Bowinn Ma

Bowinn Ma, MLA is a Canadian politician, who was elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in the 2017 provincial election.[1] Ma then stood for re-election in the 2020 British Columbia general election, again for the British Columbia New Democratic Party. Ma won decisively a second term,[2] in spite of some BC Liberal harassment of her.[3] She represents the electoral district of North Vancouver-Lonsdale as a member of the British Columbia New Democratic Party caucus.[1]


Bowinn Ma

Bowinn Ma, 2016 (cropped).jpg
Bowinn Ma in 2016.
Minister of State for Infrastructure of British Columbia
Assumed office
November 26, 2020
PremierJohn Horgan
Preceded byPosition established
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for North Vancouver-Lonsdale
Assumed office
May 9, 2017
Preceded byNaomi Yamamoto
Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink of British Columbia
In office
July 18, 2017 – November 26, 2020
PremierJohn Horgan
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition eliminated
Personal details
Born (1985-07-25) July 25, 1985 (age 35)
Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Political partyNew Democratic Party
ResidenceNorth Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Alma materUniversity of British Columbia
ProfessionEngineer
Bowinn Ma in 2017.

In the provincial cabinet appointed following the 2020 election, Ma is the Minister of State for Infrastructure and returns to Treasury Board.[4][5] Minister Ma's new mandate includes specific TransLink Skytrain expansion projects, the Massey Tunnel replacement and completing the Pattullo Bridge.[6]

Ma previously served as the Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink,[7] as a member of the provincial Treasury Board,[8] as a member of the Cabinet Housing Working Group Committee,[8] as a member of the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts,[9] and as the Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations.,[10] On November 26, 2020 she was sworn in as Minister of State for Infrastructure.[11]

Ma is the youngest member of the current British Columbia Legislative Assembly, and the Canadian born daughter of Taiwanese immigrants.[12] Ma, Katrina Chen, and Anne Kang are the first MLAs of Taiwanese heritage to be elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.[13]

Ma was the first New Democrat to win a seat on the North Shore since David Schreck in 1991.[1] She defeated two-term incumbent BC Liberal Minister Naomi Yamamoto as a first-time candidate. The North Vancouver-Lonsdale upset result is often credited in part to increased turnout from Squamish Nation voters and the political mobilization of the Iranian-Canadian community, both of whom strongly favoured Ma.[14][15]

BackgroundEdit

Ma graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in civil engineering, which included a focus in transportation, and then from the UBC Sauder School of Business in 2009 with a Master of Management degree.[16] She is currently a Professional Engineer registered with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia as well as a Project Management Professional.[17] She served as an engineer and project manager at Vancouver International Airport prior to the 2017 election.[17][18]

Prior to becoming involved in provincial politics, Ma led grassroots efforts against Bill C-51 after publicly challenging Justin Trudeau on his support for the bill during a public Q&A event at the University of British Columbia.[19][20]

Ma was the fourth female president of the UBC Engineers and led the reform of the organization.[21][22] Created in 2008, the Engineering Undergraduate Society of the University of British Columbia awards the "Bowinn Ma Award" annually "in recognition of exceptional dedication, service, and self-sacrifice by an individual in completing their duties, both within and beyond the purview of their position".[23][24]

Provincial politicsEdit

Upon being elected as MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale, Ma created the Bowinn Ma MLA Social Justice Scholarship: three $500 community scholarships, awarded to one graduating high school student each from Carson Graham Secondary, Sutherland Secondary and the Squamish Nation. The scholarship is aimed at graduating high school students enrolled in a post-secondary institution who have demonstrated a commitment to social justice and overcome barriers or disadvantages in their life.[25]

In 2018, Ma made headlines for her #MeToo statement in the BC Legislature voicing support for Christine Blasey Ford's experience during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and then again in early 2019 when she openly discussed her past experience with an eating disorder for Provincial Eating Disorder Awareness Week.[26][27]

Ma in the 2020 British Columbia general election won a personal endorsement from the former Green Party of British Columbia leader Andrew Weaver early in the campaign. In the words of Weaver, “There are few elected officials who work harder for their community and it is evident that she cares deeply about people. Bowinn has been a breath of fresh air in the Legislature and is one of our strongest voices in the fight against climate change. I certainly hope she is re-elected in North Vancouver-Lonsdale.” [28] Ma did acknowledge her odds of winning on a podcast recorded before the campaign began, “Even before COVID, I was targeted a lot by the BC Liberals and I don’t think that they’re wrong to target this seat. I’m the first BC NDP MLA to win a seat on the North Shore in a very long time, since 1991… So, history says that I will probably lose my seat at the next election, honestly.” [29] Nevertheless, Ma told the North Shore News, “Our government simply does not have the runway remaining to lead this province all the way out of the pandemic in a manner that the British Columbians deserve. We would have lost 12 months to partisan bickering and electioneering, which was already happening regardless of an early election call.” [30] As of early October 25, 2020; Ma has been declared the winner of the 2020 British Columbia general election for North Vancouver-Lonsdale by many British Columbia news outlets and told the North Shore News, “Votes are not owned, they're earned. And I will continue to work hard every single day for as long as I have the honour of serving North Vancouver-Lonsdale to deserve their support.” [31]

