In my early years as I was trying to establish my career I guess I was kind of a “closet Green,” doing community service as a member of the North Vancouver City Council and volunteering for organizations like the BC Gifted Children’s Association and the West Vancouver Otters Swim Club. But when I learned how badly the Woodfibre and Port Mellon pulp mills were destroying the Howe Sound ecosystem I stepped forward and joined the Save Howe Sound Society. Our campaign to regulate the pollution from these pulp mills resulted in a drastic reduction of dioxins and furans flowing into the Sound and the eventual closure of the Woodfibre plant. Yet, to my surprise, my friends and associates in the construction industry did not disown me.
This taught me an important lesson about being Green – if you do the right thing in the right way you can have allies that you never expected. We all benefited from having a healthier Sound. I built on that experience by helping to create the Green Chamber of Commerce, BC – the first organization of its kind in Canada – which is all about working collaboratively to develop sustainable businesses and jobs.
The climate crisis is global, and our approach to solving it must be global as well. With that in mind, I led a private business delegation to Chaozhou, China in 2014 and signed an initiation agreement with that city to develop a China-Canada Environmental Protection Equipment Industrial Park, planned to be designed on an eco-city model.
I very much believe that business can have a vital, positive role to play as we transition from our dependency on fossil fuels. There are good jobs in clean energy, in habitat restoration, in energy-saving retrofitting of existing homes and new construction of affordable housing that reduces the costs of ownership through energy efficiency. This is an approach I hope to expand as your Member of Parliament.
In 2017 I ran for the BC Legislature from this riding as your BC Green Party candidate. I came in a respectable 2nd, with 29% of the vote against a popular incumbent. Since that time, I have put a great deal of thought into what I could have done better in that campaign and continued to reach out to people throughout the riding to better understand their problems and aspirations. I’m definitely prepared to be a better candidate this time around and have a well-organized team behind me and supporters lined up to help with finances and time.
Our riding is big and diverse, with economies driven by agriculture, the arts, a multitude of industries ranging from recreation, service and tourism to mining to high tech and info tech. Our communities go from rural to big city suburban. I won’t pretend that I already have all the answers to all the issues of our various communities, but if my experience from all that I’ve done to this point has taught me anything, it’s taught me that listening is a great way to learn. My personal goal is to help make our riding a shining example of how listening and collaborative problem-solving can improve our environment and our quality of life at the same time. I believe that my passion, experience and skillset have led me to this point and that I’m up to the task.
I suspect that most people who come to embrace the values of the Green Party initially do so out of love and concern for their own children. I’m no different in that respect. My sons are Millennials, and the challenges they face — a climate crisis, jobs phased out due to automation, lack of affordable housing, the high cost of continuing education, medications, dental expenses, and income disparity are shared with the rest of their generation. But they are the fortunate ones. Much of our Indigenous population suffer the additional burdens of violated treaty rights, high incidence of discrimination, murder and suicide along with the depletion of their traditional sources of food. Still other communities are plagued by alcoholism, drug abuse and inadequate mental health services.
So, there is a great deal to be done. Not just for my children, but all our children. There is a future to be secured. A better future, and it will take a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve it. That’s the work I want to do.