Jenny Kwan, MP

Member of Parliament, Vancouver East

Latest News

Federal General Election - October 21, 2019

As of September 11, 2019, Canada Elections act, Parliament was dissolved and a Writ of Election was issued for a general federal election.

Election Day has been set as Monday, October 21, 2019.

If you have questions about the general election, or if you need to register to vote, please visit the Elections Canada website at: https://www.elections.ca/ or telephone Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868.

During the election period, the riding office will remain staffed, on reduced hours:

Monday                         11 am – 3 pm

Tuesday                         11 am – 3 pm

Wednesday                   11 am – 3 pm

Friday                             11 am – 3 pm

Constituents of Vancouver East who face very urgent cases or requests for emergency assistance with a federal service or program will still receive priority reply by staff. Please ensure your email message includes your full name, phone number, street address, and postal code.

You may also call the Vancouver East riding office at 604-775-5800 with urgent inquiries, or email to jenny.kwan@parl.gc.ca as this email account will be monitored throughout the election writ period.

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An Urgent Response to Housing and Homelessness Crisis and Overdose Crisis Is Needed

August 27, 2019

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Open Letter: An Urgent Response to Housing and Homelessness Crisis and Overdose Crisis Is Needed

Minister Duclos:

The situation for the over 2200 people who do not have a home in Vancouver is severe. Many people have no access to daytime shelter, and hundreds of people have no overnight shelter option and are forced to sleep on the street. The situation becomes even more alarming when you consider that many of these individuals face serious health conditions, a mental illness or must manage a chronic disease; and are trying to survive with no income, or on a fixed income that does not meet basic daily needs like food and medicine. Some people who are trying to maintain family unity find that as a couple it can be even more difficult to access shelter that does not force them to separate. Those with children are not exempted from the impact of homelessness. I have met with people whose children are in the care because they are cannot secure safe, secure affordable housing. Even seniors can find themselves without a home. This is the kind of reality that hundreds of people in Vancouver East face every single day.

For some of the people, the dire situations of homelessness and insecure housing have led them to seek relative safety by residing in an encampment in Oppenheimer Park. For months, community members and volunteers have worked hard to provide some level of support to those at the encampment. With their best effort, people residing in the Park can access basic sanitation services, some food security, peer support, and a VCH-sanctioned, peer-run Overdose Prevention Site.

The people at the encampment now face an order of eviction from Oppenheimer Park. At the time of the Order, encampment residents and spokespeople estimated that there were approximately 300 people residing in the encampment.

With respect to the situation in Oppenheimer Park, it is so severe that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, Leilani Farha, has taken notice, and is concerned that governments are not meeting their obligations under international human rights law in violating the right to housing.

While BC Housing has attempted to set aside units through a “unit freeze” on other buildings in order to house the people at Oppenheimer Park, what that means is that other people who are homeless and in need of housing are displaced. The community feels very strongly that making people in dire need feel that they are being pitted against each other is no solution.

There is an urgent, urgent need for additional affordable housing units. In 1993, the federal government’s cancellation of the National Affordable Housing Program resulted in the loss of more than 500,000 units of affordable housing that would have otherwise been built by the non-profit and co-operative sectors. Having those units at that time, and building from that point moving forward would have put Canada in a dramatically different position today than we currently are. Equally important is the fact that there is a desperate need for government subsidies to ensure individuals and families are not paying over 30% of their total income for rent. In order to ensure that people are successful in their housing, support also needs to be made available to those individuals. Until all these are in place, further displacing people living on the streets from where they have found relative safety and support only increases their vulnerability and does nothing to address the homelessness problem in Vancouver.

Minister, I hope you will agree that each and every one of these individuals requires a safe place to call home. Yet, as I have raised with you and with those in your Cabinet, time and time again, much of the monies that are supposed to aid those without a home will not flow immediately. In fact, over 90% of the money first promised in 2017 for housing will not begin to flow until after this next federal election, and much of that not until after 2024. That is too long to wait. And worse, as noted by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, targeted assistance for those in the deep core of need and spending on Indigenous housing is actually reduced from that of the Harper Conservative years. I find this incredible and incompatible with the evidence of clear need in communities across the country, and mostly certainly in Vancouver East.

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Open Letter: People Deserve Urgent Action On The Affordable Housing Crisis in Vancouver

Tents line the edges of Oppenheimer park

July 25, 2019

Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Open Letter: People Deserve Urgent Action On The Affordable Housing Crisis in Vancouver

Minister Duclos,

I wish to draw your attention most urgently to the effects of the lack of affordable housing in Vancouver East, which most recently has brought a number of people together to seek shelter and relative safety residing in an encampment in Oppenheimer Park.

