With Canadians heading to the polls on Sept. 20, 2021, the NOW has sent Q&As to each candidate listed in Burnaby South and Burnaby North-Seymour.
The same Q&A has been sent to each candidate and answers have not been changed or altered.
BURNABY NORTH-SEYMOUR - TERRY BEECH - LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA
Question: What are your thoughts on the TMX pipeline project? Should it go ahead? Why or why not?
Answer: When I first got into federal politics, I didn’t expect a single project to take up so much bandwidth. In my first term I received 47,000 pieces of correspondence on the project. That’s more than 30 pieces a day for 4 years. I said that I would be a voice for our community in Ottawa and not the other way around, so immediately after getting elected in 2015 I got to work. Much of this work is documented here: http://terrybeech.ca/transmountain/
I read every document submitted to the National Energy Board Hearings and attended some of our constituents’ sessions to hear their submissions. When the Ministerial Panel started its official process I attended all full day sessions in Burnaby, and a few in the interior. I held townhalls on the project and on the underlying issues, namely climate change, ocean protection and the tank farm on Burnaby Mountain. I read through thousands of surveys from within our community and all correspondence received until the date of the local hearings, I then published and presented our community’s report to the Ministerial panel. That report is my best effort to substantially reflect the views and values of our community. In that document I stated that, “After speaking with tens of thousands of individuals, including local, provincial and indigenous representatives, I can tell you with confidence that the people of Burnaby North - Seymour on balance stand opposed to this project…” I wanted to acknowledge that while many in our community were in support, that if this project were to come to a vote, that I would vote with our community and not with our government. In June of 2017, the project did come to a vote and I voted against.
The vote was 252 to 52 in favour. In fact the majority of MPs along the pipeline route voted for the project, with only four coastal MPs voting against, and only two of us remain in parliament. I say this because the reality is that this project is very likely to go ahead. In the 2019 election, Jagmeet Singh would not commit to cancelling the project, and he has held the same position through holding the balance of power in the minority government and through this election as well.
During my six years as your MP, I have probably been the most protested parliamentarian in the country. We had three different permanent sites set up on Burnaby Mountain, more recently a tree occupation near North Road and frequent visits to my office. I visited all sites regularly and spoke to every protester that visited my office as long as I wasn’t in Ottawa. I received thousands of pages of documentation from these groups and I distributed hundreds of pages of information to ensure everyone was sticking to the facts. I am now in a position where I can identify the majority of protestors by first name. I say all of this because I want our community to understand that I don’t back down from big issues or from controversy. I believe it is my job to show up and work especially when individuals are upset with the direction of our government. It is the best opportunity to find ways to improve and to do better.
I then turned my attention to trying to address the underlying concerns that were raised by the majority of our concerned friends and neighbours.
On climate change, I lobbied our government to increase our ambition and become a global leader in the fight. This led to the publication and implementation of a world class climate plan which is detailed in this document titled, “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy.” This 79 page plan outlines, sector by sector, how we will invest the more than one hundred billion dollars we have committed to the fight and how we will not just meet but exceed our climate targets. When compared to the NDP’s 5-page plan that contains about a dozen bullet points, it shows, with devastating contrast, that despite their bluster, the NDP is not taking climate change seriously. The experts agree with this analysis. Dr. Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist and previous leader of the BC Green Party has stated that the Liberal Climate Plan is the “...only credible plan put forward by any party at the federal level.” Mark Jaccard, a Professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University agrees. In his assessment, which is available here, he says the Liberal plan is “...the least costly,” and the “most effective,” giving the plan a score of 8/10. The NDP plan is billed as “...extremely costly” and “largely ineffective” giving the plan a score of 2/10. The Conservative plan scores better than the NDP plan, but fails to meet the required IPCC targets and does not live up to our Paris commitments. If climate change is a ballot box issue for you, and it should be, you should vote Liberal on September 20th.
The second underlying issue I focussed on was ocean protection. Similar to climate change, the state of our oceans requires urgent and immediate action. We created the $1.5 billion Ocean’s Protection Plan and invested in marine response and the Canadian Coast Guard. Huge areas of the BC coastline that were previously unprotected are now covered thanks to these investments. With regards to biomass, we have aggressively moved to meet our sustainable development goals of protecting 25% of our oceans as Marine Protected Areas by 2025. In 2015, less than 1% of Canada’s oceans were protected, today we are at 14%. In addition we have launched an endangered whales strategy to protect and restore our Southern Resident Killer Whale population and have made historic commitments to returning wild salmon to traditional levels of abundance. In addition, we have an aggressive strategy to end plastic pollution, which is necessary because if we leave things as they currently are, plastic will outweigh all biomass in the ocean within a single generation. My work in these fields have been direct and significant and garnered an endorsement from GreenPAC as one of 36 environmental leaders in Canada. As Parliamentary Secretary to Transport, I helped pass changes to the Ocean’s Act, restored protections to the Fisheries Act and enacted an oil tanker moratorium off of the North West coast of BC. The Conservatives have promised to lift this moratorium and try to restart building a new pipeline through the Great Bear Rainforest to the central coast of BC.
