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Federal Election 2019: A new economy with renewable energy investments a topic within Mackenzie Kerr’s Green Party platform

After being around ‘cynical’ voters, UNBC student hopes to bring fresh ideas
Mackenzie Kerr (left) is the Green Party of Canada candidate for the Cariboo-Prince George riding in the 2019 federal election (via Kyle Balzer)

On Oct. 21, Prince George residents will be voting for a member of parliament (MP) in either the Cariboo-Prince George or Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies riding.

PrinceGeorgeMatters has sent out a list of questions to those vying for a seat in the House of Commons.

Name: Mackenzie Kerr

Age: Over 18 years old 

Running for: Green Party of Canada, Cariboo-Prince George

Profession: Student. I have worked at Northwood Pulp for the last three summers as a summer student, as a farmhand and farmers market vendor this summer, and I am currently working on the campaign full-time taking the semester off. 

Neighbourhood you live in: Beaverly 

Previous political experience: 

I worked on another Green Party campaign on Vancouver Island this year for six weeks learning the in’s and out’s of how a successful campaign runs. I also had the opportunity to attend the North Central Local Government Association (one of the three municipal conferences) with Mayor and Council in May 2017 and this opened my eyes to how resolutions are passed and issues are brought from the community level to the provincial and federal government. While I was in 4-H, I had amazing opportunities to learn about budgets and boards. I sat on the National Youth Advisory Council as a national ambassador for two years and before that, I sat on the provincial council as a regional ambassador. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of politicians through 4-H and realized I loved public speaking and leadership. 

Who is your political hero?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 

In three sentences or less, what inspired you to enter the election race?

I have been surrounded by people that are cynical about politics and I still have some hope left for our future. If the right people are elected that will fight for what our communities need not what their party leaders tell them, we can turn this around. The people of Cariboo-Prince George need a strong voice to bring some new ideas forward as quick as possible. 

What’s the number one local issue at the federal level? 

The downturn in the forest industry, 100 per cent.

Beyond Prince George, what’s the number one issue facing Canada? 

Climate Change. 110 per cent.

What’s the best way for the country to deal with climate change?

Vote Green. Our climate change plan, “Mission Possible,” is the roadmap forward with a transition plan for oil and gas workers and an emphasis on the new economy. We need to be investing in new ideas like hemp and renewable energy. 

What is the biggest issue facing your party’s chance at success?

The stereotype of what it means to be green. I support sustainable forestry, local agriculture, and even drive a truck. The way our current system is set up is not the fault of regular consumers. We need to be making large multinationals take the responsibility of changing things like packaging and the federal government can help with that. 

Younger voters typically vote less than older voters. How will you engage and encourage young voters to participate in this election?

Younger voters feel cynical and disenfranchised. They will vote if they believe their candidate will truly represent them and has their best interest at heart. Our campaign is filled with young volunteers even as young as 14 years old. Reaching out to young people, showing them how to register to vote, and showing them all the options is the best bet. Young people are smart and can make their own decisions, they just aren’t given the time of day. 

What is your party’s leader’s biggest flaw?

She shakes hands with empty podiums

How will you make sure Prince George continues to be prosperous via federal politics?

As a Green MP, I can represent our riding to the best of my ability, without being told what to say by the party. This means that our riding will have all of my attention and I can continue to fight for the people of Cariboo-Prince George. 

Once elected, your job is to represent your entire riding. How do you plan on representing individuals who didn’t vote for you?

When elected as MP, I will represent every person in the riding. People who voted for another party, people who didn't vote at all, as well as those that voted for me. It’s extremely important to have the skills to stay level-headed and have a cordial conversation with everyone I interact with. I am currently trying to attend as many typically non-Green events as possible like car shows, business breakfasts, farmers' institute meetings, and forestry conferences. I would continue to do that when elected and expand the type of events I would attend. 

What informs your political stance? What books, publications, relationships or experiences?

Science first, then relationships and experiences. A lot of one-on-one conversations with experts in various industries. I also have been trying to complete a book, I Think You're Wrong But I’m Listening: A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations, for a while now that is focused on having nuanced conversations around politics and taking off our party “jerseys” so we can try and agree on the problems before trying to agree on just the solutions. Politics can be a very controversial subject and I think being able to have conversations with people that you disagree with is crucial to becoming a better person. 

What local project or service would you advocate for more federal spending?

We need more money put into local innovation. Organizations like Community Futures Development Corp. hasn't had a base funding increase in many years. We need community-driven solutions and organizations like these help fund solutions to local problems. We also need to start supporting our local farmers more, making local, healthy food a larger part of our diets would not only cut health care costs, but build our local economies. I sold produce all summer at the farmers market alongside farms like Hope Farm Organics and Cariboo Growers and they are genuinely the nicest people I have ever met.

Was Justin Trudeau’s decision to buy the TransMountain pipeline a good one? Why or why not?

I believe that buying the TransMountain pipeline was a bad idea. It was an old leaky pipeline and now we're stuck with an asset that is likely worth less than the sweetheart deal we gave Kinder Morgan for it.

What’s your favourite place to go for a quiet cup of coffee?

My back deck, or Books and Company.

Who would play you in a film?

Probably Anne of Green Gables, for obvious reasons. 

Complete the sentence...

When I’m not at home or at work, you can find me:...probably posting on Instagram about Beeswax wraps and zero waste alternatives. 

The most random, yet interesting fact about me is: 

I am currently completing my private pilot's license. Flying has been in my family for a long time and I am excited about the future of electric aviation. With Harbour Air investing in electric airplanes, there is hope, we just need the political will to make it expand across the country and world. 

Have you tried legal weed?

Yes. Three months ago for the first time. It gave me a headache and I haven’t smoked since.


Kyle  Balzer

About the Author: Kyle Balzer

Kyle Balzer graduated with distinction from BCIT's Broadcast & Online Journalism program in 2016. Since moving to Prince George, he has covered a variety of stories from education & Indigenous relations, to community interests & sports.
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