In 2001 family obligations brought Peter back home to New Westminster where his passion for inclusion let him to become the Executive Director of the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. He is particularly proud of the Institute’s social enterprise business model which leveraged their expertise in sign language interpretation and assistive technology to generate revenue to supplement government contracts. This enabled the organization to dramatically increase the resources available to assist people to and gain employment and improve their lives.
Of course at the same time Peter remained active in the party and community organizing; including the fight to save St. Mary’s Hospital from demolition by the right-wing provincial Liberals. The destruction wrought by reactionary governments like this inspired him to accept the challenge when people urged him to run for the party in the newly redistributed Burnaby-New Westminster riding in the 2004 federal election.
No one expected Peter to win. Given the results of the last few elections we had a big hill to climb. But he did it! The first victory was a narrow one, just a few hundred votes. Since then the party’s margins of victory have increased in every single election.
Peter’s riding is now considered by friends and foes alike to be an NDP stronghold. It is a model for building a formidable social democratic foundation through dedication to the hard-working and diverse population of the community. The kind of hard work and dedication Peter brings to the leadership of our party and will bring to the country.
Peter is not just a public figure. He is a loving husband to Limei Tian, who has her own career working with children with disabilities as a Clinical Audiologist. He is also dad to Stefan and loved coaching basketball and soccer teams as Stefan was growing up.
When Peter is not in Ottawa or called away on other party duties he enjoys assisting Limei with her many gardening projects while she teaches him to speak Mandarin. He is so proud of the way she has covered both their yard (and a farm plot on Barnston Island) with vegetables they donate to the hungry in the community. She is also part of a network of seedkeepers in North America preserving heirloom tomato seeds as part of a global commitment to protecting bio-diversity.