narratives of our province.
- Adam Olsen, BC Green Party, Saanich North, and the Islands: As the MLA for Saanich North and the Islands I have advocated with the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development to modernize our relationship with sacred sites, human remains, and items of cultural significance. Sacred sites need to be protected from desecration. The provincial government needs to proactively work with local governments and landowners to ensure their protection. Many items from Nations in British Columbia are in museums around the world. These items need to be repatriated. The cost of repatriation is monetary and time. Repeating this process community by community and often item by item is inefficient and very expensive. I proposed that rather than small grants to each Nation in process, that the province and provincial museum create an office that can effectively coordinate with repatriation officials in international museums to ensure these items are returned and properly protected.
- Thomas Martin, BC Green Party, Kamloops North Thompson: Short term to get through the COVID pandemic – quickly retool the provincial grant program to focus on small operators; we need a separate granting program that focuses on not-for-profits, cultural facilities, and attractions.
- Kerri Wall, BC Green Party, Kootenay East: The provincial government can and should move forward with implementing their Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s Act (2019) and using it as a foundation for decision-making.
- Anne Kang, BC NDP, Burnaby-Deer Lake: As a candidate of Taiwanese descent, addressing our history of systemic racism and colonization is a priority to me. While I served as the former Minister of Multiculturalism, our government committed $1.9 million towards anti-racism efforts in our COVID-19 recovery, alongside the already allocated $300,000. If re-elected, the BC NDP has committed to building a first-of-its-kind South Asian-Canadian museum to document the history, art, and contributions of South Asian people in BC. We will also honour the stories of the more than 22,000 Japanese-Canadians placed in traumatic internment camps in libraries, communities, and at the BC Legislature — this documentation serves to not only remember and know their experiences but to ensure that we never repeat our mistakes of the past.
- Amelia Hill, BC NDP, West Vancouver Capilano: First off the government needs to continue forward aligned with UNDRIP. We need to invest in indigenous art, stories, and culture. We need to ensure that we teach the truth of colonization in our schools to ensure an understanding by all. We need to further invest in collaborations with the indigenous people. For racialized communities throughout BC, we need to see greater investment in resources and opportunities. That is to say investment in a celebration of culture, religion, identity, sexuality, and gender. We have so much to learn still and need to listen to.
- Asad Syed, BC Green Party, Surrey Newton: Provide equal opportunity on all level. Provide more financial support to less fortunate and underdeveloped communities. Recognize and protect Indigenous heritage. Give back provincially owned land to Indigenous communities. Recognize other visible minorities and give chance to them to express their culture and heritage. Provide financial support for their special cultural and religious needs.
- Jodi Murphy, BC Green Party, Surrey-Guildford: I’ve been inspired by the strong values and principles of the BC Green Party, whose “6 core principles” ALL reflect the need to both address the legacy of colonization and systemic racism and build meaningfully respectful and collaborative relationships with Indigenous and racialized communities in BC. The provincial government can support heritage initiatives by considering programs that shore up operations funding during times like this pandemic, and grant-type programs where ideas for heritage initiatives from the community can apply for funding or other supports.
- Norine Shim, BC Green Party, Burnaby: The provincial government can support such heritage initiatives by providing financial support for these communities in order to ensure they are equally represented in the Heritage and Culture landscape of the community – this should include support for existing heritage initiatives (e.g., the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre); researching and identifying other potentially significant places for racialized communities (e.g., related to early 1900’s Chinese Canadian farms along the Fraser River) in order to conserve and celebrate these places; and acknowledging the expansive definition of “heritage initiatives” to include the preservation of the natural heritage of the city (e.g., Burrard Inlet Marine Estuary, Burnaby Mountain, Burnaby Lake, Fraser River) which should be carried out in consultation with Indigenous people.
- Tariq Malik, BC Liberal Party: There should be no tolerance for racism. By spending tax dollars on the education of children/ adults we are raising overall awareness on these issues.
- Dr. Raymond Dong, BC Liberal Party, Burnaby North: Preserve language and culture. Celebrate history and build more education centers.
- Maayan Kreitzman, BC Green Party: Funding programs led by Indigenous communities and peoples to document their histories, continue with cultural practices, and develop living heritage activities.
- Kate O’Connor, BC Green Party: Education and childcare programs are vital to this process and they have been featured in our platform.
