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Liberal candidate misled voters over property ownings: NDP

The B.C. New Democratic Party has accused B.C. Liberal candidate Margaret MacDiarmid of misrepresenting her financial situation at a candidates’ forum to win empathy from voters.

At an event sponsored by the Public Health Association of B.C. last Wednesday, MacDiarmid said she had difficulty finding a house in her riding of Vancouver-Fairview that she and her husband could afford.

The NDP today distributed a list of three properties that MacDiarmid owns in the province, including a condo in Vancouver, which the party says total almost $1.5 million in value based on B.C. Assessment records. The other properties are in Rossland and Mirror Lake, north of Nelson.

“It clearly shows just how completely out of touch MacDiarmid is with people who are actually living in poverty and who actually face these barriers of affordable housing,” said Jenn McGinn, the NDP candidate running against MacDiarmid in Vancouver-Fairview.

MacDiarmid confirmed today she owns three properties but said she was not trying to mislead anyone and apologizes if what she said was misinterpreted.

“I certainly regret if anyone is misled or offended by it,” she told The Tyee.

“We looked in a broad area of Vancouver and we did not think we could buy a house,” she said. She then clarified she could have afforded a new residence if she sold her other properties.

The Liberal candidate, a physician and former president of the BC Medical Association is married to Robert Hobbs, the former head of the BC Utilities Commission.

“We do have a very nice condo in Vancouver and we’re totally comfortable there,” she said.

“In no way was I trying to complain ‘poor me’.”

She said most people at the debate knew she was a physician and she thought her general financial situation would have been known.

The two other candidates at the forum for public health at the Vancouver Public Library included Green Party of B.C. candidate for Vancouver-False Creek Damian Kettlewell and NDP candidate Janice Harris from North Vancouver-Lonsdale.

McGinn says some of the top concerns she hears about from constituents in Vancouver-Fairvew are about housing.

“The number one issue that I hear about on the doorstep is about homelessness,” she said.

“We also are hearing from younger and also middle-age families and seniors just how unaffordable housing is.”

MacDiarmid said she also hears about these issues from voters and that homelessness and affordable housing issues are important for her and her party.

Garrett Zehr reports for The Tyee.

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