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Prince George 2020 candidate profiles: BC Greens' Mackenzie Kerr ready to play underdog a second time

Kerr looking to make a statement in Prince George
MACKENZIEKERR1
Prince George-Valemount candidate Mackenzie Kerr. (via Kyle Balzer, PrinceGeorgeMatters)

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.


Mackenzie Kerr knows the pressure and amount of work needed to run as a candidate for government and now, she’s doing it again.

Kerr ran for the Cariboo-Prince George riding during the 2019 federal election for the Green Party of Canada.

She’s decided to try her hand again, this time provincially in running for the BC Greens in the Prince George-Valemount riding for the election slated for Oct. 24.

The 23-year-old announced on Sept. 26 that she had officially been acclaimed as the candidate.

She’s up against BC Liberal Shirley Bond, who has held the seat for five consecutive terms, BC NDP candidate Laura Parent and BC Libertarian Sean Robson.

Kerr says she decided to step up again and try to represent the north because she believes there are issues gone unchanged for a long period of time.

“I am running again because the issues I saw in our forest industry, our ecosystems, our democracy and political systems years ago, are still there,” she tells PrinceGeorgeMatters.

“I’m not going anywhere until I can tell my great-grandchildren that I did everything I could to make our community better than I found it and did it with grace, class and accountability.”

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.

Kerr says her campaign will be about her and what the BC Green Party can do for the people, not focusing on other candidates and being involved in harsh politics.

She also believes while Bond has been the face of the riding for close to two decades, she has a good chance against the long-time MLA.

“I think the Greens are being seen as the ‘relentless underdogs’ and I truly believe that this riding has the ability and potential to turn Green this election.

“I think I will fare just fine against Shirley and commend her on all of her incredible work. This election is going to be about what me and the Greens can do for you, not about the other candidates, playful banter only. Heckling doesn’t get us anywhere closer to our goals.”

While it may be a different election stage, that doesn’t change much of Kerr’s views and goals when it comes to strategy.

“The Green party values stay the same with accountability, transparency and democracy being at the top of the list but the goals are going to change because of the unprecedented circumstances," she explains.

“We have to adapt our campaign to be COVID-19 safe so we will be focusing a lot on phone canvassing, zoom ‘ask-me-anything’ events and reaching voters online. As for platform issues, my focus remains on a sustainable forest industry creating local jobs. We need long term solutions, not short term bandaids. The stability and accountability that the Greens can bring to government is another one of my focuses.”

She also states that sending a BC Green candidate in this riding would allow greater accountability and transparency.

“With a full caucus of Greens in Victoria, we can force real change on important issues like sustainable forestry and agriculture; and our transition to a new, green economy.

“I have the skills and ability to put the priorities of our riding ahead of party politics to get things done. I also have a unique perspective being 23 years old, trying to pay rent and go to school. The biggest difference and asset to being a Green MLA is the unwhipped vote. I have the ability to put our riding first and that’s what we need."

As with many candidates this year scrambling as John Horgan pulled the trigger on a snap-election Sept. 21, Kerr does wish the election could've taken place in fall 2021, but is also excited about the challenge ahead.

“I wish the election wasn't until next year but now that we are in it, I am VERY excited," she says.

“The short time frame makes connecting with people difficult but we are using every tool in our toolbox to make it happen. I am looking forward to working in Victoria as Prince George-Valemount’s next MLA if I earn the trust of the constituents.”

During last year's federal election, Kerr ran against the Conservative Party of Canada candidate Todd Doherty, Liberal Party of Canada's Tracy Calogheros, NDP's Heather Sapergia, People's Party of Canada's Jing Lan Yang and Independent Michael Orr in the Cariboo-Prince George riding.

Doherty retained his seat while Kerr finished fourth with 4,998 votes, equating to 9.1 per cent of the vote.

B.C. voters will head to the polls on Saturday, Oct. 24.