- Roly Russell, BC NDP, Boundary Similkameen: I’m proud to be part of a party that recognizes the role of humility and compassion in leadership. The BC NDP know that there is still more work to be done in this space, and we are committed to supporting initiatives by Indigenous and racialized communities in B.C. Reconciliation, equality and inclusion are key guiding principles of our party and a re-elected BC NDP government would continue to build on the work we started while in government that addresses the legacy of colonialism and systemic racism in BC and promotes cultural preservation and revitalization. We will extend our funding for key projects designed to preserve and respect Indigenous cultures – including the retention and revitalization of First Nations languages, putting additional languages into BC’s curriculum, and reflecting Indigenous peoples’ history and cultures in provincial parks and wilderness areas. Likewise, the BC NDP funded the Punjabi Legacy Project which celebrates the contributions of the Punjabi Canadian community in B.C. through the development of new educational supports, exhibits and online resources. Our government also provided $500,000 in grants to the BC Museums Association to support First Nation communities and organizations with repatriation projects, as part of our commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We are engaging with Indigenous peoples in B.C. to hear their views about how they would like the Royal BC Museum modernized and how the museum could most effectively tell the stories of B.C. communities and history.
- Chris Istace, BC Green Party, Nanaimo – North Cowichan: By consulting with First Nations and learning how they would like to preserve heritage. Funding language and culture revitalization programs to bring back culture that colonialism attempted to stamp out up until very recently.
Question 3a: Do you agree that heritage plays an important role in contributing to BC’s economy and vitality?
Question 3b: Briefly describe why you selected your choice
- BC NDP All Candidates: Agree.
- Scott Berstein, BC Green Party, Vancouver-Kingsway: Strongly agree. BC has a unique legacy and history that attracts tourism and has the potential to support local, sustainable business initiatives. We need to empower local communities to build economic activities that align with and promote our heritage.
- Evan Jolicoeur, BC Green Party, Mid Island Pacific Rim: Agree.
- Roxanne Helme, BC Liberal Party, Oak Bay Gordon Head: Strongly agree. Our heritage is the very fabric of community that makes us strong.
- Catharine Kendall, BC Green Party, Prince George-Mackenzie: Strongly agree. Our heritage shapes who we are and how we live within our communities.
- Harrison Johnston, BC Green Party, North Vancouver-Seymour: Strongly agree.
- Kelly Tatham, BC Green Party, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant: Strongly agree. The province is only as strong and beautiful as the people, past and present, who live here.
- Cheryl Wiens, BC Green Party, Langley East: Agree. If we do not remember and understand our history I believe we are doomed to repeat it.
- Kim Darwin, BC Green Party, Powell River Sunshine Coast: Agree.
- Bryn Smith, BC NDP, Surrey-White Rock: Strongly agree. Heritage both plays a role in economic contributions, and it brings vibrancy to our province.
- Adam Olsen, BC Green Party, Saanich North, and the Islands: Strongly agree. Understanding our collective journey to today helps us better understand and embrace the opportunities of the future, and it helps us better inform the decisions that we make.
- Thomas Martin, BC Green Party, Kamloops North Thompson: Strongly agree. We have a long and complex history. We have a lot to benefit from learning the full and complete history of our province-especially since it varies immensely by region.
- Kerri Wall, BC Green Party, Kootenay East: Strongly agree. Tourism, education, and community resiliency.
- Anne Kang, BC NDP, Burnaby-Deer Lake: Strongly agree. My riding of Burnaby-Deer Lake is one of the most diverse in our province, and I know that that diversity strengthens our community. When we understand and honour each others’ stories and heritage, we become closer. In a time of division stoked by the alt-right, this unity allows us to move forward as a community and ensure that we lift each other up.
- Amelia Hill, BC NDP, West Vancouver Capilano: Strongly agree.
- Asad Syed, BC Green Party, Surrey Newton: Agree. Bring tourists, scholars, and visitors help to boost the economy.
- Jodi Murphy, BC Green Party, Surrey-Guildford: Strongly agree. Although a young province and country by many standards, BC’s history is richly storied and includes thousands of years of pre-settler Indigenous history – vibrant, diverse groups across the province. These add to BC’s unique appeal and, from an economic standpoint, celebration of this acknowledging and celebrating our heritage (as appropriate) increase BC’s attractiveness as a visitor destination and increases the potential appeal of unique-to-BC wares and goods.
