Two UBC students, Jane Spitz and Conny Lin, are running under the BC Liberal party in the 2017 provincial election. They are half of four UBC students running in the provincial election more widely.
The BC Liberals’ platform focus encompasses three points — creating more jobs, controlling spending and cutting taxes for the middle class.
Jane Spitz, a fifth-year political science major with a minor in environment and society, is running for the Vancouver-Hastings riding, an area she deems structurally important for millennials.
“Vancouver-Hastings is a rapidly expanding and growing community with a lot of young families and young entrepreneurs. I want to focus on helping create more jobs in the community and tackling housing affordability,” said Spitz, alluding to how expensive housing in Vancouver has become.
Spitz’s platform is heavily concentrated on campaigning for environmental sustainability and protection, housing affordability and the Downtown Eastside crisis.
“The BC Liberals have been investing a lot of money into affordable housing with the First-Time Home Buyers’ program that will help a lot of young people like myself and people in their 30s [be able] to buy their first home,” said Spitz.
At 22, Spitz believes her age will allow her to better advocate for issues concerning millennials in Vancouver, and her youthful outlook on the current political situation will enable her to bring these modern ideas to legislature.
“If we don’t step up and take part, then we’re not going to have our issues heard, so we need more young people taking the lead,” said Spitz.
Conny Lin, who has studied at UBC since 2001, is running for the Vancouver-Mount Pleasant riding. She holds a bachelor's degree in genetics, a master's in behavioural neuroscience and is graduating this year with a doctorate in neuroscience.
While studying, Lin also gained experience in government affairs and student politics. She was UBC’s Graduate Student Society president and worked for the BC Ministry of Health. She also worked for Fit Brains, a startup in Gastown.
“I chose [the Vancouver-Mount Pleasant] riding deliberately because my research has been focused on addiction. My Science Policy Fellowship three years ago positioned my work in the Ministry of Health, which brought me to the Opiate Policy to deal with the fentanyl crisis right now,” said Lin, who sees the crisis as a huge concern for the province as a whole.
“I looked at the fentanyl issue in the Downtown Eastside and it’s not contained in that area anymore. People in the province are starting to discover their friends and family dying from fentanyl, and they never knew they were addicts,” said Lin. “If I don’t come out right now with my expertise which is so focused on this, I’m going to feel responsible [for the problem] as a scientist.”
With the remainder of Lin’s platform focused on mental health initiatives, senior care, transit lines and increasing the technology industry, she has several goals to accomplish if elected.
Lin further emphasized Spitz’s mission for affordability, and wants to push UBC students to vote in the May 9 provincial election.
“If you want your voice heard and you want your tuition to be reasonable and have affordable housing, you must vote,” said Lin. “We have a substantial voting pool and we need to utilize it.”