By Sophie Isbister, Staff Writer
Last Tuesday, the
held the first event in the campaign to elect Hector Bremner. The casual meet-and-greet took place at Hops Pub, centrally located underneath the New Westminster SkyTrain Station.
In an informal speech, Bremner stated his desire to shake things up in New Westminster—“I’m running for office not because I want to play the old partisan games. I don’t want politics as usual.” Bremner went on to comment about the current state of New Westminster’s representation: “We’ve had one side of the story since 1948, and New Westminster’s face is changing. And it’s time that the face of New Westminster’s representation in Victoria changed too.”
The Other Press had a chance to speak briefly with the MLA candidate shortly after his speech. He elaborated on the changing face of New Westminster.
“I was your age when I came [to New Westminster],” he said. “It was really hard to get work here and the economy was horrible. And in the last 12 years […] from when I came here in 1996 to where it is today, heading into 2013, [there is a] night and day difference.”
When asked how his campaign would reach out to students, Bremner discussed the current stressful climate surrounding jobs and debt repayment. Bremner focused on the BC Liberal’s strategy to reduce unemployment through training in the trades: “Our action plan is to put money into trades programs. There are jobs in this province, there are people without the skills to do them, so what we’re doing is getting people into those skills training programs and getting them into those jobs. [Our] opponents are like, ‘Here’s the money up front, you figure it out!’ And that doesn’t work.”
Of the several youth in attendance, The Other Press spoke with Allie Valiente, President of the Douglas Young Liberals and a former Douglas College political science student who now attends Capilano University. Valiente is active on Bremner’s campaign, and she hopes that Bremner will give youth a reason to vote in 2013.
“Hector is just so unique in the way that he’s young, he’s easy to talk to, and things that I have on my mind as far as policy that I want him to bring forward […] I know that those policies are going to be relatable,” said Valiente.
We also spoke with Kevin Romero, the new Vice President of the Douglas Young Liberals club. On the topic of youth engagement in politics, Romero said “I don’t think people realize [that] doing this kind of stuff just makes you better as a person and makes society better.” He, like Valiente, views Bremner as relatable to the youthful population in New Westminster. “He’s a young guy and he knows his stuff, he’s committed, [and] that shows you can relate to him.”
The social feel of the event seemed to match the way that Bremner hopes to run his campaign. “I’m not interested in dogmatic politics,” Bremner told The Other Press. “I’m not interested in [the idea that] you have to hate your opponent,” he continued. “I think the public doesn’t need more wedges; they need more bridges.”