TransportationEdit

Since getting elected in 2017, Ma has focused largely on transportation-related issues. Ma had campaigned heavily on the issue of transportation during the 2017 election.[32] Ma hosted and moderated a "Traffic Sucks!" forum in February 2017, during which Ma said housing affordability is a key factor when it comes to traffic congestion.[33] Ma also campaigned on "increased investment in public infrastructure as a means of producing jobs, boosting the economy, and ensuring that the province is able to meet the needs of its businesses and residents long into the future" and expanding BC's rapid transportation network "as a way of providing a long-term solution to traffic congestion in the North Shore and throughout the Lower Mainland and as a key component of a sustainable transportation model for a growing province".[34]

On July 18, 2017 Ma was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink, working under the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Selina Robinson.[35] Her main job as Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink is overseeing the transit authority as it goes through a critical phase of expansion.[36] The NDP has already committed to funding 40 per cent of the TransLink Mayors' Council vision, which includes another SeaBus and 10-minute service, a B-line bus from Phibbs Exchange to Dundarave and an increase in regular bus service.

Ma was also selected to serve as the Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations. Ma led the all-party committee consisting of BC Liberal, BC NDP, and BC Green MLAs in the creation of a unanimous report dated February 15, 2018, making 32 recommendations for establishing a provincial regulatory regime to govern transportation network companies providing ride-hailing services.[37][38] She reconvened the all-party committee again in 2019 in the creation of a second consensus report dated March 12, 2019, making 11 recommendations on four specific areas of regulation of the Transportation Network Services industry: Boundaries, Supply, Fares, and Driver's Licenses.[39]

Although outside of the official purview of her role as Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink, Ma also worked with in her first term with Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Claire Trevena to increase BC Transit bus service.[40][41][42] Ma initiated the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project in 2018 and served as its Chair until the release of its final report in September 2018, which now serves as the North Shore's action plan and guiding document for improving transportation.[43][44]

As of November 26, 2020, Minister of State for Infrastructure Ma has a mandate letter[6] to, "Support our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by working with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to advance critical pieces of transportation infrastructure that will benefit communities across B.C." Projects according to the letter will include, "Work to extend the Millennium Line to Arbutus, with an eventual terminus at UBC, and ensure prompt design and construction of the Surrey-Langley Skytrain." Also a widening of Highway 1, replacing the Massey Crossing, completing the Pattullo Bridge replacement, and finally supporting, "The planning and development of key transit projects, like high-speed transit links for the North Shore and the expansion of rail up the Fraser Valley, which will bring cleaner transit, support economic growth and deliver more construction jobs for B.C. workers."

Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project (INSTPP)Edit

Ma initiated the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project in 2018 and served as its Chair.[44] The Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project "is a cross-jurisdictional and collaborative forum initiated to provide an integrated transportation approach that is environmentally progressive, values safety, improves the movement of people and goods, and respects First Nation's interests." Major partners in the project include the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, District of West Vancouver, TransLink, Government of Canada, Government of BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Squamish Nation.[45][46] It released its report publicly on September 13, 2018.[47]

According to the Letter from the Chair, "the work was conducted with a level of inter-agency collaboration that is unprecedented" and "represents the first time that key public transportation agencies on the North Shore, including seven governments, have been able to collectively establish a comprehensive understanding of the transportation challenges that North Shore communities face, and produce a unified and actionable approach for moving forward as a region."[47]

North Shore Rapid TransitEdit

Ma is vocal in her support for rapid bus lines as precursors for rapid transit, including a controversial rapid bus line running through the North Vancouver (district municipality), North Vancouver (city), and West Vancouver.[48] In response to opposition from businesses and residents of West Vancouver, Ma created a West Vancouver B-Line themed parody of 'Hey Jude' by The Beatles.[49] Ma is credited with the genesis of the first-ever study into the feasibility of a rapid transit line connecting the North Shore and downtown Vancouver, which was launched by the provincial government in May 2019.[50]

However, Ma and TransLink did succeed after much consultation in getting a RapidBus (TransLink) line from Park Royal Exchange eastward as R2 Marine Dr to Phibbs Exchange. The express bus service with bus rapid transit elements was launched on April 6, 2020 quietly due to the COVID-19 pandemic in British Columbia for as Ma herself told the North Shore News that, “The Marine-Main R2 RapiBus is, arguably, the most exciting public transit service improvement to the North Shore since the SeaBus. I didn't get on to it because I did not have any essential travel to justify getting onto a bus.” [51] Some of her fans on social media call this the "#BowinnLine" as a tribute to her courageous leadership.