Finally I focused on working with local firefighters to improve safety on Burnaby Mountain. Three years ago Chief Chris Bowcock and representatives of the Burnaby Fire Department approached me with a plan to invest in emergency response directly on the mountain. In June of 2019, I along with Mayor Hurley and the Prime Minister met with the firefighters and procured a promise that we would invest in a world class response on Burnaby Mountain. I defined that as making Burnaby Mountain safer than it has been for the previous 50 years. In 2021, I along with Mayor Hurley and the firefighters announced $30M in funding to build a new fire station on Burnaby Mountain and to procure appropriate equipment. I have been fortunate to be the first Member of Parliament to be endorsed by the Burnaby Firefighters in more than 25 years.
I continue to work on this project on a daily basis. I have met neighbours in their homes to discuss complaints with regards to construction noise, lighting and to follow up on any concerns that have arisen. My largest frustration is to hear my political opponents, year after year, speak to the media about all the work that should be done with regards to this project. Yet, when the decision was being made, only Elizabeth May and myself stood up to represent our communities to the Ministerial panel. Decisions are made by those who show up, and I will always show up for the people of Burnaby North - Seymour.
Question: What are your views on a snap election being called two years since 2019 and during the start of a 4th COVID-19 wave in Canada?
Answer: To start, every major party in this election has voted for a motion of non-confidence in government over the last year. That is the same as voting for an election. We have had 14 minority governments in Canada’s history and the current one is the fifth longest. We were barely able to pass the last round of COVID-19 pandemic support on the last sitting day in parliament while other important legislation had been obstructed by opposition parties. There were many who thought the government might fall earlier this year, but we were adamant that we needed to make sure that every Canadian had an opportunity to be fully vaccinated prior to an election being called.
There is also an obvious divergence in how we think Canada should navigate its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the path that the official opposition believes is right. Our path is based on the best science and evidence available, whereas the Conservative plan is modeled off of Alberta’s response led by Premier Jason Kenney. Just today, faced with the imminent collapse of Alberta’s healthcare system, Premier Kenney has, to the relief of all Canadians, reversed his course and apologized for his mistake. Sadly this error has cost the lives of many Albertans. It is unfortunate that the Conservative Party of Canada continues to develop policy based on ideological arguments instead of scientific ones. If Erin O’toole becomes Prime Minister, we can only hope that he, like Premier Kenney, will change his current position.
We remember that before the pandemic, the Canadian economy was the envy of the world. Our plan to invest in the middle class was working. Debt servicing costs had been reduced to 100 year lows and poverty had been reduced to all time historic lows. We were able to invest in infrastructure and created more than a million jobs. This grew our economy and allowed us to make aggressive investments in Canada’s first National Housing Strategy, in addressing Indigenous Reconciliation and in fighting climate change and protecting the environment.
This is a stark contrast to the economic policies of the previous Conservative government. The last two Conservative governments, led by Harper and Mulroney, accounted for more than 75% of all debt accumulated during our first 150 years as a country. The Conservative fiscal playbook is both standard and outdated. They cut taxes for the wealthiest Canadians and cut services for everyone else, this slows our economic growth and hurts all Canadians. In 2009, the Conservative approach to the recession slowed our economic recovery and labour market participation didn’t fully recover until 2019. We didn’t want to wait ten year for our economy to recover, so we made the decision to use our strong fiscal position to pay for the costs of the pandemic so businesses, households and nonprofits didn’t have to take on the debt personally. Our actions saved tens of thousands of companies, untold billions of dollars in value and millions of jobs. Our strategy focused on the health of Canadians and this approach has worked. While the United States has only recovered 75% of their pre-pandemic employment levels, Canada has recovered 93% and BC is over 100%. We are literally leading Canada’s economic recovery.
We can not incur these costs forever however and more stringent measures are required to end the pandemic and return to our strong fiscal position. This is the decision and the direction that is being presented to Canadians in this election and it is potentially the most significant decision we will collectively make as Canadians for an entire generation.
