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Candidates share views for upcoming election

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 11:09 PDT, Wed September 1, 2021

Last Updated: 11:13 PDT, Wed September 1, 2021

Ten candidates (five in each of two local ridings, Richmond Centre and StevestonRichmond East) are seeking your support in the upcoming federal election on Sept. 20.

Following are their individual biographies and why they are running.



Green candidate

Laura Gillanders is a hard-working advocate best known as spokesperson for Richmond FarmWatch, the grassroots group that helped stop the proliferation of non-farming mega mansions on protected agricultural lands.

Chief financial officer of a construction company, and an urban farmer who balances the demands of motherhood and work, Gillanders has championed community initiatives including defending Richmond schools slated for closure in 2016.  

Her priorities include fostering healthy communities through accessible housing, support for mental health, and economic policy that boldly addresses the climate crisis.  

Always striving to be inclusive and collaborative, she currently chairs the City of Richmond Food Security and Agricultural Advisory Committee.

Why are you running in this election?

“The people in Richmond Centre deserve the choice of voting Green. I’m committed to using my voice and advocacy to help protect the incredible natural assets in Richmond. Rampant forest fires burn in the province and people everywhere are living in uncertainty about the future. Canada doesn't need a majority government in Ottawa right now, we need to be working together to fight climate change and get through this pandemic.”


People’s Party candidate

No biography was available by our press deadline.


Liberal candidate

A longtime Richmond resident, Wilson Miao is a media marketer and real estate consultant.

Fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, he immigrated to Canada with his parents from Hong Kong as a young child. Miao grew up in the Richmond Centre riding attending Ferris Elementary School and later Richmond High.

An active local volunteer, he has a business degree from Simon Fraser University and has also dedicated himself to projects enhancing seniors’ well-being and quality of life.

He believes the core of politics is rooted in strengthening our communities. He vows if elected to be a fierce advocate for seniors care, while also investing in the success of future generations—whether that is ensuring our communities are safe, our environment and oceans are protected for future generations, or supporting measure to make life more affordable for Richmond residents.

Why are you running in this election?

“We are a city known for its unique culture and diverse demographics. Over the past decade, I have noticed many issues that can be addressed and communicated to Parliament. Canada has provided me with many opportunities, and it is important for me to promote and uphold Canadian values. As a proud Richmond resident, I am here to represent the entire community. Regardless of your age, gender, race, or ethnicity—you can count on me to listen to your concerns, understand your perspectives, and bring your voice back to Ottawa.”


NDP candidate

An experienced community leader, Sandra Nixon is the chair of the Richmond Board of Education and has served as an elected trustee since 2014. She advocated for a school district sexual orientation and gender identity policy, an anti-racism working group to address systemic racism in the school system, seismic upgrading, and supporting student climate action and district sustainability initiatives.

Nixon and her husband have lived and raised their family in Richmond for the past 20 years. 

An active community advocate on issues such as poverty, housing, climate justice, mental health, anti-racism, Indigenous justice, and LGBT+ rights, she is also a minister in the United Church of Canada, and has a Bachelor of Commerce degree in finance and accounting. Nixon is a housing co-op member/advocate, electric vehicle owner/advocate, and former Girl Guide leader. She is also an advocate for temporary modular housing and other affordable and supportive housing.

Why are you running in this election?

“Two words: people and planet. It’s never been clearer that these need to be our priorities as a society. And our government needs to do better—much better—for both. 

People are hurting, and so is our planet. Our Richmond community (and our country) are living through a pandemic, housing/affordability crisis, and climate emergency, along with an inadequate health care system, deep inequities and systemic racism. 

We need fresh voices in Parliament to show up and speak up on these issues, and for the specific interests and concerns of Richmondites. Having worked at the grassroots and municipal levels on many of the issues facing us, I’m now ready to bring my community leadership and advocacy experience to work for positive change in Ottawa; for a brighter future for Richmond, and for all.”


Conservative candidate

First elected in 2008, Alice Wong has represented the riding for the past 13 years during which she has served as the Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism, member of the cabinet as Minister of State (Seniors), shadow cabinet minister for small business and as shadow cabinet minister for seniors.

Immigrating from Hong Kong in 1980, and in 1983 becoming a Canadian citizen, she is a life‐long learner, obtaining her PhD in curriculum and instruction at the University of British Columbia in 1993. She then worked at Kwantlen Polytechnic University until 2006 as faculty and manager of international programs. During these years, Wong also taught entrepreneurship and English as a Second Language at Vancouver Community College and started the Centre for Small Business, offering the very first English and Chinese small business management classes for immigrants.

Her service to her community also includes volunteer work serving marginalized youth and women. She has coached and mentored women to be more financially independent through learning new job skills. She has also educated newcomers about Canada, appearing on an English television teaching series and guest hosting on local radio and TV programs.

Why are you running in this election?

“I am running for re-election for Richmond Centre because I still have plenty of energy, and serving the people of Richmond gives me even more. It gives me motivation to hear when our office is successfully able to assist a constituent. Likewise, I also diligently listen to everyone's concerns and thoughts about the direction our country is heading.”



Liberal candidate

Born in Victoria, Parm Bains moved with his family to Richmond when he was just a year old. 

