There is now less than one week left until the snap election called by Premier John Horgan in British Columbia. With voting day around the corner, Global Green News reached out to Mackenzie Kerr, Green Party candidate for MLA in the riding of Prince George-Valemount.

One of the youngest candidates on the ballot, Mackenzie is a 23-year old forestry student at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), which has given her valuable hands-on experience with environmental resources management. Prior to that, she was involved with 4-H, a youth development program, serving as both a provincial and national ambassador. She actively seeks to involve younger people in politics as a way to challenge the “old ways” behind policy-making.

In doing so, she has been at the forefront of a plethora of initiatives aimed at increasing youth representation in grassroots environmental politics, having spearheaded the Green Party campus club at UNBC in 2019. Additionally, she serves as the co-chair of the B.C. Greens Youth Council that was formed the same year. Mackenzie sees her youth as being one of the driving factors behind her political engagement. She is particularly eager to represent a generation that she deems is too often ignored by politicians.

“What brought me to politics last year was our unsustainable forest practices that I witness in the field everyday. The only way to change the policy is to run for office.”

Mackenzie Kerr, B.C. Green Party Candidate for MLA in Prince George-Valemount

Her platform reflects her experience in the field of forestry, as well as her own concerns growing up in a generation very likely to be impacted by the climate crisis. Mackenzie intends to facilitate the transition to a new economy geared toward renewable energy, which would encompass sustainable forestry practices. “Our forests are a renewable energy, but they aren’t being treated as such”, she writes on her campaign website. Mackenzie believes in the importance of having renewable natural resources in order to create local economic incentives and ecosystem-based forestry that remains viable on the long-run. She also stresses the importance of increased accountability in government, particularly in stopping governmental subsidies to the oil and gas industry, a response to the unique environmental issues facing the riding of Prince George-Valemount.

“We need MLA’s that have grown up with the internet, are dealing with mental health issues and openly talk about them, are in the LGBTQ2S+ community, […] and understand [the] ecoanxiety plaguing our generation.”

Mackenzie Kerr, B.C. Green Party Candidate for MLA in Prince George-Valemount

A member of the LGBTQ2S+ community herself, Mackenzie believes in the importance of standing up for the diversity of voices and experiences among the younger generation in B.C. that grew up with a chronic fear of ecological and environmental disaster. She believes youth representation is crucial to properly address and alleviate this anxiety, and to offer brighter prospects for the future of young British Columbians.

Mackenzie emphasizes the need to concurrently address both the current health crisis occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the global climate crisis, denouncing the British Columbia NDP decision to repeal the carbon tax amid the province’s coronavirus emergency response. and insists on the need to come up with a sensible action plan to tackle the climate crisis through forestry, regenerative agriculture, and education systems at the global, federal, and provincial level.

“Many of us are thinking about not having children because of what our future is looking like and we need an inspiring young person like myself to show people there is hope if we band together. Change is possible.”

Mackenzie Kerr, B.C. Green Party Candidate for MLA in Prince George-Valemount

The British Columbia general election will be held on October 24, 2020. Make sure to check out Elections B.C. instructions on how to vote.

Robin Vochelet

Robin Vochelet is in his fourth and final year at McGill University, currently pursuing a B.A. Honours in International Development Studies with a minor in Political Science. Originally from Strasbourg, France, he has a particular interest in politics and society of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as grassroots movements & civil society activism. In his free time, Robin is often seen visiting cute cafés around Montreal.

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