Sasha Ramnarine is the Liberal Party of Canada candidate for New Westminster-Burnaby, hoping to represent us all on a federal level, and he answered my questions to the Member of Parliament candidates.
And remember, the questions (and probably answers) are satire, so if you take them out of context, bad things will happen.
Also, thank you very much Mr. Ramnarine for answering my questions!
The City of New Westminster used to be represented federally by two Members of Parliament (Peter Julian for Burnaby-New Westminster and Fin Donnelly for New Westminster-Coquitlam). Now that New West is only going to have one MP, what will you do to ensure your voice is at least twice as loud as everybody else?
Sasha Ramnarine: I live in New Westminster and I am deeply committed to ensuring the issues of the riding are addressed in Ottawa. I represent the middle class. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. Since the age of nine working in my family’s restaurant, I have worked hard to ensure that I could pay for my education. I worked close to 50 hours a week through university to ensure I get the quality education that I wanted. I’m passionate about my community and social justice, and have worked and advocated for drinking water rights for First Nations, youth on the Downtown Eastside and mentoring new immigrants to Canada. I represent the challenges and opportunities for middle class Canadians, particularly those in our riding. This is the kind of perseverance and passion I will take to Ottawa as Member of Parliament for New Westminster-Burnaby if elected.
As everybody in New Westminster knows, we have an abundance of Save-On-Foods grocery stores, a situation created by the Competition Bureau. As the Competition Bureau is a federal intitution, what will you do as New Westminster’s federal representative to eliminate all non-Save-On-Foods stores in New West?
Sasha Ramnarine: I will always consult with local residents to ensure what is best for our community. If that means supporting our local small businesses, for example, I will use my strong experience as an entrepreneur, small business lawyer, and chair for the Small Business Council events committee to support and help grow our local small businesses.
Over the past few years we have seen two high-profile protests related to federal projects on New Westminster’s borders: the expansion of Fraser Surrey Docks to ship coal and the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Neither of these projects actually happen in New Westminster, which leads me to my question: which controversial federal project will you bring to New Westminster so we can have our own home-grown protests?
Sasha Ramnarine: The lack of infrastructure investments and lack of partnership by the current Federal Government to our local municipalities.
I have a plan to work with the provincial government and municipalities to make bold infrastructure investments for road improvements, replacement of the Pattullo Bridge, more buses, increased Skytrain service and more cycling infrastructure.
Assuming your party forms the government, what will you do to bring the Prime Minster to New Westminister?
Sasha Ramnarine: If elected, I will ensure that Prime Minister Trudeau visits New Westminster as soon as possible. The best time would be when infrastructure projects are announced for our riding. I will also take him to a few local businesses where I enjoy awesome food!
How much money will your party pledge to replace the Pattullo Bridge, knowing full well that we just had a referendum (sorry, non-binding plebescite) where we rejected a tax increase that would supply the municipalities’ third of the pot and any promised federal money wouldn’t get spent anyhow? Three hundred million dollars? Five hundred million dollars? ELEVENTY TRILLION DOLLARS???
Sasha Ramnarine: We will boost investment in public transportation projects by nearly $6 billion over the next four years, and almost $20 billion over ten years. Our funding will be flexible to the requirements of New Westminster and Burnaby, and surrounding areas, in order to maximize the number of better public transit projects, and better roads. Federal funding will no longer be a roadblock to action to building the Pattulo Bridge and implementing other projects.