1) What is your background, and why are you running?
I’ve cowboyed and worked in mines, I served in the military for a short time, I’ve been a range manager and an environmental economist, I’ve founded and built companies and industry and cultural non-profits. You can see my bio online at www.johnkidder.ca.
My family has been around Ashcroft since the 1930s. I worked here as a ranch hand, and did range surveys and ranch assessments. I moved back to Ashcroft 10 years ago after my wife died, to our family place on the Bonaparte.
I love this land and this town. I’ve been active in music and theatre and a bit of politics.
And I love this country. I was born and raised in the north, went to school in B.C., Québec, Ontario, and Labrador, and I’ve been all over for work and politics.
I was a founder of the Green Party of B.C., the first Green Party in North America, in 1983. I spent 40 years as a federal Liberal, party executive, and candidate. I quit when Justin Trudeau said we needed more pipelines. Not water for reserves, better health care, or action on global warming—pipelines.
Now I’m married again, to Elizabeth May, Canada’s most effective parliamentarian. With Elizabeth on the front bench in a new Green caucus, I will be the best Member of Parliament this riding has ever had.
2) What do you see as the top three issues facing the riding?
a) Climate and environment. Some 160 kids and adults—10 per cent of our town—marched on climate strike. We know what’s happening. Greens will deal with it.
b) Attention to smaller communities. Our towns compete for little grant handouts to placate us. There’s no sensitivity to our issues in Ottawa, no strategy for rural towns and reserves. Greens will change that.
c) Local economics. The Green strategy for building out local energy, and retrofitting homes and buildings to conserve it, will create employment and business opportunities in our towns. Local businesses, not multinationals, will be suppliers and employers. We can do it at home.
3) How will you balance dealing with the different needs and challenges of large Fraser Valley communities and small rural ones in a very large riding?
We’re all small. Our largest town is Mission, at 45,000 people, and they can’t get federal help for an essential sewer upgrade. We all need better transportation, local employment and business opportunities, and better health care.
I’ll listen. I’ll have a town hall meeting in every community in the riding every two months. I’ll carry your messages to Ottawa. A small town backbencher in a big urban party will not be heard. John Kidder and the Green Party will. When I’m your MP, you’ll be represented.