Conversation with Jinny Sims MP for Newton North Delta
Jinny Sims, born in India, came to England with her family where she grew up, becoming a teacher following her schooling at the University of Victoria in Manchester. In 1975 she and her husband moved to Canada, first Ontario and then Nanaimo, where she became active with the BC Teachers Federation which she ultimately led as the sixth female president in 2004. In 2011, she was elected as a Member of Parliament. With an election coming in the fall, she spoke with Ray Hudson of the Asian Journal about her riding and issues that concern her.
Asian Journal: What concerns are you hearing amongst your constituents? Jinny Sims: The recent gang-related violence is uppermost. I’ve been pushing the Conservatives on a timeline for the arrival of the additional police for Surrey. We’ve had over thirty-five shootings in the Newton area in the last few months, and we still don’t know when the additional police will arrive. I think this is an emergency and police should be allocated from other parts and sent straight away. I’m not saying that more police is the total answer, but I think immediate intervention would send a warning message to the gangs and to our youth. In the long term we need to invest more in education, early intervention, rehabilitation and all of those things. But to blame the opposition for stopping them from passing their law and order bills, when they’re a majority government, is one of the most bizarre arguments I’ve ever heard.
Asian Journal: What other issues do you highlight here? Jinny Sims: I find that the issues are the same as they are for other communities: decent paying jobs so people don’t have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet; issues around youth unemployment with parents very worried about a future for their children with the decent paying jobs disappearing; high university or post secondary debt; and the need to invest in the apprenticeship programs as well. I hear a lot about affordability in the riding with people feeling squeezed from paycheck to paycheck, specifically for housing. People came to Surrey because of the high cost of housing in Vancouver and now people are feeling squeezed out of Surrey too. I’m concerned about payday loan companies that charge very high fees for cheque cashing, affecting the most vulnerable. At the same time people tell me they feel gouged by the banks that make billions in profits, through bank service fees and very high credit card fees. As you know, my riding has multiple small and medium-sized businesses, and I hear from them about transaction fees, which may be the highest in the G7 countries. Transaction fees in Australia, Britain or Europe, are about point six percent. Here it can be as high as three to five percent.
Asian Journal: It gets to the point where some companies don’t want to take debit or credit cards. Jinny Sims: We have put forward motions that would limit or cap transaction fees because other banks around the world are managing alright, so why can’t they in Canada? Some small and medium-sized businesses are also looking for some breaks and as you know our party has already announced a 2% cut to the tax bracket for those businesses. I hear from those working at minimum wage jobs in the service industries. You can barely survive on $10 per hour, especially when you have rent to pay. These people
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Jinny Sims, MP for Newton North Delta.