Andrew Mercier

ELECTION: Langley City council candidate Andrew Mercier

A Voter’s Guide to key election questions.

Andrew Mercier

Running for a seat on council in the City of Langley

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Lawyer, 33

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• Have you held office in past? If so, please specify: No

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Candidate provided bio: Andrew is a new father and long-time member of the Langley community.

He was raised in Langley City, and attended Blacklock, Simonds Elementary, and LSS.

He currently serves on the board of governors of the University of the Fraser Valley, and the nominations and elections committee at Vancity Credit Union.

Andrew is a lawyer and member of the Law Society of British Columbia.

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Facebook: Stand Up for Langley

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Website: andrewmercier.ca

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• Who is your favourite superhero, and why? No answer

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There are 16 candidates running for six councillor seats with the City of Langley. The following arequestions asked of each candidate hopeful. They were directed to provide a minimum of a Yes, No, or Don’t Know answer, and given an option to expand on one answer in print (to a maximum of 100 words per question). They could expand on all questions online, if they wished to do so. The following are their replies.

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Questions and Answers:

1. What neighbourhood of Langley do you live in?

Answer: I live by 56th Avenue and the Langley Bypass

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2. How many years have you lived in Langley?

Answer: I have lived in either Langley City or Township my entire life, with the exception of a year in Vancouver and a few years back east for college.

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3. How many Langley City council meetings have you attended in the past year?

Answer: I have, unfortunately, not been able to attend any council meetings this year.

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4: Should the City be directly funding social housing to reduce homelessness?

Answer: Yes. Langley City is in the midst of a homelessness crisis. The solution isn’t tent cities—its supportive housing. To the extent that the City can afford contributing to social housing costs, it should. Dealing with this crisis through emergency services is the single most expensive—and ineffective—approach that can be taken. Any money spent on supportive housing will flow back to the City through lower policing and emergency service costs. This has the added benefit of freeing up the police to address the auto theft problem plaguing Langley City neighbourhoods.

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5. Do you support elevated rail over light rapid transit from Surrey to Langley?

Answer: Yes.

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6. Should the City’s industrial area be phased out in favour of residential and commercial development?

Answer: No. Development needs to be balanced—Langley City needs an area for new industrial development. One of the biggest contributors to climate change is our daily commute. The best way to decrease commuting time isn’t by imposing an unfair mobility tax (which I oppose), but to ensure that good-paying jobs are located closer to where folks live. If Langley City is going to be a vibrant, walkable city, then preserving land for industrial development is critical.

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7. Would you vote to raise taxes to hire more police?

Answer: Yes. The scope of Langley City’s auto crime problem is shocking—there are neighbourhoods in the City that are treated like shopping malls, with folks’ cars being broken into sometimes multiple times in a week. As Langley City grows, and Skytrain comes to town, the need for policing will only increase. The City needs to work with the local police to make auto crime a priority, and prepare the police department for the future that will come along with the vision detailed in the City’s Nexus Plan.

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8. Do you agree with the growth estimates for Langley City in its new Nexus of Community strategic plan?

Answer: Yes.

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9. Should Langley have its own municipal police force, replacing the RCMP?

Answer: No. Langley City is well served by its RCMP department. While crime is an issue in the City, there is no reason to think a municipal police department will be more effective at handling it than the RCMP. Not to mention the start-up costs of a new police force are astronomical—cars, officer training, buildings, and equipment. That money would be better spent putting more boots on the ground.

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10. Should the City fund an arts centre?

Answer: Yes. The construction of an Arts Centre in Langley City is overdue. An Arts Centre would not only provide a valuable and needed community space in the City, but it would also attract people to the downtown business area. This would have a great impact on surrounding businesses and neighbourhoods.

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11. Does Langley City need an indoor swimming pool?

Answer: No.

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12. Should Langley City lobby for its own urgent care centre?

Answer: Yes.

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13. Do you think residential property taxes are too high?

Answer: No.

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14. Should the City amalgamate with the Township?

Answer: No.

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15. Should the municipality offer tax breaks, incentives, or rebates to companies looking to set up shop here?

Answer: Yes. Langley City needs to attract industry. An incentive or tax rebate is a powerful policy tool, but it is also one that is easily abused. Any rebate or incentive offered to employers looking to relocate to Langley City should be linked to the amount of jobs created. Good quality high-paying jobs located within a reasonable proximity to residential areas—close enough to get to, but far enough away not to intrude on folks’ quality of life—are critical for building a walkable community. Public policy needs to work in Langley City’s interests so that residents see the benefits of any tax breaks that are offered.

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16. Is Langley City being pushed to grow too fast?

Answer: Yes. The current pace of development in Langley City is leaving a lot of folks behind. There is nothing wrong with development itself. On its own, development is benign—but it needs to be managed. Langley City is becoming increasingly unaffordable. Council needs to prioritize and fast-track the development of affordable housing. It’s not enough to put up a new condo building if it means folks are pushed out of their homes and forced to leave the City or live on the street.

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17. Should Langley City take more direct action to combat the opioid crisis locally?

Answer: Yes.

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18. Should the City encourage the creation of more rental and low-income housing?

Answer: Yes. Langley City is losing affordable rental units. Many renters—including seniors—are facing increasing housing insecurity. If elected to Langley City Council I will support the use of rental-based zoning to ease the pressure on the rental market. Protecting existing affordable rental units is the least Council can do. In addition to this, I support incentivizing and fast tracking the construction of affordable rental units.

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19. Should the City taxes be cut by cutting services?

Answer: No.

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20. Should there be a limit to the number of consecutive terms a member of council can serve?

Answer: No. Residents have the power to limit terms through elections.

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