British Columbians go to the polls to elect a new government on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. GayVancouver.Net has asked each of the four candidates in the Vancouver-West End riding for answers to seven questions. We will publish their unedited answers as they are received. First up is Mathew Kagis, candidate for the Work Less Party.
I feel our political system is broken. I think that by representing the most densely populated riding in BC we can change that. The West End has the potential to be a model for other regions in building grass roots community involvement and sustainability.
What is the #1 issue facing British Columbians and how will you and your party work to address it?
So many issues, so much to be done. Looking at it from the perspective of a first responder (airway, breathing & circulation being paramount) I would have to say it is the pipeline/tanker issue. The destructive power of these projects has the potential to destroy vast swaths of the BC environment and to destroy our ability to survive, planet wide. We cannot allow these destructive projects to go forward. The Work Less Party will and does oppose these developments. In or out of the legislature we will continue to educate the public on the destructive potential of these projects and will continue to lobby all levels of government to halt them and invest in clean energy alternatives.
What is the #1 issue facing residents of Vancouver-West End and how will you and your party work to address it?
Cost of living and food security. Rents are too high, and far too much of what west ender’s eat is brought in from outside the community. Our party believes in guaranteed minimum incomes, rent control legislation and food independence. Vancouver currently produces 12% of it’s own food, compare that to Hong Kong which produces over 70% of their food. Making more public space available for gardening, making residential AND commercial space affordable are HUGE priorities for Work Less. We would make $$$ support and space available to expand local food production and sales, immediately.
What is the #1 issue facing the LGBTQ community in British Columbia and how will you and your party work to address it?
You’re about to get an honest answer from a politician (Sounds like an oxymoron, right?): I don’t know. So, my approach would be to consult, listen and learn. I’m certain that members of the LGBTQ community and the individuals and organizations that actively work on LGBTQ issues, know what those issues are, and how they would want govt. to respond to them. So, rather than trying to tell a community what issues face them, I’ll listen.
What will be your first priority should you be elected?
Community consultation. This dovetails into my answer to the previous question, and I believe it is something many politicians fail at spectacularly. Work Less believes in horizontal grass roots democracy. Too many politicians, once elected, immediately begin to ignore the wishes of the people who put them in office. My first priority would be to talk directly with the people of the West End. Using community meetings, online forums, whatever forms of communication are available. if I am to represent almost 50,000 people, I’d like to know what those people think I should be doing, I work for them after all.
Who is your personal hero and why?
Romeo Dallaire. When I read ‘Shake Hands With the Devil’, it was a game changer for me. What Dallaire faced in Rwanda was horrific, he did everything he could despite being abandoned by the international community. His later struggle with PTSD and his attempts to take his own life were haeartbreaking. That he faced these personal demons, was able to write about his experiences and has now gone on to champion causes to fight child soldier slavery around the globe is an inspiration. He is also the only Canadian Senator appointed in the last decade or so who I feel deserved the appointment, and who is using the position to create positive change.
What one word would describe you as a person?
For more information on Mathew Kagis and the Work Less Party visit http://www.worklessparty.org.