Lawrence Chen knows he can’t compete with the relative financial might of Mayor Malcolm Brodie’s re-election campaign.
But that hasn’t stopped the former Richmond resident – who says he couldn’t afford to live here anymore – from throwing his hat into the city’s mayoral race.
Chen ran locally, and unsuccessfully, in the 2013 and 2017 provincial elections under the BC Conservative and New Republican Party banners respectively.
As part of his platform, the sports instructor and part-time realtor – who lives in South Surrey but works in Richmond – is continuing with his 2017 campaign pledge to rid politics of big money and donations.
“Compared with Malcolm Brodie's huge assets, I am just a poor man; I do not have a lot of money to spend on the campaign,” Chen told the Richmond News after dropping his election papers at city hall last week.
And referring to private parties to raise funds for election campaigns, Chen said that “big donations (are more than) a free dinner; big donations must result in big corruption.
“So, big donations being banned from politics is still my (focus).”
Despite leaving Richmond seven years ago, Chen claims he still has a lot of cultural connections in the city and knows what a lot of residents are thinking, given his roots of being born in Beijing, China.
“(Residents) have a language barrier; they need (to be able to communicate) with the mayor,” added Chen, who said that the maximum mayoral term should be two terms or eight years.
“This way, we can keep our government moving forward. Our government needs fresh blood, fresh air to guide our city forward.
“In the past, Richmond has had too many burglaries and car thefts. Residents have complained, but Malcolm Brodie did not pay any attention.”
Chen went on to question Brodie’s “energy” in being able to continue for another four years.
As well, Chen’s platform priorities include:
Improving community neighbourhood safety;
Improving Richmond hospital’s service;
Improving Richmond’s road and traffic network;
Protecting Richmond’s environment;
Creating more jobs for young people and newcomers;
Having a transparent government.
Before the 2017 B.C. election, Chen spoke of a “troubling trend in the Chinese community.”
“Some Chinese, they want to exchange benefits with the (BC) Liberals. So, they give money. I’m not like that. (Some) always think, ‘money, money, money.’ That’s why I want to change the law,” said Chen in April, 2017.
Back then, he described himself as a federal Conservative-leaning individual, who ran in the 2013 provincial election as a B.C. Conservative in the Richmond Centre riding, garnering 961 votes, or five per cent of the popular vote.
He said last year that subsequent leadership squabbles within the party led him to form a new party, dubbed the New Republican Party.
Chen told last year of his previous role as a BC Wildlife Federation CORE hunting safety instructor leading him to take issue with the BC NDP’s call to ban the grizzly bear hunt. He said the hunt can and should continue, when done legally.