As the new Minister of State for Infrastructure, one of Minister Ma's projects is, "Work with cabinet colleagues, communities and regions to support the planning and development of key transit projects, like high-speed transit links for the North Shore ... which will bring cleaner transit, support economic growth and deliver more construction jobs for B.C. workers." [6]

HousingEdit

Ma is a vocal advocate for action on Metro Vancouver's housing crisis.[52] Her support for housing demand management measures like the BC NDP Government increases to the foreign buyers tax, new speculation tax, and increased school tax rate on homes over $3M has drawn criticism from prominent Realtors and anti-tax advocates in wealthy constituencies nearby.[53][54]

In 2018, Ma raised funds for the North Vancouver homeless shelter by spending the night in her car with the North Vancouver St. John's Anglican Church group and helped the North Vancouver youth safe house receive operational funding from the provincial government for the first time since it opened in 2008.[55][56] Ma joined high school students from Carson Graham Secondary in sleeping outside overnight to raise funds for Covenant House, an agency for homeless youth who have fled abuse or been forced from their homes.[57] She is also known for her work supporting vulnerable renters.[58]

External linksEdit

Electoral recordEdit

2020 British Columbia general election: North Vancouver-Lonsdale
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Bowinn Ma 15,878 59.87 +14.42 $57,010.97
Liberal Lyn Anglin 7,274 27.43 −10.71 $42,676.15
Green Christopher Hakes 3,369 12.70 −2.55 $0.00
Total valid votes 26,521 100.00
Total rejected ballots    
Turnout    
Registered voters
Source: Elections BC[59][60]
2017 British Columbia general election: North Vancouver-Lonsdale
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Bowinn Ma 12,361 45.45 +4.87 $64,191
Liberal Naomi Yamamoto 10,373 38.14 −7.33 $69,946
Green Richard Warrington 4,148 15.25 +5.97 $466
Libertarian Donald N.S. Wilson 316 1.16 +0.52 $150
Total valid votes 27,198 100.00
Total rejected ballots 143 0.52 −0.07
Turnout 27,341 65.68 +5.30
Registered voters 41,629
Source: Elections BC[61][62]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Ma claims North Vancouver-Lonsdale for the NDP. North Shore News, May 9, 2017.
  2. ^ Ma's declared win in North Vancouver-Lonsdale a landslide for NDP. North Shore News, Oct 26, 2020.
  3. ^ Sexist comments about North Van NDP candidate Bowinn Ma spark outrage online. North Shore News, Oct 13, 2020.
  4. ^ "Premier John Horgan unveils his new cabinet".
  5. ^ Cabinet Committees. Government of British Columbia, November 26, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c [1]. Premier John Horgan Mandate Letter to Minister of State for Infrastructure Bowinn Ma, November 26, 2020.
  7. ^ Metro Vancouver mayors have high hopes for new NDP TransLink boss, The Vancouver Sun, July 18, 2017
  8. ^ a b Cabinet Committees, BC Government Website, December 1, 2017
  9. ^ Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts Membership, BC Legislative Assembly Website, December 1, 2017
  10. ^ Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations Membership, BC Legislative Assembly Website, December 1, 2017
  11. ^ "https://twitter.com/richardzussman/status/1332093512788054018". Twitter. Retrieved November 26, 2020. External link in |title= (help)
  12. ^ Prominent Chinese Canadian calls on B.C. parties to create Asian caucuses. The Georgia Straight, April 9, 2017.
  13. ^ Taiwanese Canadian leader describes election of three B.C. MLAs as historic milestone, The Georgia Straight, June 9, 2017.
  14. ^ Squamish Nation voters help NDP rookie Bowinn Ma win B.C. riding, The Globe and Mail, May 11, 2017
  15. ^ 3 under-reported stories from the B.C. election, The Georgia Straight, June 17, 2017
  16. ^ Alumni Spotlight: Bowinn Ma, UBC Engineering, January 2015
  17. ^ a b Bowinn's background
  18. ^ On Approach With Three Amazing Engineers at YVR, YVR, February 27, 2015
  19. ^ Repeal Bill C-51 Conference, SFU Institute for the Humanities, February 28, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  20. ^ C-51 Viva, Animal Voices, April 10, 2015
  21. ^ Secrets of the Notorious Red Car, University of British Columbia, May 1, 2008
  22. ^ British Columbia 2017 Election: North Vancouver-Lonsdale, CBC, April 10, 2017
