Fairmont’s Samson Boyer, who ran for MLA in the 2017 election at the age of 18, is the candidate for the Green Party in the Columbia River - Revelstoke riding.
Boyer said he got into politics at such a young age because he wanted to make a difference in his community and didn’t see any point in waiting a few more decades to do so.
“I think it was harder three years ago, but the green movement I believe has really forced young people into the spotlight and gotten a lot of young people into politics,” Boyer said, adding the Greens have three candidates under 25 running.
Samson said he found it “disappointing” to see the NDP call a snap election, saying he feels they decided to choose opportunism over what’s good for people.
“They broke the Confidence and Supply Agreement they made with the Green Party, which stipulated that there wouldn’t be an election until four years,” Boyer said. “So I’m not happy with it, but there’s no real point in dwelling on it, we’re in an election, let’s work hard to do what’s right.”
The biggest concerns he’s heard from speaking with people in his riding are their finances and the pandemic.
“We are entering the second wave just as our kids are going back to school, and parents and teachers are concerned,” he said. “Thankfully we’ve had no huge jump at our schools, but still very well could happen, so I think it’s incredibly important that we roll out a comprehensive strategy moving forward with COVID.”
And issue specific to this riding he says is a lack of quality jobs.
“We’ve seen a decline in our forestry industry for over 40 years and people are worried,” he said. “Not only is it an environmental issue but it’s a job issue and so we need to support out forestry workers which I don’t think the Liberals or the NDP have done over their course in office.”
Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau recently voiced criticism of the NDP’s pandemic recovery plan, with one point being that they neglected the tourism industry.
However, Boyer said that at least in this riding, which has seen tourists coming from Alberta and Saskatchewan, the tourism sector hasn’t suffered as much as it perhaps has in other parts of the province.
“I don’t want to speak for everyone, there are people who are really having a difficult time, but it’s not hit us as hard as it’s hit others,” he said. “And what I think we need to be focusing more on is innovation and bringing better paying jobs here. Because tourism, it creates a lot of jobs, but not many of them are well paying.”
Boyer, who has a great deal of work experience in the tourism sector, said that there is a need to support tourism and small business, but it’s just as important to focus on what the future could look like, which he thinks means is bringing in tech jobs.
“COVID has shown that we can live and work online, so why choose to live in a city, when you can live in the most beautiful place on earth.”
In 2017, Boyer ran on a policy of decriminalizing drugs and offering safe supply, and he’d like to see that conversation push forward as the opioid crisis rages on.
“The opioid crisis has been something we as a province have been dealing with for over a decade now. It’s been horrendous, but the amount of death that we’ve seen in just the last couple of months is astonishing and soul crushing.”
Finally, Boyer said that as we are in a pandemic, the province needs leaders who are thinking of the future, and that we can’t go back to the normal.
“We’re beyond that now I do believe. So I think we need to have a new way of doing politics, one that’s focused on how we make things better and not focused on how bad everyone else has been doing
Let’s work together, this should be a moment to come together.”
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