Richmond North Centre candidates took part in a virtual Zoom debate Friday afternoon, ahead of the Oct. 24 provincial election.
Teresa Wat (BC Liberals) and Vernon Wang (BC Greens) discussed mental health; the Massey Tunnel; and restarting the economy; in addition to readers' questions on anti-Asian racism; strata insurance premiums; and birth tourism
Speaking to mental health, Wang said the BC Greens have pledged $1 billion toward mental-health services over the next four years.
He also spoke to the on-going overdose crisis.
“(That’s) another crisis in mental health. We do not criminalize the people suffering the addiction,” said Wang.
“We will invest in…safe supply and harm reduction education for those suffering addiction.”
Wat said the government needs to do more to educate around issues of mental health.
“I have to say that, in the ethnic community, people still see mental health as a stigma.”
On the issue of birth tourism, Wat said she would reach out to her federal counterparts if re-elected.
“This responsibility falls on the back of the federal government. Only if they change the legislation, can we stop this birth tourism practise from prospering in Richmond,” she said.
Wang agreed that birth tourism falls under federal authority; however, “for the (provincial) government, I think we should set the priority.”
BC NDP candidate Jaeden Dela Torre was unable to participate in the debate as he had another event to attend.
Richmond North Centre was created in 2017, when Richmond Centre and Richmond East were redistributed. However, regardless of the riding’s name, it has been a BC Liberal seat since 1991.