With her sister Jocelyn at her side, signing for the crowd of about 25 people, Mackenzie Kerr kicked off her campaign Thursday evening at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park.
Kerr is the Green Party candidate in the Prince George-Valemount riding.
She will be focusing on several issues during her campaign … the first being sustainable forestry.
“I want to talk a lot about stopping the spraying of glyphosate and how I think that is the move we need to make to create a sustainable forest industry,” she said.
Glyphosate is a herbicide used to kill broadleaf plants in the forests, including aspen and birch trees, to facilitate speedier growth of spruce, pine, and fir trees. Exporting raw logs is also a concern for her, saying it doesn’t help keep jobs “local.” She is also concerned about harvesting in old growth forests.
She said she will focus on local jobs and value-added products.
“We need to be supporting and subsidizing small forest companies that want to create sustainable businesses that are focuses on long term profits, not just short term band-aid solutions and short term profits.”
She added the province needs to create resilient communities with sustainable economies. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven home the point of how fragile our economy can possibly be and suggested a Green economy will help.
“That looks like investing in hemp, that looks like investing in solar, geothermal and other renewal energy resources,” she said. “We need to talk about ending subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and helping small scale renewal industries. We also need to be talking about indigenous-led renewal energy projects.”
She, like most people in the province, are critical of the early election call.
“I think people can see through it,” she said. “All of the excuses that we’re getting from (NDP leader John) Horgan aren’t very strong. We can’t promise that we won’t be dealing with COVID next year. Most of us are pretty upset at the timing of this election and someone needs to hold whoever is in power next to account.”
She pointed at issues as Site C, fracking, affordability as examples of where the NDP government didn’t keep its word.
“We need Greens in office to hold everyone accountable,” she said. “The Greens don’t play politics, we will support bills that are good for British Columbians regardless of credit. If there’s a good plan, and a good idea from someone else and we make sure every British Columbian is considered in bill, we’re not going to crush is just because we don’t get the credit. That’s how the Greens are different.”
She said “big powerful people,” are getting what they want and the rest of the population is suffering.
“We need to make sure we have regular people, and young people, and diverse people elected into the B.C. Legislative Assembly. The B.C. Greens always speak the truth,” she said. “They use science and make our province stronger.”
The forestry student at UNBC ran for the Green Party in the federal election last fall and almost tripled the Green vote in the Cariboo-Prince George riding.
She has been a national and provincial 4-H ambassador. She is in fifth year of studies at UNBC and her passion is “advocating for ecosystem-based management.”
She started a Green Party campus club at UNBC in 2019 and was elected as the university’s sustainability representative. She is co-chair of the B.C. Green youth council, which was founded in 2014. She was also co-chair of the Walk for Alzheimer’s for two years. She has worked in the restaurant industry, at the pulp mill, and a small not-for-profit farm.
“The B.C. Liberals have had this seat for 19 years and I think it’s time for a new perspective and I’m ready to be that new perspective and represent everyone this riding, not just the people who vote for me,” she said. “That’s the way the Greens play politics, we don’t play dirty games. We are here to represent people and put science first and not be partisan.”
British Columbians go to the polls October 24. Kerr will be challenged by incumbent Liberal Shirley Bond, NDP candidate Laura Parent, and Libertarian Sean Robson.