Green Party Recruiting PG Candidates
Prince George, B.C. – “We’re in this to win.”
The words of B.C. Green Party Leader Dr. Andrew Weaver when asked about his party’s goals when voters head to the polls May 9.
Never mind that promise seems to be a tall order for the Greens considering Weaver is their lone MLA.
“The problem of course is that there are 87 ridings and we have to find 86 candidates whereas the BC Liberals and BC NDP of course have fewer candidates to find,” he says. “So, we’re working our way though most regions.”
He said that includes Prince George where they only ran a candidate in Prince George-Mackenzie (picking up just six per cent of the vote) and not in Prince George-Valemount (Shirley Bond’s riding) the last provincial election.
“There has been some interest and I have spoken to a couple of people (he wouldn’t name names citing privacy concerns) and you know honestly people recognize that Shirley Bond is a tough person to beat,” says Weaver.
“There’s been some trepidation almost – she leaves this wake of fear about running against her. But you never know in politics.”
He says recent examples of that include the recent election of a Liberal government in the Yukon when there was but one Liberal MLA going into the campaign, Alberta where the NDP won when they had only had four at the outset and the federal Liberals when they entered the campaign as the third party.
He sees Prince George as fertile ground for the party though some voters still see them as being radically left-wing – something he says they aren’t.
“It’s not the case – we’re very progressive, very centrist, and we’re there first and foremost to represent people and small business.”
Weaver says he’s also up on northern issues, noting he was one of the early supporters of the proposed ski resort in Valemount.
“It’s a classic example of how you get resource projects to fruition – you have First Nations and you have the community on board first and foremost so that they become your strongest advocates. And I pressured the government to give them the approval so now the process is going forward.”
He adds a Green government would make Prince George the tech capital of B.C.
“Prince George has an enormous potential in terms of being a tech hub for North America frankly because one of the highest costs in data storage is cooling,” says Weaver.
“And you have a cooler climate which is a huge strategic advantage but the problem with Prince George of course is that the only two broadband lines going in are owned by Telus.
“So, you’re never going to get a big multinational like Google or Amazon come and dump their data distribution centres in Prince George because there’s no way they’ll be beholden to the one company that owns the two broadband lines going in.”
But he has an idea to address that hurdle – namely investing millions to open broadband in the North – starting with $6 million to bridge Chetwynd and Prince George.
“The public demands that governments build roads so they get from A to B. But the public should also demand governments ensure that there’s broadband access because that is the way information gets from A to B in the twenty-first century economy.”