As a candidate for the Green Party in the recent federal election I had the privilege of spending time in communities across the Kootenay Columbia Electoral District over the course of my campaign. What is striking and what we have in common across each of our communities is the incredible beauty of this region – a beauty that for many of us reinforces a desire and commitment to live here. What is also striking, however, is the diversity in the character, history and economies of the communities united within this federal political boundary.
Meeting people and listening to the stories, issues, needs, successes and sources of pride in each community was humbling and inspiring. Common themes I heard across our region include housing, the environment, reconciliation and employment vulnerability, each with their own local flavour. Equally inspiring were the youth with whom I was able to spend time, many of whom are leading efforts in their respective communities seeking to enable livable futures for themselves and all creatures.
Elections, like social media, can bring out the best and the worst in people. Canada’s first past the post system is suitable for a two party system and necessarily creates division and dysfunction in a multi-party system. Nevertheless I believe that a multi-party system is a sign of a healthy democracy that allows the space for a multiplicity of perspectives and priorities.
I was reminded of this at each of the all candidate forums that were held across the Kootenay Columbia, where I had the opportunity to listen to and reflect on the policies, priorities and perspectives of each candidate.
Each candidate in this election secured votes, demonstrating the diversity of political agendas amongst our area’s residents.
The art of politics, and what now falls to Rob Morrison, as our elected Member of Parliament, is to discern the path forward that achieves the best compromise that seeks to enable all of us to live together peacefully and well.
Living peacefully and well, alongside our fellow citizens, is harder to do when elections and social media generate acrimony and discord.
I hope that we can all heed the call of youth leader Thea de Paoli in Kimberley and strive to be kind to each other.
Each challenge we face, whether it is very personal or more communal in nature, is easier to overcome when we can draw on the communities that are not just a factor of geographic proximity but are based in generosity, patience, and kindness – in relationships.
I am grateful to every person who connected with me over the course of the campaign and shared your thoughts and hopes.
A special thank you to my extraordinary campaign manager, Devon Caron, who kept me sane and on track.
I am profoundly grateful to all those who volunteered on my campaign, to those who chose to display one of my signs, and to those who voted for me, sharing my excitement for the vision held by the Green Party of Canada.
As for me, I shall continue to find ways to work within and contribute to the people and communities of this precious place we all call home.
-Abra Brynne, former Green Party Candidate, Kootenay Columbia