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MLA Bowinn Ma shares insights and looks ahead for North Vancouver-Lonsdale constituency

Bowinn Ma is helping build a better future for North Shore residents
Bowinn Ma and her daughter at the February 2024 Throne Speech in the BC Legislative Assembly. Photo via Bowinn Ma

Had you asked Bowinn Ma during her five-year position as project engineer with Vancouver Airport Authority, which she landed in April 2012, if she had any plans to enter electoral politics, she would have said, "absolutely not."

However, she had a change of heart. Ma was elected in May 2017 as MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale and represents approximately 60,000 constituents. She's particularly active on issues of housing, transportation, child care, education, health care and social services.

Additionally, she serves British Columbians as Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.

"The decision to go into public service was more a calling than something I planned," says Ma.

"I started to understand how government decisions were impacting my community and the people I cared about, and knew I had to put some skin in the game."

Her path from engineering to MLA was fairly rapid; Ma went from not knowing who her MLA was, to being the MLA in less than two-and-a-half years, and explains why it was important to get involved.

"There's an entire segment of our community that needs the most help from government, who at the same time don't often get their voices heard by politicians because they're focused on getting through the day, raising their families and keeping on top of their careers."

"I remember how intimidating it felt to approach an elected official before I became one, and I don't want that to be the case for people in our community," she says.

Impactful community investments

Accomplishments throughout her time in office include helping British Columbians with the cost of living: transforming ICBC to deliver lower auto-insurance rates by an average of 20%, eliminating MSP premiums, introducing free transit for kids, and expanding school meal programs.

"We also landed a lot of investments in North Vancouver together as a community that actively help people and families today and will in the future," reveals Ma.

"For instance, the new Lions Gate Hospital Acute Care Tower currently under construction, opens soon; we completed the new Argyle Secondary School in 2021, and Handsworth Secondary School in 2022, plus a new Cloverly Elementary School starts construction later this year."

Throughout her tenure, one of Ma’s achievements include securing funding for new child care and school projects. Photo via Bowinn Ma

Transportation, housing accomplishments

The Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project that Ma launched and led in 2018 was incredibly powerful. "It's an important piece of collaborative work that brought together all levels of government involved in transportation on the North Shore to establish a collective path forward."

"In recent years, we've also focused on reining in short-term rentals and turning more houses into long-term homes for people, improving security for renters, introducing a new home flipping tax, as well as, making the single largest investment into affordable housing in B.C.'s history."  

In North Vancouver over the last several years, more than 1,300 units of affordable and social housing funded by the province is currently underway.

"British Columbians have been through a lot these past few years," acknowledges Ma. "The 2021 atmospheric river event, the pandemic, plus the affordable housing crisis and opioid crisis."

"But what I know from my time as MLA is that during these difficult events our community and province pull together. And I think that's what's going to get us through these tough times to better days ahead."

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