Dr. Jane Shin wins NDP nod in Burnaby-Lougheed

The New Democrats will be represented by Dr. Jane Shin in Burnaby-Lougheed in the next provincial election.

Shin won the nod at the NDP's nomination meeting for the riding Saturday where she defeated challenger Craig Langston, president of the Cerebral Palsy Association of B.C.

“Jane is the first Korean-Canadian woman to run for the BC Legislature,"said BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix, in a press release. "Her background and experience as a medical professional, an entrepreneur and a community leader will offer a unique perspective and bring strong representation for the people of Burnaby-Lougheed.”

Shin, 32, was born in South Korea and raised in British Columbia. She said in an interview that, until now, she has never belonged to a political party nor been politically active.

"I was probably politically ignorant, like most of the people in my generation ... and it's because life is very easy and good for the most part for most of us."

But a year ago, she started realizing that "a lot of things we have we take for granted, it was starting to look like a lot of the things were starting to fall apart."

Talking to some of her students, she started hearing concerns about waitlists and the costs of tuition.

That's when Shin set out to see how she could help make a difference.

She wrote a "very benign inquiry" to Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan who suggested a few options including that "because of my profile, he felt as though I can be the figure that could outreach to the different demographics that are politically silent."

She's hoping to lead by example and hopefully encourage others of her generation to become more politically active.

Shin said she looked at all the parties but felt those involved in the NDP were more "down-to-earth" and "grassroots." She also felt the party was the one most in tune with her personal focus on wanting to improve the health care and education systems.

When it comes to health care, Shin said, "We have an amazing system but the system is not working ... Certain things are alarming but alarming in the way that it can get worse but not so much to the point that it can't be fixed and improved."

She believes there are relatively inexpensive "simple changes and switches" that can be made to make the system better.

While Shin has a medical degree, she is not a practising physician. She explained that the decision to go to medical school stemmed from her contracting an illness when she was 16.

"My parents being the great, great Asian parents they are, [said] 'We want you to do anything that makes you happy, just choose from doctor, dentist, lawyer,'" she said with a laugh.

But she fell out of love of practising medicine during her medical training when she found her interactions with patients limited to about five minutes each. As soon as she finished her training, she turned her attention to academic medicine.

She currently teaches at Vancouver Community College, where most of her students are budding health care professionals in pre-medicine, pre-dentistry or pre-nursing studies.

Shin also continues to teach part-time at the West Coast College of Massage Therapy in New Westminster.

The Burnaby-Lougheed riding is currently held by BC Liberal MLA Harry Bloy, who has said he will not be running for re-election. The Liberals have yet to announce their candidate for the riding.

The provincial election is tentatively scheduled for May 14, 2013.

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