Question: What are your views on climate change? What will you/your party do to address the worsening situation?
Answer: I believe I addressed climate change substantially in my first answer but I am happy to expand on the subject here. Many Canadians have heard of the “Green New Deal” that is being pitched in the United States, what many Canadians do not realize is that the majority of that package is actually based on contemporary Canadian climate policy. We should be proud of this. Our ambitious climate plan titled, “A Healthy Economy and a Healthy Environment,” is an ambitious and world leading plan that both grows our economy in a sustainable way while exceeding our climate change targets.
Did you know that you can now drive an electric vehicle from Prince Edward Island to Vancouver Island? Three years ago that wasn’t possible. The reason it is possible today is because the federal government invested in more than 10,000 electric charging stations and will invest in 50,000 more over the course of our next mandate.
We have an innovative combination of programs that include home retrofits. As an example, you can receive a $5,000 rebate for installing solar panels where you live and you can make use of a ten-year interest-free loan of up to $40,000 to pay the upfront costs. For many Canadians, the cost of the loan will be recovered by the energy savings accrued over that ten year period. This is especially true since gas powered cars will no longer be available for sale by 2035. This program is a win-win-win because it will create thousands of jobs, it saves you money and it saves the planet. It also lessens the future demand for large scale energy projects like the Site-C dam. This is what a green transition looks like and it is already underway.
I have been personally endorsed by Dr. Andrew Weaver for my work on this file. He stated, “As someone who spent my life working in the area of climate science, solutions and policy, I know how critical it is that we have thoughtful people like Terry in Ottawa. He works hard and he works smart and I hope the people of Burnaby and North Vancouver can support him in continuing his important work.”
I am also one of 36 candidates endorsed by GreenPAC. This is significant because GreenPAC is a non-partisan group that endorses environmental leaders in every party. They make their endorsements not based on promises but on delivering results. I had very little environmental experience prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, but have done enough over the last six years to be specifically singled out from a group of more than a thousand candidates.
If you want more examples of exactly what our government has done in the last six years I suggest you read my quarterly report on the subject of the Environment and Climate Change which is available here. The 11-page report covers much of our initiatives over the last six years and I would refer you to our platform at Liberal.ca/climate for the rest.
Question: What do you currently think of the federal government’s COVID-19 response?
Answer: Our response has been based on science and evidence and has adapted continuously based on the best information available. In fact, I believe we have witnessed potentially the most entrepreneurial and adaptive government and cabinet in the history of our country.
I flew home from Ottawa on Friday the 13 in March of 2020. For the next 172 days I would run our community’s COVID-19 response alone in my office with my team working from their kitchens and living rooms. My first job was to get our friends and family back to Canada. We had school groups trapped in Peru, we had seniors stuck on cruises, church organizations in Africa and family members in India. We held daily caucus briefings where Liberal MPs from across Canada could report on the impacts of the pandemic in our communities. I spent so much time alone during those first six months that I set up a work-out station in the back of our constituency office.
After the majority of our community members were safe, the focus of our attention turned to getting Canadians, businesses and nonprofits the resources they needed to survive. We rolled out more than 75 programs in those first six months ensuring that our most vulnerable Canadians had the support they needed and that our businesses could remain whole. We expanded those supports to nonprofits so organizations like the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation in North Burnaby could continue to provide their valuable services to families throughout British Columbia.
We transitioned the emergency response benefit to an extended EI program so that we had checks and balances and could ensure that those people who could work discontinued their emergency benefits. More recently we’ve transitioned to the hiring benefit to ensure that employers can attract employees and bring the Canadian economy roaring back. Our programs touched every corner of the Canadian economy. One in three people living in Burnaby North - Seymour benefitted from programs like the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. The economic devastation that our country would have faced without these supports would have scarred our economy for years into the future and potentially for a generation.
Instead, we are poised to make an exceptionally strong recovery and are optimistic about opportunities that are available to Canada moving forward. Disruptions in global supply chains present interesting opportunities for Canada’s exporters and domestic manufacturers. Our focus on procuring enough vaccines so every Canadian can be fully vaccinated is at the core of this strategy. I will remind everyone that we signed deals for all seven vaccines prior to knowing which ones would be effective. We were fortunate that Moderna and Pfizer were the first two deals that we signed, granting Canadians access before the majority of the rest of the world. We must now focus on finishing the fight against COVID-19 and returning to a more normal economic state in Canada.
