Abra Brynne of Nelson and Kerri Wall of Fernie are both hoping to be the candidate for the Green Party in the Kootenay-Columbia riding in the upcoming federal election.
The decision will be made on July 14 at three linked meetings in Nelson, Cranbrook, and Revelstoke. People who have been party members for at least the previous 30 days within the riding will be eligible to vote.
Brynne has been working locally and nationally on food security issues and policy for many years.
She is the executive director of the Central Kootenay Food Policy Council, president of the Kootenay Co-op, the chair of board of USC Canada, and a volunteer on the Kootenay Organic Growers certification committee.
She is a founding member of many food-related organizations: the B.C. Food Systems Network, Food Secure Canada, the Canadian Biotech Action Network, the Canadian Association of Food Studies, the Canadian Association of Food Law and Policy and the Kootenay Local Agricultural Society.
She says two of her primary reasons for running are climate change and party leader Elizabeth May.
“I have observed how the weather is changing and have heard from farmers about how this in affecting what they produce and how they can produce it, affecting the viability of their farms. And observing all the extreme weather events, it is pretty clear that all the warnings they gave us decades ago about climate change are in fact playing out.”
She says wants to fulfill her responsibility to youth.
“Reflecting on what youth around the world are doing, striking on Fridays, also hearing about young adults in England going on a fertility strike because they are not sure there is a future for their children if they bring them into the world, I find the latter heartbreaking and the former inspiring.
“It is a call to me as someone who is 57 to take as much responsibility as I can for someone in my generation to make critical decisions.”
Brynne says the only way she could be aligned with a political party would be to base her participation on her own integrity rather than being whipped to align with a specific platform, and she thinks the Greens would allow that.
“Elizabeth May has given me the courage and willingness to enter into the political fray,” she says, “although I frankly find the competitive noise to be deeply troubling.”
Wall is an employee of Interior Health at the Elk Valley Hospital.
Wall told the Fernie Free Press that she chose to run after hearing about others who had declared their candidacy for other parties.
“I looked, and of these three declared candidates, they were all 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.
And 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 are 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 thing.”
Wall explained that through Interior Health, she has worked with many groups including local governments, whom she labelled as 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.
“[Justin 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.”
The Greens have named a Rosslander to run in neighbouring South Okanagan-West Kootenay.
— With files from Phil McLachlan, Fernie Free Press