The BC Green Party’s local candidate in the upcoming provincial election says she’s not running to finish second place.
Kim Charlesworth launched her candidacy for the Nelson-Creston riding at an event Saturday night. She told a group of volunteers and supporters she thinks a strong grassroots effort can make an impact when the votes are counted in May.
“Now is the time,” Charlesworth told the Star. “People have voted strategically up to now because they were afraid the Liberals would get back in. I think the Liberals are going to get back in. I think the NDP have failed to inspire. They have failed to show leadership, and so people are looking for alternatives. The Greens are that alternative.”
Charlesworth moved to Nelson in 2003 and served one term on city council from 2008-11. It was during her time at city hall when she heard then-Green Party leader Jane Sterk speak.
What Sterk had to say convinced Charlesworth to join the party.
“That’s the moment when I realized how clearly all of those values spoke to me, [that] at that point I was going to become a member of the Green Party,” said Charlesworth. “I had been totally non-partisan up until that point, and I said, ‘wow.'”
The Green Party has finished third in the riding in the last five elections going back to 1996. Charlesworth said she wanted to run in the 2013 election but the party had already chosen candidate Sjeng Derkx, who earned 3,387 votes or 20.95 per cent of turnout.
That election was won handily by NDP MLA Michelle Mungall, but Derkx finished just 1,190 votes behind Liberals candidate Greg Garbula.
Those numbers give Charlesworth confidence as she starts knocking on doors.
“People are recognizing that the Green policies and the Green platforms are not way out there,” she said. “We’ve got a solid fiscal responsibility policy. We recognize that economics and jobs are the most important things in people’s minds. What we do that’s different is that we’re balancing environmental and economic sustainability with social prosperity and fiscal responsibility, and none of the other parties are doing that.”
The Liberals have not unveiled their candidate for the election.
Charlesworth is primarily concerned with nutrition and food policies. She joined the Nelson Food Cupboard in 2013 and is chair of the recently formed Kootenay and Boundary Food Producers Co-op.
That experience, she said, has shaped her goals for what she wants to achieve if elected.
“Food security is intertwined with social justice,” said Charlesworth. “It’s intertwined with the environment and it’s intertwined with our economies. I have learned that our current systems actually prevent the eradication of poverty. I have learned that when we reduce poverty in a community, everyone benefits, not just the wealthiest.”