Photo: B.C. Election forum focuses on building a better future

By Winnie Hwo, Communications Specialist

Building a better future for British Columbia requires good will and determination. For the David Suzuki Foundation and S.U.C.C.E.S.S., it means including the environment.

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S.U.C.C.E.S.S. recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, which means the immigration services agency has been around for almost twice as long as the David Suzuki Foundation. Now, for the first time, the two organizations are co-hosting a 90-minute B.C. Election Community Forum on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at 28 W. Pender Street. The multicultural forum, titled Building a Better Future for B.C.: Balancing Our Environment and Economy, will be multilingual as panellists, experts, candidates from the four political parties and the public will be able to engage in a lively exchange in Cantonese, Mandarin and English with the help of a simultaneous interpretation service.

Success PC.jpg From left: S.U.C.C.E.S.S. board secretary Paul Cheng, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. CEO Queenie Choo, David Suzuki Foundation Science and Policy manager Ian Bruce, DSF communications specialist Winnie Hwo.

According to S.U.C.C.E.S.S. CEO Queenie Choo, the forum will help British Columbians to be "better informed of what a sustainable and healthy environment will look like and how they are prepared to support it."

All too often, voters are told to make tough choices, and the choices are often between the economy and the environment. But David Suzuki Foundation Science and Policy manager Ian Bruce believes it's a false choice.

"We can choose to have both a healthy environment and a prosperous economy by focusing on solutions that drive environmental innovation while improving the quality of life in our communities and creating jobs we can be proud of," he says.

This is especially true for new Canadian voters in B.C.

Although the life of new Canadians tends to mean long hours working and taking care of the family, these Canadians know the value of a healthy environment. They know it means a vibrant economy, jobs and happiness because many came from places where the water is too toxic to drink and the air so polluted that wearing a mask is the norm. That is why Canada continues to be one of the top immigration destinations in the world, and B.C. the most sought-after place for new Canadians to settle.

In 2011, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and the David Suzuki Foundation conducted two climate change roundtables, where Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking new Canadians in Metro Vancouver could share their views on climate change and climate solutions. The findings confirm that new Canadians are no different from "old" Canadians. We all work hard and make tough choices, yet we also want clean air, water and healthy food. Participants in the 2011 roundtables told us they want to be part of the solution. This weekend's community forum will help broaden the conversation and will also provide an opportunity for political parties and candidates to show how they can do the right thing — by being part of the solution.

As the saying goes, we are all in the same boat, which also matches the Chinese title of this Community Forum — 綠舟共濟, which means we help each other in our green canoe.

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April 10, 2013

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