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Federal Election Profile: Vancouver East

(iStock Photo)

Vancouver East is the poorest of Canada's 338 constituencies

Vancouver-Kingsway has a been a strong NDP territory

In 2011, Vancouver South elected the city's first Tory since 1988

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – One is a riding that is home to Canada’s poorest postal code, another has an immigrant population of more than 50 per cent, and the third elected the city’s lone Conservative MP.

In this “Your Vote” profile, we look at the three races in East Vancouver.

Vancouver East has the distinction of being the poorest of Canada’s 338 constituencies, with a median annual income of just over $24,000.

It has also voted either for the NDP or its CCF predecessor all but twice in 80 years.

You can well imagine the range of issues in a riding whose boundaries include neighbourhoods as diverse as the Downtown Eastside, Mount Pleasant, Grandview Woodlands, and Hastings Sunrise.

“There are many, many issues,” admits former NDP MLA Jenny Kwan, who is running to replace the retiring Libby Davies, who has held the seat since 1997.

“Housing, seniors’ well-being, people living in dignity, addressing climate action, protecting our fundamental rights on Bill C-51, and addressing the issue how we’re being treated as second-class citizens. All of those things are top of mind for people in Vancouver East.”

Nearby Vancouver-Kingsway is also strong New Democrat territory, having gone NDP in 12 of the last 18 elections. It’s also a riding in which 54 per cent of the population identifies as immigrant.

“Vancouver-Kingsway is one of the most diverse and multicultural ridings in the country,” agrees Don Davies, who has held the riding for the NDP since 2008.

“It’s about 40 per cent ethnically Chinese, about 15 per cent Filipino, about 12 per cent Indian and South Asian, five or six per cent Vietnamese. Then there’s 100 languages spoken in Kingsway after that,” he points out.

“We are really a microcosm of Canada. So, issues that are of interest to first and second and even third-generation Canadian families are prevalent here.”

The third of East Vancouver’s three federal ridings is Vancouver South.

It was held by Liberal Ujjal Dosanjh until Conservative Wai Young unseated him in 2011, making her the first Tory elected in the city of Vancouver since 1988.

However, some observers believe the seat could go back to the Grits on October 19th if enough people subscribe to strategic voting.

“Obviously, [the Conservatives] want to hold on to the seat,” explains Mario Canseco with polling firm Insights West.

“But you have a lot of people who are of a centre-left mindset looking at [Liberal] Harjit Singh Sajjan and saying, ‘I may want to vote for the NDP because ideologically I’m more inclined to do so, but if he has a chance to defeat one of the Conservative candidates, then I’m going to give him my vote.'”

Dosanjh hung on to the seat in 2008 with a narrow 20-vote margin of victory. But in the rematch, Young took the riding by 4,000 votes in 2011.