An active member of the local community and a public sector worker for the province, he is now a university  lecturer. He currently serves as chair of the Richmond Community Foundation and remains involved in the local sports community as a volunteer in a variety of coaching and mentorship roles.

Bains has considerable experience in corporate communication, including public and stakeholder engagement, public policy development and government and media relations. He holds a Master of Arts degree in professional communications with a specialization in international and intercultural studies from Royal Roads University.

Bains is a business instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and lives with his wife and two children in Richmond.

Why are you running in this election?

“I am passionate about serving the community I have been a lifelong resident of and am raising my kids in.

In my role with the Richmond Community Foundation, I witnessed the tremendous effort organizations make in our community, but I also saw the gaps in the support that they need to provide.

As a university instructor, I hear from young people, and they are concerned about how affordable life will be in the future.

I, quite simply, want people to enjoy their lives.

The only way Canadians can enjoy their lives is if they have the necessary support and services.

I will use my over 15 years of public policy experience to identify issues and foster relationships between the government and community of StevestonRichmond East.”


Conservative candidate

Kenny Chiu is a Richmond community advocate of over 25 years. Using his experiences as a Richmond school trustee, Richmond Rotarian, and senior software development manager, Chiu has been fighting for Steveston–Richmond East in Ottawa as the riding’s incumbent Member of Parliament.

Chiu immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in 1989, but his love for this country stems from experiences since 1982—as an international student in the Canadian Prairies. He remains proud that Canada is the only country he’s held citizenship in.

As vice-chair of the House of Commons sub-committee on international human rights, Chiu has fought for the rights of oppressed people. And as shadow minister for diversity, inclusion, and youth, Chiu has concerned himself with combatting racism, protecting sexual minorities, consulting young people, and building a more inclusive Canada.

Married for more than 25 years, he is the father of two daughters born and raised in Richmond and is also the loving adoptive father of Nugget, a Havanese Maltese poodle.

Why are you running in this election?

“As the incumbent candidate I have been honoured to serve the people of StevestonRichmond East, and I hope to continue serving this community after this election, as I have for nearly 30 years.”


Green candidate

Françoise Raunet has spent decades advocating for healthy ecosystems, peace, and electoral and economic reform.

Once her children were born, Raunet’s frustration with government inaction and toxic partisanship drove her into politics. A teacher and community builder, she believes in bringing people together to solve their common problems, and if elected will work to transition to a post-carbon economy, strengthen democratic institutions, and reduce economic and social inequality.

Having grown up in Vancouver and lived overseas, she speaks French and English fluently and can also communicate in Spanish and Mandarin.

With more than 25 years of experience working in education, publishing, and community services, Raunet is currently an elementary school teacher in Vancouver who lives in co-operative housing on the north bank of the Fraser River with her husband and their daughters. She has a Master of Arts degree in International Studies from Simon Fraser University, focusing on complex disaster management, human security issues, and China’s role in African development. From 2001-2006, she worked in educational publishing in Taipei, Taiwan. Raunet also lived in Portland, Oregon from 1992 to 1996 while pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Reed College.

Why are you running in this election?

“I am deeply concerned about the future that we are leaving for our youth. The ecological emergencies (climate change, ocean acidification, deforestation, etc.) that are threatening ecosystems, causing more frequent extreme weather events, and killing off species are caused by decades of overconsumption and mismanagement of our precious natural resources. Not only is our GDP-obsessed global economy killing the planet, it seems designed to channel wealth to the top five per cent while average workers struggle harder and harder to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads. This cannot continue.”


People’s Party candidate

Studying civil and structural engineering at British Columbia’s Institute of Technology led Jennifer Singh into a career in the construction industry.

As a project manager, she has negotiated multi-million dollar construction projects across Canada and Australia. And later, as vice-president of a mining company with a project in Mongolia, she travelled around the world. 

It wasn’t long before she realized that while giving presentations and keynote speeches to raise money for projects, she was also constructing skills to become a Member of Parliament. By working in diverse industries ranging from construction to community services around the world, she has developed skills in networking, strategic planning and leadership.

Why are you running in this election?

“We are a party that believes in freedom—freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of thought.”


NDP candidate

Jack Trovato is a respected educator and community advocate. He has spearheaded petitions to restrict house sizes on farmland; approve the acute care tower at Richmond Hospital; and call on the B.C. government to initiate an independent public inquiry into money laundering, drug trafficking, and profiteering in the real estate economy. Trovato has also worked tirelessly advocating for adequate funding for the public education system. 

Trovato says he is committed to advocating on behalf of the constituents of StevestonRichmond East for a fairer, greener and more just society that makes life easier for working Canadians.

Trovato holds Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Education degrees from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia. He has been honoured with several academic and professional accolades and is the 2002-03 national recipient of the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence. 

Originally from Argentina, he immigrated to Canada with his family as a small child and grew up in Richmond and raised his daughter here. A proud Richmond resident for over 40 years, he holds a deep appreciation for our community's rich cultural diversity. 

Why are you running in this election?

“I am committed to advocating on behalf of the constituents of StevestonRichmond East for a fairer, greener, more just society that makes life a little easier for working Canadians and that is focused on a hopeful vision for a better tomorrow. I will do so by constantly challenging the status quo of our current economic, social, and political policies and by establishing new ones that serve the common good of all Canadians. These are challenging times for a lot of people.”

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