Vancouver-Point Grey profile: David Eby, NDP

Incumbent and NDP candidate David Eby is seeking re-election in Vancouver-Point Grey with a focus on strengthening student voices, childcare and ensuring money in real estate markets is coming from legitimate sources.

First elected in 2013, Eby has been BC’s attorney general since 2017. He is also responsible for gambling policy, liquor policy and ICBC.

“I’ve tried to deliver in Point Grey,” said Eby. “So whether that was concerns about money laundering, real estate or tax evasion, affordable housing, concerns from UBC students about affordable transit — to deliver those messages and actually have some progress to report back on those is very satisfying.”

Housing is an ongoing concern for Eby, something that he often brought up during the debate with Green candidate Devyani Singh. While Singh blasted Eby for his climate policy, his political experience showed as he defended himself at the face off.

“Cleaning up our housing market and making sure that families aren’t forced into the situation of competing with people who are evading taxes or criminals is really important to me,” he said.

At the debate, he refused to support defunding the police, instead saying he would support “increasing police resources” to fight money laundering.

Eby said he wants to listen to UBC students, especially on issues of Skytrain to UBC, on-campus housing and financial support.

According to Eby, the NDP has various COVID-19 related initiatives that directly impact students, including a $1.5-billion economic recovery plan. NDP leader John Horgan also pledged to expand access grants for post-secondary students.

“We know that students were disproportionately impacted by layoffs,” Eby said, adding that ensuring students are financially supported during their studies is one of his top goals.

Eby also highlighted climate change and BC’s relationship with Indigenous peoples as common student concerns. He said he recognizes the need to “pull our fair share of the weight in terms of reducing carbon pollution internationally.”

“The future of our economy is a green, sustainable future,” Eby said. “We need to invest in the industries and technologies that are going to help us get there. And we also need to do so in a way that is just and fair in our relationships with Indigenous people in the province.”

But the NDP government has been criticized for its environmental policies. A 2019 report from Environmental Defence Canada reported that the NDP gave $830 million to the oil and gas industries in subsidies in the previous fiscal year.

Students have also held several protests at Eby’s office against Coastal GasLink pipeline construction over the last year. In January 2020, 25 demonstrators from various UBC activist groups occupied his Kitsilano office, and a few weeks later, students once again occupied his office to push for action against the pipeline.

Demonstrators made a number of demands posted outside his office and online to Eby as attorney general. In a statement to The Ubyssey at the time, Eby said his primary concerns centred on the safety of his staff and public documents stored in the office.

The NDP government was met with further criticism over its response to the Wet’suwet’en protests, with John Horgan refusing to meet with hereditary chiefs at the time.

But Eby said that the NDP has “made wonderful progress” in many Indigenous communities and has been advancing treaty discussions that have been “stalled for many years.”

Eby said he has worked hard over his terms to show up at community events and be open to his constituents.

“It’s critically important to me to be present in the community — to know what the issues are, hearing people’s concerns and bringing the concerns forward.”