New Democrats in North Vancouver have acclaimed Justine Bell as their candidate to run in the 2019 federal election.
Bell ran unopposed for the nomination and was confirmed as the candidate by local party members on Saturday. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who is currently running in a Burnaby byelection, attended in support.
Bell works as a policy adviser for the federal government in Ottawa.
She’s running now, she said, because she wants to apply her expertise in poverty reduction and economic growth at the local level.
“I believe in an inclusive, prosperous and sustainable Canada – one where everyone can live in North Vancouver and follow their dreams, as I did,” Bell said.
On the campaign trail, Bell said North Vancouver residents can expect to hear her pushing policies aimed at housing, transportation and climate change.
“When we talk about the issues such as the housing crisis, transit and transportation, and climate change, these are issues that I’ve been working on from the global perspective and I wanted to take that knowledge and do that on the ground,” she said.
On housing, the governing Liberals have put forward $7.7 billion over 10 years for affordable housing, which Bell said is both too little and too late.
“We have 27,000 people in North Vancouver that that are spending above 30 per cent of their income on housing and that’s not sustainable,” she said.
“We need to invest in co-operative and non-market housing now,” she said.
On climate change, Bell said she is inspired by her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
“I want to make sure she doesn’t have to live in a cloud of forest fire smoke growing up,” she said. “The way forward is not spending $4.5 billion on an old pipeline. What the NDP is looking to do is make real concrete investments into clean and renewable energy.”
Bell said she is proud of her pedigree in public service and activism. Her great-grandmother was the founding editor of the Native Voice, her father Bill served on City of North Vancouver council and her mother was a hospital worker.
“Serving others is in my DNA,” she said.
The election is scheduled for Oct. 21, 2019.
Incumbent Liberal Jonathan Wilkinson has been acclaimed to run for re-election. The Green Party is set to select a North Vancouver candidate next month. Local Conservatives have not yet opened nominations.