Regan-Heng Zhang, Green Party candidate for Vancouver-Langara, says it’s difficult for Greens to specify timeline for their goals
Regan-Heng Zhang is running as Green Party candidate for Vancouver-Langara in the May 14 provincial election. The Voice sat down with Zhang last week to talk about his party’s policy platform. Zhang is also a co-founder of the Young Greens of BC and president of the UBC Green Party.
What do you think are going to be central issues in this election?
Zhang: Post-secondary education is certainly one of the top issues for me. B.C. currently has the highest student loan interest rate in Canada – we would like to see that change. For this election we are proposing to lower tuition rates by 20 per cent and increase university and college core funding in the province by at least $200 million a year.
The three main goals listed in the 2013 Green Book, which outlines the party’s plans, are to create more affordable housing, to reinvest in an environmentally friendly economy and to improve health care. Do you feel your party has the ability to create a balanced budget while still achieving all these goals?
Zhang: The Green Party definitely believes in a balanced budget even though we are advocating for all these programs. We want a government that isn’t going to run into debt. It’s more difficult for the Green Party of B.C. to put down specifically when we can implement [our goals], when we can reduce tuition by 20 per cent. It’s very difficult for us mostly because we actually don’t get access to those numbers; we’re not in the legislature yet, so that’s why this election is so crucial.
Those numbers aren’t available through freedom of information requests?
Zhang: They are . . . but we’re not in the legislature to actually be involved in the process of how those numbers are made. And we have somewhat of a lack of knowledge on how things are actually run in the government currently.
Last week’s issue of The Voice had a story about students being apathetic about voting with some not even aware of the upcoming election. How are you going to get students to vote?
Zhang: That’s actually more important than me being a candidate. I think that getting youth to vote is more important than getting youth to vote Green.
Reported by Patrick Colvin