While we have stated that we will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to protect Canadian families and businesses, we can not afford to continue these supports forever. We must follow the guidelines of our health officials and scientists in order to minimize any further economic impact from this pandemic. We are fortunate that we entered this pandemic in such a strong fiscal position and with the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7. Every country has had to spend, and it appears that we will enter the recovery with a similar advantageous fiscal position. We are doing this while introducing big programs like child care, pharmacare and investments in reconciliation. These are big investments, but we know that for every dollar we invest in child care, the economy gains $3. We also know that investments in pharmacare will pay for themselves as it increases productivity, and lowers an individual's long term health costs when they are treated with the correct medication immediately. I was very excited to see us sign our first pharmacare agreement with Prince Edward Island and it is my hope that an agreement with BC will be among the next to be made.
Overall the pandemic response has not been perfect, but there is no other country I would rather be in during this unprecedented time. There is still much work to do, especially for those Canadians who continue to suffer from long COVID-19. I have met many of these individuals during this election and am resolute to support them and their families. I am very appreciative of the work of government officials from across the country. Our nation is among the most educated and talented in the world, and when we all pull together there is nothing we can’t accomplish. We owe it to our front line workers, our nurses and our doctors to finish this fight and to turn to a recovery as quickly as possible.
Question: What will you and your party do to address the housing situation, especially in the Metro Vancouver area?
Answer: In answering this question it is important for Canadians to understand the economic pressures that have led to our current circumstance, especially within Metro Vancouver. First, the federal government has been substantially absent from housing in Canada for almost 30 years, meaning that we have incurred a significant infrastructure deficit.
In Vancouver we are a coastal city and Vancouver is the end of the line, not the center. This means 50% of our land base is blocked by ocean, we have mountains in the north and in the east and the US border to our south. Since 1994 the supply of single family homes has decreased every single year. Simply put, we are extremely constrained when it comes to land for residential use, this means we need to be more efficient about using the land that we have.
In addition, interest rates are at all time lows, and quantitative easing is at all time highs. Interest rates are like gravity for housing prices. Before the pandemic, when the economy was heating up and interest rates started to rise, housing prices had actually declined somewhat.
To address housing affordability we developed Canada’s $72B National Housing Strategy. In fact, most parties now support some form of a housing strategy, which is a good thing, and I’m proud that we moved the needle on this issue. We also invested in the infrastructure around housing which includes investments in wastewater treatment, public transit, a new seabus and new skytrain lines. These investments give us more flexibility to create more regional centers and utilize housing dollars more effectively.
Our 2021 platform contains three primary elements.
- The first is to build more supply. We are promising to construct 1.4 million homes in the next four years.
- The second is to taper demand. We will do this primarily by disincentivizing the use of housing as an investment asset and instead primarily focus on housing as a place to live. It is important that families can stay in the same community and that people can live close to where they work.
- Third we will build pathways to home ownership and enable renters to more easily get into a starter home.
We have a 30 point plan to address this and the details are available at Liberal.ca/housing.
Generation Squeeze, a think tank out of UBC has analyzed every party’s platform and given each housing strategy a score based on the goal of every Canadian having an affordable place to live by 2030. There analysis is available here:
- The Liberal Plan scored a 6.6
- The Green Plan scored a 3.75
- The NDP Plan scored a 3.4
- The Conservative plan scored a 2.5
Here are some highlights of the Liberal Plan:
- We will create a rent to own program.
- We will create a tax free savings account for first time homebuyers up to $40,000 to help save for a down payment.
- We will create the Canada Financial Crimes Agency to prevent criminal activity such as money laundering in the housing market.
- We will create a public registry to collect better data to guide our decision making.
- We will ban blind bidding and renovictions.
- We will end chronic homelessness
- We will curb unproductive foreign ownership
- We will give cities new tools to speed up construction.
In Burnaby we have seven sites where we are working with the city to build thousands of new units. What is more exciting is that we are building a permanent and funding protocol that would allow cities to incorporate CMHC funding in every new development they approve if they choose to do so. This would effectively allow municipalities to “print” as much affordable housing as their community needs. It is not unreasonable to think that every new high density residential development should contain an appropriate mix of affordable units and rentals.
I have worked as a city councillor, a real estate developer and as a member of parliament. This has given me a unique view in which I understand the constraints faced by municipalities, private developers and the federal government. I think I can continue to play a strong role in advancing a national housing strategy that works for everyone.
Question: Why should voters vote for you? What would you say to those undecided and debating not voting at all?