  23. ^ EUS Appreciation Awards Archived August 6, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, UBC Engineers, Retrieved August 8, 2017
  24. ^ 2017 Engineer's Ball Awards Archived June 27, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, UBC Engineers, Retrieved August 8, 2017
  25. ^ "Meghan Ingborg receives first Bowinn Ma MLA North Van Community Scholarship". Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  26. ^ NDP MLA Bowinn Ma delivers Me Too speech in B.C. Legislature, Global News, October 4, 2018
  27. ^ MLA Bowinn Ma speaks up about past eating disorder, CBC News, February 9, 2019
  28. ^ OPINION: Former BC Green leader Andrew Weaver declares his support for BC NDP MLA Bowinn Ma, Vancouver Is Awesome, Sep 28, 2020
  29. ^ OPINION: Former BC Green leader Andrew Weaver declares his support for BC NDP MLA Bowinn Ma, Vancouver Is Awesome, Sep 28, 2020
  30. ^ North Van MLAs react to election call, North Shore News, Sep 21, 2020
  31. ^ Ma's declared win in North Vancouver-Lonsdale a landslide for NDP, North Shore News, Oct 24, 2020
  32. ^ North Shore candidates target traffic for votes, North Shore News, April 25, 17
  33. ^ Traffic sucks! Dozens turn out for a transportation forum in North Vancouver, News 1130, February 25, 2017
  34. ^ Bowinn Ma Campaign Priorities
  35. ^ Metro Vancouver mayors have high hopes for new NDP TransLink boss, Vancouver Sun, July 18, 2017
  36. ^ "New North Vancouver MLA to oversee TransLink". Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  37. ^ Transportation Network Companies in BC, Legislative Assembly of BC, February 15, 2018
  38. ^ Ride-hailing report shows road forward for regulation in B.C., CBC News, February 15, 2018
  39. ^ Transportation Network Services: Boundaries, Supply, Fares, and Driver's Licenses, Legislative Assembly of BC, March 12, 2019
  40. ^ New bus routes effective September, Squamish Chief, August 21, 2018
  41. ^ "BC Transit replaces five mobility buses in Fort St. John". Alaska Highway News. September 25, 2018. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  42. ^ New and extended transit routes coming to Kamloops this September, Kamloops BC Now, August 23, 2018
  43. ^ Escaping gridlock's grip: New plan addresses North Shore traffic problems, North Shore News, September 13, 2018
  44. ^ a b SULLIVAN: Could our traffic snarl finally turn into a smile, North Shore News, January 19, 2018
  45. ^ North Shore Transportation Planning Project, TransLink, January 16, 2018
  46. ^ North Shore traffic woes get provincial support from local MLA, CBC News, January 9, 2018
  47. ^ a b Findings and Recommendations of the Staff Working Group (SWG) to Improve Access and Mobility for the North Shore, INSTPP Final Report", Aug 2018
  48. ^ Opinion: North Shore B-Line is the precursor to future rail transit, Daily Hive, February 5, 2019
  49. ^ MLA Bowinn Ma creates West Vancouver B-Line themed parody of 'Hey Jude', Daily Hive, March 11, 2019
  50. ^ Province to study North Shore-Vancouver rapid transit line, North Shore News, May 14, 2019
  51. ^ Richter, Brent (April 6, 2020). "North Shore's R2 RapidBus makes quiet debut". North Shore News. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  52. ^ We're in a Housing Crisis. It's time we start acting like it., "BC Matters", June 12, 2018
  53. ^ Paul Ratchford: Paying tax is not a privilege!, "The Georgia Straight", June 16, 2018
  54. ^ North Shore MLAs take exception to prominent realtor's statement that NDP should be shot over property surtax, "Georgia Straight", June 11, 2018
  55. ^ Housing affordability top-of-mind at poverty reduction meeting, Vancouver Sun, March 3, 2018
  56. ^ Long Night of Hope raises $17K in North Vancouver, North Shore News, March 13, 2018
  57. ^ Carson youth raising funds for Covenant House, North Shore News, December 4, 2018
  58. ^ North Vancouver MLA Ma warns of rental hikes that flout tenants' rights, North Shore News, October 13, 2017
  59. ^ "2020 Provincial General Election Final Voting Results". Elections BC. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  60. ^ "Election Financing Reports". Elections BC. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  61. ^ "2017 Provincial General Election - Statement of Votes" (PDF). Elections BC. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  62. ^ "Election Financing Reports". Elections BC. Retrieved September 12, 2020.