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Vancouver mayoral candidates support living wage, better transit

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – An alliance of local trade unions, churches, and community agencies got the answers they were hoping for at a forum featuring Vancouver’s main mayoral candidates Thursday evening.

The Metro Vancouver Alliance was looking for commitments on social issues, such as making Vancouver a more inclusive city and campaigning for more affordable transit.

All three mayoral candidates offered up a “yes” when asked for support for the alliance’s aims, like adopting a so-called Living Wage policy, much like the City of New Westminster has done to promote wages that are higher than the minimum.

“It’s very important, with the Living Wage piece, that we sit down first and have a conversation,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

To which NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe countered  “We’ve had 2,000 days with this government to get  the commitment you got tonight. How many thousands more days before you see it come true?”

COPE’s Meena Wong took the opportunity to emphasize her party’s position.

“We will implement a $15-an-hour local minimum wage, starting with big hotel chains and chain stores.”

On the topic of affordable housing,  Wong dished out some criticism.

“Instead of wiping out homelessness, it’s at its highest point in recent history.”

LaPointe did much the same. “I feel very strongly that our city’s most vulnerable residents need to be better protected. Our city’s housing system is broken.”

Robertson pointed to his party’s track record.

“We’ve had record levels of social housing being created over the last few years. This is unprecedented. The problem is still huge,” he admitted.

The forum was the first time the main mayoral candidates appeared together. Civic elections are Nov. 15.