Answer: As I stated in a previous answer, decisions are made by those who show up. Decisions made today will have a tremendous impact on the world my two daughters will grow up in. It is crucial that you take the time on September 20th to get to a ballot box and cast a vote for the future Canada you would like to see.
Why should you vote for me? I have had the honour of serving you for the past six years and I believe I have done so honourably and with substantial results. Two years ago I was named Parliamentarian of the Year for Civic Outreach and I have maintained the highest customer service rating of any MP office in all of BC. I work hard and have developed a reputation to work with leaders in all parties and at all levels of government in order to deliver results.
Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley has said, “As an independent Mayor it has been refreshing to see Terry’s willingness to put aside party politics and work on behalf of the people he represents. Terry follows up his words with meaningful actions and I look forward to continuing to work with him.”
Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow has endorsed me stating, “Terry has shown determination to walk the path of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples… I encourage people in Burnaby and North Vancouver to vote for him.”
I have received the first endorsement for an MP from the Burnaby firefighters in over 25 years and have received an endorsement from the District of North Vancouver Firefighters for a third time. I have received additional endorsements from district councillor Jordan Back, previous BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver, and numerous business, academic and political leaders in our community.
I have received these endorsements for projects that I have delivered in our community. You can read about more than 100 of these projects in my “Most Impactful Investments” quarterly report which is available here.
Here are some highlights of accomplishments delivered in the last six years:
- Funded a pedestrian overpass between Burnaby Lake and Deer Lake.
- Funded a firehall on Burnaby Mountain.
- Funded a National Housing Strategy including seven building sites in Burnaby and new affordable rentals.
- Funded a world class climate strategy.
- Took more action on indigenous reconciliation than any government before us including $18B in Budget 2021 and have lifted all long-term boil water advisories in BC.
- As Parliamentary Secretary to Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard:
- We delivered a $647 million historic investment to protect and restore wild salmon.
- We created an indigenous-led coast guard service.
- We introduced new protections into the Fisheries Act and modernized the Oceans Act.
- We created a comprehensive strategy to protect our endangered whales including our Southern Resident Killer Whales.
- We increased Marine Protected Areas from less than 1% to more than 14% of our oceans.
- As Parliamentary secretary to Transport:
- We legislated an oil tanker ban on BC’s northwest coast.
- We implemented abandoned and hazardous vessel legislation.
- We invested in our national trade corridor fund.
- We regulated shipping to protect our Southern Resident Killer Whales and our Northern Atlantic Right Whales.
- As Parliamentary Secretary to Economic Development in BC:
- We created PacifiCan - a new economic development agency that, unlike Western Diversification, gets to create BC specific programs and gets funding similar to our Ontario and Quebec counterparts. I am particularly proud of this, as I drafted the resolution for this initiative when I served as Caucus Chair for the Pacific Caucus.
- We funded hard hit sectors like tourism and indigenous entrepreneurship.
- As Parliamentary Secretary to Science:
- We delivered the largest science budget in Canadian history, unmuzzled scientists and banned the use of asbestos.
- Climate Change and the Environment
- Strengthening the Economy
- Working for Seniors
- The National Housing Strategy
- Reconciliation; and
- Our Most Impactful Investments.
These are not party materials, but reports that I write personally to keep you informed of how my work is impacting Burnaby and North Vancouver.
Finally, I will close with an issue that is not raised too often, but demonstrates a point. I’d like to talk about cruelty towards animals. In the 2019 election I knocked on a door in North Vancouver and the person who answered asked what I was doing to protect elephants. I didn’t really know much about the subject, but I promised that if she voted for me, I would look into the issue of the ivory trade and help her advocate her position. Similarly, a neighbour that lives on Dollarton had serious concerns about horses in Canada being exported for slaughter. I didn’t know much about the issue but promised to look into it. Both of those issues are now in our 2021 platform on page 51. No matter what the issue is, I take what’s important to our constituents seriously and I always follow up.
Every single constituent who has requested a face to face meeting in the last six years has received one, and while I haven’t been able to help everyone in every case, I can assure you that we always do our best.
If you have taken the time to diligently read this entire submission I thank you for your time and your interest. Politics and politicians are too often boiled down to bumper sticker slogans. I hope my answers to these questions have demonstrated that I take my job extremely seriously and that I can be a valuable asset to you and your family. Most members of our community don’t need to deal directly with their MP, but when they do, it’s usually important and they want to trust that their representative will step up and work hard for them. If you trust me with your vote, I will work every day to improve our community and our country for you and your family. I have the track record to back up that promise and I hope that I’ve earned your support for a third term.