Fernie’s Kerri Wall has thrown her hat in the ring to represent the Green Party of Canada for the Kootenay-Columbia region in the upcoming federal election this October.
Wall, an employee of Interior Health at the Elk Valley Hospital, is one of three in the region to announce they are running for the Green Party.
Nelson’s Abra Brynne and Kaslo’s Judson Hansel have also chosen to run.
This is in addition to those who have announced their candidacy for the other political parties: incumbent MP Wayne Stetski (NDP), Rick Stewart (People’s Party of Canada) and Rob Morrison (Conservative Party). A federal Liberal Party candidate has yet to be declared.
Wall says she chose to run after hearing about the others who had declared their candidacy.
“I looked, and of these three declared candidates, they were all three white men in their 60s,” said Wall. “And I just thought, well, that’s not enough diversity for our riding. We need more choice.”
Wall said she also wanted to represent a group that is taking climate action seriously.
Since she put her name forward, two others in Nelson and Kaslo, announced their candidacy. Wall said the Green Party candidates are not seeing this as a competition; they see it as a way to raise the profile of the party, and spread awareness about the emergency of acting on the climate.
The vote for the Kootenay-Columbia Green Party candidate will be on Sunday, July 14. There will be three simultaneous votes – one in Kaslo, Nelson and Fernie.
All Green Party members who have been members for at least 30 days and reside in the riding, can cast a ballot, if they show up at the meeting.
“So if it’s me then I would kick it into high gear as the candidate in the riding. And if it was one of the other two, then I would throw my support behind them,” said Wall.
Of course, Wall’s hope is that the Green Party will be elected in the upcoming federal election. Aside from this, she said she has real concerns surrounding the current electoral system in Canada.
“I really think a proportional representation system would be a lot better,” said Wall. “I’m really into collaborative government. The whole idea behind our House of Commons is that there’s representatives from all over the country who come together to work together to solve problems. And I’d really like to see it more like that instead of this whole party-politics, answer to corporations type-of-a-thing.”
Wall is no stranger to corporations and governments. She explained that through her work with Interior Health, she has worked with many groups including local governments, whom she labeled as very non-partisan.
“It’s very non-partisan. People want to meet the needs of their citizens. They care about their communities. And I really think that’s essentially what the House of Commons should be,” she said.
“He (Trudeau) promised that we would have proportional representation by now – and we don’t. So that’s an order of business that’s extremely important to me, on top of the climate agenda,” said Wall.
Wall explained that she’s been around politics long enough to become interested in it, and feels she is ready to step into the role of a community leader.
“People who are decision makers in government now; it’s not like they’re any smarter than you or I, they just have a certain kind of experience probably, or a certain kind of confidence. It’s not like they’re better suited to the role, they just had an opportunity to learn about it.
“I think we could all learn how to be decision makers in that way.”
If successful in her bid to represent the Green Party, Wall knows that it will bring with it a lot of responsibility and hard work; four years of it. She also knows that the bid for a position in politics can be more of a popularity contest than not. She added that she’s not sure that she’s ready to embrace the title of politician – she would much rather be known as a leader.
“If I can help move the needle on some certain things and I create enemies along the way, I won’t be the only politician to have done that. And if I get in for four years and I don’t get voted in again, it’s because I don’t want to play the popularity game. I’m there for another reason,” said Wall.
To read about the individuals who have announced their candidacy for the other political parties, visit Thefreepress.ca and search for the political party.