The Burnaby NOW asked every candidate running for office in the Oct. 20 civic election to fill out a questionnaire. We hope this helps you make an informed decision at the ballot box.
Candidates were given strict word limits and a deadline to submit their answers. Those who missed the deadline will not have their questionnaires posted and answers exceeding word limits will be cut off.
Name: Helen Hee Soon Chang
Current occupation: Owner and researcher of Sejong Counselling and Communication Services
Tell us about yourself.
Before I was elected in 2005 as a school trustee in Burnaby, I was a new immigrant landed in 1983. While raising my children, I have kept taking courses for professional certificates. In 1997, I started a small business in Burnaby, providing professional services and helping new immigrants.
For the last ten years from 2010, I have been organizing Community forums, covering multicultural issues as well as doing victimology research works. With the help of Mr. Kennedy Stuart, I tabled in our Parliament a petition that requested that a Hate Statistics Act be implemented in Canada.
What are the top three issues in Burnaby right now and what would you do to fix them?
1. 1. Burnaby local government’s accountability
Our local government has serious accountability problems. There are loopholes in our system.
I will try to fix them to eliminate root causes of corruption and criminal negligence that are detrimental to social integrity and put citizens in danger.
2. Housing Problems
Our Mayor always points out that his local government has no jurisdiction in housing.
1. I will actively engage with and co-operate with the provincial and federal governments to improve the housing crisis.
2. I will initiate a workable project to provide Burnaby Citizens with affordable and sustainable housing facilities.
3. Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion project
Instead of wasting time and tax payers’ money by engaging in litigation where there is almost nil chance to win, I will co-operate with the federal and provincial governments and try to reflect the needs of our communities involved in this project to reach a most reasonable solution for everyone in Burnaby.
If you have run for office before, what have you learned? If you have not, why are you running now?
I have learned that if you decide to run for office, you have to be prepared for all kinds of possible consequences you never thought of. It was also a process of constant learning that I have to deal with proactively, investing a lot of time and effort to find out what has been going on beneath the surface. Furthermore, it made me focus on what has to be done to better the status quo.
What is one achievement and one failure of Burnaby council in the last four years?
One achievement of Burnaby council is the planning of four town centers.
One failure is the whole process of dealing with the Kinder Morgan Expansion project.
Instead of proactively engaging with other jurisdictions and higher level of governments, and dealing with concerns of Burnaby residents and the First Nations people and other stakeholders in order to reach a workable solution, the council wasted time and taxpayers’ money by filing legal suits. Recently, Mayor Corrigan admitted he already knew there was almost nil possibility to win the cases and said that the legal counsel of the City also advised him so.
What would make you a good councillor/mayor?
I was trained to listen to people, analyze their problems and help them find a workable solution.
For the last 20 years, I’ve been working for myself, our community and people who cannot defend themselves due to systematic corruption and discrimination. I believe this will make me a good mayor. (50)
What movie is most relevant to your life and why?
“Few Good men”
Demi and Tom tried to find out what happened to the murder victim and finally revealed the truth. Even if it was a fiction, its message is relevant to me because I have been doing similar works that might help victims who cannot defend themselves.
How can voters reach you?
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org