Kerry Starchuk is afraid her hometown is coming apart because of a widening cultural and economic divide.
For eight years, she has campaigned for English language on signs in Richmond, where more than 60% of residents are ethnic Chinese. She is also behind a petition to the House of Commons seeking an end to birth tourism.
She felt she was being ignored by city council, so she decided to run in the Oct. 20 civic election. Knocking on doors, waving signs and appearing at all-candidates meetings became her life for a month.
“I actually took it to the next level so the politicians at city hall were going to take me more seriously,” said Starchuk in an interview with host Bob Mackin on this week’s edition of theBreaker.news Podcast.
Starchuk didn’t win, but she did get the issues that she cares about discussed by candidates of all stripes at all-candidates meetings. She ended up with the support of almost 7,000 voters.
“I encourage other people to get involved. We had 30 people that ran for city council, that’s a lot. And if all those 30 people meet outside… and we form some citizen group and then empower those people to be part of the solutions. If we’re just going to rely on the eight people [on city council], it might not be enough for Richmond.”
Listen to the full interview with Starchuk. Also, hear Chinese community activist Meena Wong’s thoughts on the low voter turnout. Elections across the province averaged a 36% participation rate.
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