Bridget Burns Questions and Answers
How will you encourage people who have never voted to get out and vote Green?
Connect with youth and activate my community
Voter turnout is lowest among young people; this is largely due to the fact that young people don’t identify with traditional politicians. I will be able to genuinely connect with youth because I speak their language; they will come out and vote for me because we share the same struggles, fears, and hopes.
I also have deep connections with the vegan community who are actively engaged on issues but have not found a home in politics; I believe the Green Party can be their home. My goal is to build a bridge between the two and inspire my social media followers to get involved, vote, and make a difference through my campaign.
Do you have a plan to get young people to volunteer and vote?
Social media and the opportunity to contribute meaningfully
I have over 12,000 twitter followers, 9000 facebook likes, and 4000 instagram followers. My organizing experience has taught me that social media is the best way to first engage youth, but that must be followed up with meaningful connection. To grow my dedicated team of supporters and volunteers I will provide young people with a fun working atmosphere, a sense of community, and the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to something they believe in.
What are your thoughts about deep canvassing and big organizing?
True representation and genuine connections
To me deep canvassing is about connecting with my community and finding out what matters to them. It is the only type of campaign I would ever run. My goal is to hear the concerns of my neighbourhood and be a voice for them during the election and in Ottawa. My team already has a canvassing plan in place: weekly door knocking outings with volunteers will begin as soon as I receive the nomination. Every chance I get I will be connecting with my community, hearing their concerns, and proving that they have an ally in me.
What are the first three issues you will bring to Ottawa as an MP?
Housing. Food. Opioids.
I have lived in the lower half of a Vancouver Special, a basement suite growing mould, and a co-op with a leaky roof. There are many beautiful homes in East Van, but many improvements need to be made. Retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency and reduce GHGs is one of the most effective ways to improve life, maintain affordable rents, and decrease negative environmental impacts. I am also inspired by Green Trustee Estrellita Gonzalez's proposals to use school board land for vulnerable youth and workforce housing. The bottom line is we need funding and innovative solutions; I will fight to ensure we get the money we need to implement housing solutions made in East Van and for East Van.
At the top my agenda will be local sustainable food systems, reducing food waste, and a national school meal program (with additional support for children who need to take care packages home). I have already identified national experts in the field who wish to contribute their knowledge to ensure these policies will be informed and effective. I would also like to secure funding for an East Van Wellness Centre where the focus will be on healthy food options, health + wellness education, and healing services; because everyone deserves not only to survive, but thrive.
I have watched the destruction that opioids have inflicted on the downtown east side and will insist that we need more support for addiction, mental health, and sex work to address this crisis. I know firsthand how destructive opioids can be and how easily vulnerable youth can get lead down that road to destruction. I am eager to work with experts and leaders in the DTES to bring solutions to this area that has been struggling for way too long. I will look hard at how we can prevent young people from falling into this dangerous cycle and urge Ottawa to step up and provide the funding that the magnitude of this crisis demands.
I am deeply concerned about Climate Change; to me it is not a separate issue, but the lens through which I see all others. Environmental protection and sustainability will inform every decision I make as your elected MP.
Do you have a campaign organizer and a fundraising plan?
Young dedicated team with experience and a plan
I have a core team of young people who are eager to get to work, including my campaign manager Alex Brunke, who was the Communications Director for the historic Green Party of Vancouver win last fall. Our fundraising plan relies heavily on online engagement and hosting unique events geared towards specific demographics.
Do you have a campaign slogan?
“I am East Van” captures who I am, why I am running, and who I will represent. I also love the Green Party’s existing slogans, “the time is now” and “the future is Green,” and plan on fully utilizing them in my campaign.
The most important question is: Why are you running?
I am East Van
More than anything I want to hear the concerns of East Van residents and be a champion for them during the election and in Ottawa. My experiences growing up, living, and working here have made me intimately aware of the struggles and strengths of our community. I know that among my peers disenchantment with politics is common; too often politicians don’t understand, let alone share the struggles of the people they are supposed to be representing. My reason for running is simple: to represent the the neighbourhood I love and advocate for the people who live here.