Politicians reach out to communities before by-election

« I’ve found language has been a great uniter. »


With more than half of Vancouverites identifying themselves as having a language other than English as their mother tongue, candidates vying for votes in next Monday’s by-election are making special efforts to reach out to the city’s ethnic communities.

In Vancouver Quadra, about 25 per cent of residents are Chinese. As such, Liberal Joyce Murray has reached out to several leaders in the Chinese community and knocked on more than 10,000 doors with a translator in tow.

"It’s really important for whoever might be the future member of parliament to make connections with all aspects of the community," she said.

Conservative Deborah Meredith said she has relied on networking through friends and former students of hers at the University of B.C.

Mayor Sam Sullivan — who has given entire interviews in Cantonese — is well aware of the importance of reaching out to various ethnic communities.

"I’ve found language has been a great uniter," said Sullivan, who also dabbles in Mandarin, Punjabi and Tagalog. "Certainly in my efforts to communicate in other languages, it’s been very, very well received."

Coun. Raymond Louie, who is also running for mayor, said politicians owe it to voters to try to communicate with them in the languages they are most comfortable with.

"I think the more successful candidates give that extra effort to connect with the communities that we have," he said.

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