More than most Greens can say, I have been blessed with an established infrastructure within my own riding.
My friend Joe Keithley, who many of you have met at your doorstep, or out cancassing on the street, worked his butt off to build strong rapport with the members in our community. He gained their trust by showing steadfast commitment to their best intrests, and by proving his dedication to our Green values. This year, however, he has decided to run in his home town of Burnaby, which left a vacancy in Coquitlam Burke Mountain.
As is typically the case for Greens, it would be fantastic to support an experienced and qualified politician who we can depend on, but at least in BC (except, of course, for Oak Bay Gordon Head), we do not have any professionals to rely on. What we have instead is a large group of dedicated and passionate citizens who have grown so fed up with the traditional, warring parties that we have been spurred into action. Within the realm of the party, however, I have been priviledged with a great deal of experience, both here in the Tri-Cities, across Canada, and soon to be the globe.
After my stint with the federal campaign of 2015, many politicians (including the elected ones) went into dormancy. I, however, decided to get busier. I decided to run for the Communications chair on the Young Greens of Canada Council, and to my delight I was voted in. I was since appointed Co-Chair, and now I sit as one of two Youth Representatives on the Federal Council for the Green Party of Canada. Thanks to the support of my own, local Greens, I have been honoured to act as representative for Coquitlam at several conventions, in Victoria, Ottawa and Calgary. Now, even more exciting, I have been chosen as a delegate for Canada for both the Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas and the Global Greens Congress in Liverpool, England, at the end of March. Here I will employ my communication skills, including Spanish, Portuguese and French fluency, to help shape the Global Green movement and bridge relationships between countries all over the world, particularly the global South.
So, while perhaps not experienced as an elected government official, I am very fortunate to have more than the average amount of governance experience, and even more so to have had the opportunities to represent my fellow youth and fellow Canadians provincially, nationally and globally.
At just twenty-six years old, there is a lot of the world that I have yet to experience, but in these brief couple of decades, I like to think that I’ve crammed in far more than many folks several times my age. I’ve had my eyes opened, to see the brutal reality of the world, but also the beauty that can be found alongside. I’ve lived many years abroad in developing countries, and I’ve seen how things work in other places much more similar to our own home.
My mother was a forester, and my father makes green energy. I know how things ought to be done in the environment, but I can also balance that with the economic progress required to help us transition towards greater sustainability.
Most of all, I’ve got a great team to help guide me along the way. My team here in Coquitlam is warm, encouraging and tireless. My team across the province is wise and experienced. We have an astounding diversity of skills at our disposal, and we are all working towards the same, unified goal.
Lastly, I am encouraged by my people here in the community. While political action can be the most effective way to legislate change, we still have to BE THE CHANGE before AND after election season. Whether it’s working with youth, dogs, environmental activists or fighting for democracy, my friends and neighbours here in the Tri-Cities have continued to push me down this road, to support me even if the battle is clearly one that will be fought uphill. They have seen me working for the greater good, not just grandstanding for votes a few months before the writ is dropped. And it’s true, regardless of what happens on May 9th, there is still a great deal of work to be done. Life has not gotten easier for youth in BC, or for members of the LGBT community, or for seniors, or for young families, or for first-time house-buyers, or for the sick or mentally ill, or for the homeless, or for our refugees. There is still so much that needs to be done, and unless our government changes its tune, there will likely be even more to be done in the coming years.
May 9th is not the be-all or end-all for politics. The sun will rise on the 10th, as it will on the 11th and 12th, and you’ll still find me here, sleeves rolled up and ready to get to work.
But gosh it would be great to make some bigger strides from within the Legislature! #VoteGreen