Local Green Party candidate promises to clean up spending
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
The BC Green Party may gain a fair share of votes this provincial election cycle, due to their seemingly clear cut strategy that promises a brighter future and stronger economy for all British Columbians.
MLAs have begun campaigning to ensure that voters in the Metro Vancouver area are informed. Jonina Campbell, the Green Party candidate for New Westminster, is one such individual. Campbell is well-known as the city’s school board chair for the past two years, notably building two new schools and ensuring funds for New West secondary. In an interview with the Other Press, Campbell outlined her stance on important issues affecting students.
First and foremost, Campbell addressed the age-old question around legal drinking age from an interesting perspective.
“I think [the legal drinking age] speaks to bigger issues. When we look at alcoholism and addictions, there’s an age that society thinks we are responsible enough to make decisions,” said Campbell. “In the case of my brother who passed away due to alcoholism, I believe that it has to do more with ensuring that as a community, we come together to educate and provide support to those who are struggling with recovery because they can fall off the wagon every now and then. Speaking more towards that instead of a specific age ensures that former addicts can recover and get the right care.”
Campbell further stated that increased support is possible, but only with the “political force behind her to implement them.”
When it comes to marijuana legalization, Campbell would become a moving part in one of the nation’s biggest issues. With three levels of jurisdiction, everyone has a role to play: federal (to legalize marijuana); provincial (how old consumers must be, how much it will cost, and how it will be distributed); and municipal (bylaws and terms of enforcement and regulations).
“The BC Green Party will follow whatever the federal government will pass. Ultimately, it will be much more helpful if the federal government moves quicker and figures this out,” said Campbell.
On the subject of economic growth in the province, Campbell points out what she sees as what is meant to be invested in, and what is not.
“The longer we delay in starting to plan for the new economy by moving away from an economy rooted in the nonrenewable resources sector, the better. We don’t have to turn off the tap right away, but we must begin investing more in technology and innovation,” said Campbell.
“[Additionally], we hope to promote investment in home energy and transportation, as those jobs are much more sustainable for communities. It’s those kinds of jobs, instead of more traditional ones such as Site C Dam and LNG, that will be the jobs of the future. We have to have a party invest in the jobs of the future instead of the jobs of the past.”
The BC Green Party has taken a leap of faith by banning corporate donations to their campaigns. Since November, Campbell has been canvassing, door-knocking, and talking to residents about their concerns for the community face-to-face.
“If there’s one thing that resonates with voters, it’s the opportunity to elect MLAs who are committed to cleaning up the way we spend tax pay dollars,” said Campbell. “When people are funded by people, they are for the people. When unions and corporations fund the campaigns, they have a stakeholder position in those elected. This decision we’ve made inspires more confidence to represent people instead of corporations and unions. It’s not the easy thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do.”
Ultimately, Campbell said she believes that the best thing for students to do is vote, whichever way they lean on the political spectrum. She points out that no matter the result, the province will be making critical decisions that will impact students and the future economy.
“I hear from many retired citizens that they watch their children struggle with debt, finding an affordable place to rent, and finding their way into the job market. It’s far more challenging than their parents have experienced,” said Campbell. “[The] BC Green Party understands that and wants to address this problem. If you’re looking for a party that is committed to long term plans and not just campaign election cycles, pick the Greens. At the end of the day, [the goal is] getting out to vote, because it is your future that is being decided on.”
Campbell, the BC Green Party candidate for New Westminster, is racing against BC Liberal Party candidate Lorraine Brett and current NDP MLA Judy Darcy, who is running for re-election.