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  • Know your candidate: Rozina Jaffer, New Westminster-Burnaby

Know your candidate: Rozina Jaffer, New Westminster-Burnaby

In the lead up to Canada’s federal election, the Beacon is conducting interviews with candidates affiliated with the 4 major parties in Burnaby’s 3 ridings (Burnaby North-Seymour, Burnaby South, and New Westminster-Burnaby).

We asked each candidate for a virtual sit-down interview, followed by a short segment recorded on video. Not all candidates were available to appear on video or agreed to do so. The Beacon will post the segments with the candidates who did appear on video on our social media channels.

Candidate: Rozina Jaffer – Liberal Party of CanadaRiding: New Westminster-Burnaby (read more about the riding here)

Note: Jaffer declined our request to be on video.

Rozina Jaffer, the Liberal candidate for New Westminster-Burnaby, says she has a lot to offer if she is elected as MP.

Jaffer is going up against NDP incumbent Peter Julian, who has represented the region since 2004. In an interview with the Beacon, Jaffer said she feels that people “have to be given an alternative.”

“I offer a fresh perspective, a new vision. … So I guess that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing and why I’m challenging [Julian] in this riding,” she said.

Trans Mountain Pipeline

The Beacon asked Jaffer her stance on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project on Burnaby Mountain, which was bought by the federal Liberal party in 2018.

Jaffer said that was a “loaded question.”

“Now I’m going to leave the pipeline issue for a moment. … I’m going to let my colleague Terry [Beech] handle the pipeline issue because Terry knows far more about it than I do in that regard, because that’s his riding that the pipeline is going through,” Jaffer said.

Beech is the incumbent in the Burnaby North-Seymour riding.

“I will say that yes, it doesn’t look good to have a pipeline going through. However, as I hear from the Ministry of the Environment, pipelines for the short term are necessary.”

Jaffer was referring to comments made by Jonathan Wilkinson, the previous minister of environment and climate change, who told CBC the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was still necessary, following the UN Climate panel’s report that predicted severe environmental consequences as a result of burning coal, and fossil fuels.

“Our main objective, of course, is to get off fossil fuels period. In the meantime, how do you want these fossil fuels transferred? Not going to say a lot, but I’m just going to say, pipelines are the best way of actually transporting these and I’ve heard that from people,” stated Jaffer.

The Beacon followed up, asking if Jaffer thought that leaving Beech to “handle the pipeline” would come off as her offloading the issue to one riding and candidate even though it’s an issue that impacts not only Burnaby, but Canada as a whole, and if she recognized that Wilkinson’s comments around the pipeline received criticism.

“If I will just sit here and tell people what they want, I wouldn’t be a good candidate. We need to tell people what it is and that’s why I’m talking about [the] pipeline the way I do,” she said.

Jaffer added that there “has to be responsibility for our taking contol of our climate” and that “science tells us that this is very, very real. And I think it’s time that we really pay attention.”

Commitment to Burnaby

The Beacon also asked Jaffer about how she has been connecting to Burnaby residents given she is running in a riding comprising of 2 cities, and if New Westminster has been more of her focus given how the riding is split in terms of size.

“What I have been doing is that, whether it’s Burnaby or New West, these are the people that are on the voter’s grid. So they’re on my voter’s list. And I have been phoning them … I’ve been making a lot of phone calls and I have been connecting with these voters over the phone, and I have been talking to them, I have been speaking with them, I have been giving them my name, giving them my website, I have been getting their concerns,” she said.

“As I said, that for me … it’s not about Burnaby and New West it’s about the riding as a whole I was given.”

Jaffer added that she felt there were some “demographic differences” between the 2 cities.

“One of them is the number of families in Burnaby. There are a lot more families that live in Burnaby than perhaps New West,” she said.

Housing and affordability

On housing, Jaffer emphasized her party is committed to increasing supply.

“When we’re talking about affordability, we’re really talking about supply,” she said.

“And so one of the things that also we’re talking about is the legal structure of home buying,” she said, adding that the party is committed to implementing “a buyer’s bill of rights” which she said will crack down on house flipping, stop excessive profits in housing, and strengthen federal oversight of the housing market

The Beacon asked Jaffer if she trusted her party’s ability to effectively address the issue of house flipping, after a News 1130 report found Taleeb Noormohamed, Liberal candidate for Vancouver Granville, flipped over 40 homes since 2005 and made a profit of $4.9 million.

Jaffer said she had no comment.

Jaffer said the Liberal’s plan also focuses on making homeownership more accessible to renters with measures like a rent-to-own program, which promises $1 billion in loans and grants in order to develop and scale up rent-to-own projects with private, not-forprofit, and co-op partners. The program is designed on 3 principles: the landlord has to commit to charging the renter a lower-than-market rate, the landlord has to commit to ownership in 5 years or less, and “proper safeguards” should be implemented to protect the renter.

Jaffer also mentioned Liberal’s proposed tax-free home savings account, which aims to allow Canadians under 40 to save up to $40,000 towards their first home (as a means to “afford a downpayment faster”)  and withdraw it tax-free in a new First Home Savings Account (FHSA).

Indigenous rights and reconciliation

On Jaffer’s campaign website, she states that she is committed to creating positive change and building a Canada that is more inclusive. The Beacon asked Jaffer about her commitment to Indigenous rights and reconciliation and how she will advocate for Indigenous residents living in her riding.

“I have been making many phone calls and I have been speaking with people out there in the community and I think one of the things that we have to look at the long road here. Everyone has a role to place in amplifying the voices of Indigenous people,” she said.

“And I think that, in terms of dismantling systems, systematic racism, inequality, discrimination, and the way forward to reconciliation and the path to reconciliation [is] together and this is a path we have to walk together.”