Affordable, quality housing is one of the most important issues facing Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and the issue is even more acute in Vancouver East. An average one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver rents for $2,100 a month. Vacancy rates are under 1%. Home ownership is but a dream, with the average detached home in greater Vancouver over $1.5 million.

Time and time and time again, I have spoken in the House in an attempt to bring the voices and utmost concerns of my constituents to the attention of the government, in hopes of spurring action on the lack of affordable housing. I raised attention to how the affordable crisis has consequences for people’s lives. It affects people’s health. It has impacts on the opioid crisis. Lack of affordable housing affects family stability. It forces people to make impossible choices between life necessities, like food and rent. It affects settlement and community integration for newcomers. And the lack of affordable housing has left thousands of people with no home at all. In desperation, but also in a search for mutual support and community, that has led people to join the encampment in Oppenheimer Park.

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Jenny Kwan Statement: World Refugee Day 2019

MP Jenny Kwan Statement on World Refugee Day 2019

Canadians will remember the image of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea during the Syrian refugee crisis. That initiated a call from Canadians to show compassion in the midst of a global forced displacement crisis. But since 2015, the Liberals have gone from #WelcomeToCanada to ramming through significant changes hidden in an omnibus budget bill to try and stop refugees from making a claim in Canada.

On this, World Refugee Day, we learn that the US has now detained thousands of children in concentration camps. Children are now being denied access to even so much as a toothbrush while in these facilities. At least 7 children have died. There have been reports of sexual violence. LGBTQ2+ asylum claimants are being held indefinitely in solitary confinement. Canada, and the international community, recognize that as an act of torture. The US is now re-opening the very sites that the US once used to detain Japanese-Americans during WWII on the basis of racist assumptions. Yet the Liberals and Conservatives continue to pretend that the US is somehow still a safe country for asylum seekers.

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Jenny in QP: Justice for Golden Eagle Farms migrant workers!

On June 6, 2019, I stood to ask the following in Question Period: 

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2019 Budget Speech

Mr. Speaker, people in Vancouver East expect their government to make life affordable, sustainable and fair for all Canadians. They expect their government to be on their side.

    In Vancouver East, I have heard from my constituents time and time again that we need real measures to make life affordable for Canadians, that we need immediate and urgent action to protect our climate and environment.

    On behalf of the constituents of Vancouver East, I have been strongly advocating for measures such as affordable housing, public universal pharmacare, environmental protections, climate action and tax fairness. Instead, we now have a country faced with many crises.

 

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"This is Canada's shame": we must acknowledge deliberate genocide against Indigenous peoples.

On June 5, 2019, I delivered a Members' Statement on the concluding report and Calls For Justice of the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: 

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MP Jenny Kwan Statement on the Federal Government Quietly Offering Settlement to Halt Lawsuits Over Parent Immigration Program

On January 28, the IRCC website opened to accept Interest to Sponsor applications from family members wishing to apply for family reunification under the Parents/Grandparents Program. Within 7 minutes, the application process was shut down. 11 minutes after the application opened, IRCC announced via Twitter that the annual limit had been reached and the application was closed. 

The media revealed that a number of individuals who were not able to submit an application to reunite with their loved ones under the parents/grandparents reunification process filled a lawsuit against the government. The Federal Liberal government then quietly settled with the litigants by offering them 70 coveted spots in the parents/grandparents sponsorship program. 

The fact that the government quietly offered a side deal to 70 families who threatened to sue the Liberal government is indicative that the process is inherently flawed and unfair. With this side deal, the Minister is effectively telling Canadians that you have to take the government to court to be treated fairly. It should not have come to this. All families want to do is be reunited with their loved ones. They should not have to go through such pain and anguish to be with their parents or grandparents. They certainly should not have to threaten to sue the government. Our process should be one that is open, accountable and fair. 

Sadly the Liberal government’s handling of this file has been deplorable from the beginning – whether it’s following the Conservative’s process that allowed people with resources to get in front of the line, or the Liberal’s process based on the luck of the draw lottery system, or this flawed and unfair online system, all have been a miserable failure.

It is time for the Liberals to do what is right: allow families to make their applications in a fair and orderly fashion by lifting the arbitrary cap on family reunification.​

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Member Statement: Hastings Elementary students show real climate leadership

On May 13, 2019 I give a Member Statement in honour of the real climate leaders of our time: young people, like the Grade 6&7 students of Hastings Elementary, and everyone who took part in the May 3 climate strike.

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Jenny in Question Period: 8 million unanswered calls to government call centres?

On May 7, 2019, I rose in Question Period to ask: 

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