Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Prince George 2020 candidate profiles: BC Greens' Catharine Kendall wants to bring grassroots experience to the legislature

Kendall is running for Prince George-Mackenzie's vote
Catharine Kendall is running for the BC Greens in the Prince George-Mackenzie riding. (via Facebook/Catharine Kendall)

The 2020 B.C. provincial election is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24.

PrinceGeorgeMatters has reached out to all candidates in the city's two electoral districts for interviews to bring you these profiles.

After years of working on the ground with grassroots organizations, BC Green candidate Catharine Kendall is campaigning to be the next MLA in the Prince George-Mackenzie riding.

Kendall ran in the Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies for the Green Party of Canada during the 2019 federal election and finished third behind incumbent Conservative candidate Bob Zimmer and runner-up Mavis Erickson with the Liberals.

Kendall received 3,448 votes, which equated to 6.3. per cent.

“I ran in the federal election and felt that things needed to keep going,” says Kendall to PrinceGeorgeMatters about her decision to run provincially in a riding that’s traditionally been a BC Liberal stronghold.  

“There seemed to not be a lot of people wanting to take that flag and run with it so I thought now is the time.”

The BC Green Party has a total of 74 candidates running under newly-elected leader Sonia Furstenau, who took over from Andrew Weaver, which means they weren’t able to see each riding with a candidate.

Both the BC NDP and BC Liberals have 87 candidates in the running.

One of the issues Kendall is tackling while campaigning is food security in rural northern communities.

“I think that some really creative solutions around community development and we definitely have food system issue that needs to be dealt with in the rural north,” says Kendall.

“We need to be thinking about how we can create some food security.”

Kendall is very active in local and regional agriculture, has been the Vice President of Eaglet Lake Farmers’ Institute for 12 years and is an active director of Local Food Prince George, a non-profit aiming to create a Prince George Food Charter and educate community members about food insecurity, buying local and growing more local food.

“As we have seen it with COVID, grocery store shelves get emptied out. We need to be starting to think about those kinds of things and that is something, local food systems, that is on the table for the Greens.”

As the downturn in the forestry industry is one of the biggest challenges facing the Prince George-Makenzie riding, Kendall says stopping the export of raw logs and the need for more value-added opportunities are key factors to addressing those challenges.

“Certainly in the federal election that was a big issue too and I’ve talked to a lot of people in Mackenzie and area and they really want to see logs staying in the province and really upping the value-added opportunities,” she explained, claiming it'll require educating students in forestry and creating small business infrastructure training.

“We need an injection of funds where communities are actually getting the funding to build that kind of economy from the ground up.”

Another huge issue facing the riding, province and the country is the opioid crisis, a topic Kendall is also passionate about as she’s worked with youth and community development for two decades.

Kendall is the owner of Magenta Mare Consulting, a grassroots community development consulting firm that contracts anything from community music events to youth gang prevention.

She is also the Executive Director and co-founder of Connaught Youth Centre Society in Prince George, which provides programs for vulnerable children, youth and families.

“I worked in the social sector for over 20 years. I have known many people who have lost relatives to overdoses overtime and the statistics now are actually worse than COVID-19,” says Kendall.

“We really need a direct approach for harm reduction and making sure we are meeting the needs of the people where they are at. We have so many systems and approaches of services where we are trying to put square pegs into round holes and those just don’t fit certain people.”

She says the are many gaps in services that governments don’t provide and it’s the nonprofits are doing the groundwork to make sure community members' needs are met.

“We really need a government in place that meets those needs so the funding is able to trickle down and just meet the needs of our constituents.”

Kendall will be taking on BC Liberals incumbent Mike Morris, BC NDP candidate and current Mackenzie mayor Joan Atkinson, Raymond Rodgers with the Libertarians and Dee Kranz with the Christian Heritage Party of B.C.

Voters head to the polls on Oct. 24.