- Norine Shim, BC Green Party, Burnaby: Strongly agree. Heritage and Culture is at the heart of any community. It tells a story of where we’ve been and the journey we took, together, to get where we are today. If captured and preserved thoughtfully and justly, it can encourage a diversity of people to live, work and play in the community.
- Tariq Malik, BC Liberal Party: Agree. Our heritage helps groom our inclusiveness. And working all together helps revive communities and grows the economy.
- Dr. Raymond Dong, BC Liberal Party, Burnaby North: Strongly agree. Tourism, museums, unique ephemera and artifacts.
- Maayan Kreitzman, BC Green Party: Agree. Cultural and heritage-based institutions and programs are vital to people knowing who they are and feeling a sense of belonging and history. A good life for people includes embodying a connection to identity and place that the heritage sector can help foster, especially if it’s done in a way that recognizes historical and ongoing injustices. A strong economy for BC will always include understanding the many places where we come from and having the permission and ability to explore and honour our stories.
- Kate O’Connor, BC Green Party: Strongly agree. Our heritage is who we are and our heritage is something that we can learn from and move British Columbia forward in a strong and inclusive manner.
- Roly Russell, BC NDP, Boundary Similkameen: Agree. Our connections to cultural heritage are part of how we celebrate our past at the same time as learning how to carry ourselves forward. Our heritage plays a key role in our identity and thus our vitality.
- Chris Istace, BC Green Party, Nanaimo – North Cowichan: Agree.
Question 4: Looking at your community/riding, how will you support funding, policies, and appointments that encourages conservation and support the broader heritage sector?
- BC NDP All Candidates: In addition to the initiatives mentioned above we have also committed to: Building a new South Asian-Canadian museum: We’ll embark on a project to create a first of-its-kind museum to document the history, art and contributions of South Asian people in BC. Honouring the Japanese-Canadian community: We’ll provide lasting recognition of the traumatic internment of more than 22,000 Japanese-Canadians during World War II in libraries, communities and at the BC Legislature. Again, there is still more work to be done but the inclusion but we are committed to building on the work we started as a government to ensure that the culture and heritage sector can come back strong following the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Scott Berstein, BC Green Party, Vancouver-Kingsway: My riding has a rich mix of immigrants and European settlers with a strong sense of community and civic engagement. If elected, I would support community-based initiatives that promote our local heritage. This could mean grant programs as well as policies that favour local business that reflect our culture and heritage
- Evan Jolicoeur, BC Green Party, Mid Island Pacific Rim: Participating in events, bringing in private donors through support at fundraisers, advocating for increasing access to provincial and federal funds. How can we make sure that these sites/buildings are retrofitting to be more green – these buildings are a perfect example of a provincial and federal partnership to support upgrades to infrastructure.
- Roxanne Helme, BC Liberal Party, Oak Bay Gordon Head: I would actively promote policies that address conservation and waste. I would promote policy that ensures inclusiveness and take steps to ensure that our governing bodies reflect the cultural make up of our community.
- Catharine Kendall, BC Green Party, Prince George-Mackenzie: Provide local grants to enhance the sector and to meet local needs and desires. The local communities are the experts.
- Harrison Johnston, BC Green Party, North Vancouver-Seymour: I would consult with experts who have much more knowledge than me about our heritage sector and follow their lead.
- Kelly Tatham, BC Green Party, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant: In this riding, Chinatown is a prime example of what can be lost when heritage is not preserved. I will be talking with groups in the area as to how the province can best support this preservation, including the possibility of UNESCO world heritage designation.
- Cheryl Wiens, BC Green Party, Langley East: I would be interested in understanding how the BC Farm Museum, the Langley Centennial Museum, and the Fort Langley National Historic Site are faring through all of this and what help they might require. I know the Centennial Museum is still closed which is concerning.
- Kim Darwin, BC Green Party, Powell River Sunshine Coast: By listening to and acting in accordance with my community’s direction to actively promote funding, policies and appointments that encourage conservation and support of the heritage sector.
- Bryn Smith, BC NDP, Surrey-White Rock: I will keep an eye on local heritage sites, and for new heritage initiatives to support. Conservation will become crucial as our cities expand and develop.
- Adam Olsen, BC Green Party, Saanich North, and the Islands: We need to make sure the archaeology branch and local governments are working collaboratively and proactively with Indigenous and other community leaders to ensure that sacred sites and items of cultural significance are protected in a culturally approachable manner.
