The riding, which includes the Downtown Eastside, Chinatown, Strathcona and Grandview-Woodland neighbourhoods, is known for its working class roots.
Voters have, apart from two brief flirtations with the Liberal party, elected NDP candidates every election since the party was founded back in 1961.
Deputy NDP leader Libby Davies, who held the seat from 1997 to 2015, chose to retire prior to the last election cycle, passing the torch to former NDP MLA Jenny Kwan who won handily. The riding is bound to the west by Main Street, Boundary Avenue to the east, 16th Avenue to south and the ocean to the north.
Here’s who’s running:
Peter Marcus has never met a ballot he didn’t like. A retired health care worker and poet, Marcus has run several times for virtually every level of political office. He centres his campaign around income disparity in the Downtown Eastside, which he refers to as a byproduct of “the capitalist economic crisis.” His platform calls for improvements to social and health services, better transit and instituting living wage union jobs. Marcus’s platform is not costed, nor does he say how he would implement those changes or improvements.
Chris Corsetti’s career arc has seen the lifelong Vancouverite work across the legal, financial and securities sectors. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Simon Fraser University along with a Juris Doctor degree from Bond University in Australia. A father of two, Corsetti has been a member of the Law Society of British Columbia since 2012. His website contains no specifics around his platform other than to “advocate for putting issues that affect families first.”
Bridget Burns was born and raised in East Vancouver, where she’s a business owner, server and bartender. Her charitable and volunteer work includes stints with a Downtown Eastside women’s shelter, the Union Gospel Mission, Boys and Girls Club and WISH Drop-in Centre Society. On the housing front, Burns pledges working towards 25,000 new builds, 15,000 rehabilitated homes every year, co-op housing and rental assistance and tax incentives for purpose-built rental housing. Burns also stands for decriminalizing drug possession in small amounts as well as a government-funded safe drug supply.
Rookie candidate Kyle Demes has built a lengthy career in research and research administration, specifically in the areas of ecology and marine biology. Demes holds a PhD in zoology from UBC, where he previously worked as a teaching assistant and research advisor. Demes is now a director at SFU, where he leads a team in the development of large-scale research initiatives. His campaign promises include extending the Broadway subway out to UBC, creating a national speculation and vacancy tax for non-resident, non-Canadians and expanding the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive. Along with his partner Aaron, Demes lives in East Vancouver.
Anne Jamieson, a retired nurse with a PhD is sociology, has been with the party since its inception in 1971. She earned 190 votes in the 2015 election and 318 votes in 2011.
Jenny Kwan is a career politician. She moved to Canada from Hong Kong as a child and, at age 26, became the youngest person in Vancouver history to be elected to city council. In 1996, she became one of the first Chinese-Canadians to sit in the provincial legislature. After nearly 20 years as the NDP MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, Kwan easily won the Vancouver East seat in 2015 by more than 8,600 votes. Kwan has also drawn controversy for playing a key role in the ousting of Carole James as provincial NDP party leader in 2010 and for an expense scandal in 2014 over her ex-husband Dan Small having billed the non-profit Portland Hotel Society for a family trip to Disneyland.
The tenets at the top of Karin Litzcke’s website include: individual freedom, personal responsibility, fairness and respect. It continues on to state that “Canadian culture is worth defending” and that the People’s Party has no place for pandering or political correctness. As for her platform locally, Litzcke believes citizens should be able to sue local and provincial governments for not living up to housing promises. She also believes in decreasing immigration to reduce housing demand. Litzcke’s professional background includes stints as a writer and a dietician and she holds a bachelor of home economics degree from UBC along with an MBA from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario.
Gölök Buday’s quest for public office is now well into its second decade. His last foray into the political sphere came in October 2018, when he finished 20th out of 21 mayoral candidates. Buday’s Linkedin profile suggests he’s a game developer, comedian, illustrator, graphic artist, director and writer. Buday’s platform includes the following: taking down the central banking system, zero taxes on working people, disbanding CSIS, the CBC and the CRTC, and repealing local rapid transit funding.