- Thomas Martin, BC Green Party, Kamloops North Thompson: Short term – we need to get through COVID. Long term – support for programs and places that teach/educate fully about our complex history.
- Kerri Wall, BC Green Party, Kootenay East: I will advocate for the heritage sector – which is growing here – to create collaborative plans and priorities, and help them access provincial funding.
- Anne Kang, BC NDP, Burnaby-Deer Lake: The Burnaby Village Museum, the Ismaili Centre, and the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre are wonderful resources for individuals to better understand our community and our stories. Our government has been able to provide funding to some of these valuable organizations through our Community Gaming Grant, and we hope to build on the work we’ve already been able to accomplish together. I will continue to advocate for funding to support the broader heritage sector in Burnaby.
- Amelia Hill, BC NDP, West Vancouver Capilano: There is a lot of history in West Vancouver Capilano. I would first like to see great collaboration with the indigenous peoples. I would like to see more art, historical plaques and information booths/stands showcasing the heritage of the region. I am aware that there are many groups existing in the region who focus on this area so I would like to work with them to see how we can celebrate what has been achieved in the riding and as well what is to come. I would like to see more diverse representation in groups educating individuals about the past stories of the riding. We all hold a different perspective and can learn from others. I would like to see more TAC investment allocated for West Vancouver Capilano.
- Asad Syed, BC Green Party, Surrey Newton: Yes – I will.
- Jodi Murphy, BC Green Party, Surrey-Guildford: My riding in Surrey includes people like myself who support the “new” (2018) Museum of Surrey, offering a fun, interesting and valuable glimpse into the history of people on this land we call Surrey. The thing I look forward to most about being an MLA is having the opportunity to bring concerns from my constituents to the Legislature and provide support or facilitation to constituents accessing provincial systems and programs. Getting input from constituents on various opportunities that encourage conservation and support the heritage sector will be invaluable to determining how I might act as MLA in these matters.
- Norine Shim, BC Green Party, Burnaby: Raising awareness for the conservation of historic places and buildings as a significant way to curb climate change; Advocating for provincial dollars to support strategic heritage preservation in Burnaby, including the preservation of the natural heritage of the city (e.g., Burrard Inlet, Fraser River, Burnaby Lake – with a particular focus on supporting the lands that protect and enhance the Burrard Inlet in Burnaby North (Capitol Hill Conservation Area and Confederation Park); and Support the identification of other archaeological and heritage sites, with an emphasis on sites that are of significance to Indigenous people and other racialized communities in Burnaby (e.g., Chinese Canadians, Japanese Canadians, and South Asians).
- Tariq Malik, BC Liberal Party: Having SFU in our riding, is only a win win, when it comes to educating and helping educate our youth. Its a very diverse and multicultural community, which thrives when they share their stories.
- Dr. Raymond Dong, BC Liberal Party, Burnaby North: Review and support initiatives that preserve our history. Collaborate constructively with indigenous peoples.
- Maayan Kreitzman, BC Green Party: I’d like to learn from the mapping project conducted by Celia Brauer and False Creek Watershed Society which brought together artists to envision the past and future of False Creek. As climate change will cause rising sea levels in this riding, an understanding of Indigenous and Colonial history and heritage, as well as ecology, will be important for developing just and culturally resonant coastal adaptation plans. The history of this area as a coastal wetland and mudflat, and the ways this ecosystem was used pre-industrially must inform how restoration of habitat and adaptation to sea level rise proceed. Integrating funding for engineered and natural solutions with the cultural and heritage work needed to inform these solutions will be important, drawing on Celia Brauer’s and Lee Maracle’s work.
- Kate O’Connor, BC Green Party: I would support these initiatives by fostering knowledge and growing awareness among young people in the schools.
- Roly Russell, BC NDP, Boundary Similkameen: I feel as though there will need to be attention given to supporting pandemic recovery for our heritage organisations. This might include helping such organisations pivot their service delivery models, where they want to do so, to allow for modernized ways to communicate and share the value of heritage to our communities. Operations such as the Grist Mill in Keremeous, for example, need to have a review of the balance of the financial risks and rewards to ensure their ongoing sustainability and ensure continued good management. Many or our museums and heritage sites are struggling, and operational costs continue to rise while revenues aren’t able to keep up; we need to revisit these operations to try to facilitate their sustainability. We are committed to building on the work we started as a government to ensure that the culture and heritage sector can come back strong following the COVID-19 pandemic.