The federal election race in Kootenay-Columbia has traditionally been a four-party battle, but on October 19th, local voters will have the chance to consider a candidate from a fifth party.
Christina Yahn has joined race under the banner of the Libertarian Party of Canada. Throughout the next nine weeks, she is set to duke it out against the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, the NDP and the Green Party for a job in Ottawa.
“We hope to fire a shot across the bow at the status quo parties to let them know that liberty is something that Canadians value,” said party leader Tim Moen.
Yahn, who could not be reached for this story, is a beekeeper and founder of The Queen Bee Project, an organization that promotes natural beekeeping techniques.
According the Libertarian Party’s website, Yahn’s campaign platform involves food production, business regulations, the environment and foreign security.
According to Yahn’s campaign page (visit www.libertarian.ca/candidate/christina-yahn), food regulation laws in Canada have suppressed local food producers and benefited lower-quality bulk producers. Similarly, she believes current taxation policies benefit large businesses and put small businesses at risk.
“Small business and healthy competition is part of what drives a strong economy,” Yahn says on her campaign page on the Libertarian party’s website.
Yahn calls herself an environmental advocate and has sat on many boards for local environmental and beekeeping associations. One of her main passions is sustainable food systems, which she says benefit consumers and the environment.
As for foreign security, Yahn believes in non-interventional foreign policy. Essentially, she believes Canada can become a more peaceful nation by removing its military presence from other countries.
While Yahn could not be reached for comment, Moen, noting the differences between his party and its competitors, said the Libertarian Party is the only group committed to making government smaller and less present in the day-to-day lives of Canadians.
“You might describe us as socially liberal and fiscally conservative,” Moen said. “We want government out of our social lives and out of our economic lives as well. We want to maximize freedom for the individual.”
On the topic of keeping Canadians safe, Moen said his party supports the Swiss model of external security.
“We believe security is not helped by the invasion of privacy,” he said. “We do not want to mess around in the affairs of other nations with our military and we do not want to try to police the world like the Americans.”
In addition, the Libertarian Party calls for drastic changes to Canadian firearm laws and gun culture in a general sense.
“Citizens have a right to defend themselves and ought to have easier access to firearms,” Moen said.
“Every Swiss home has a military rifle in it. Nobody has ever invaded the Swiss and they do not seem to be having any problem with terrorists.”
The vast majority of Swiss men between the age of 20 and 30 are conscripted into the militia and undergo mandatory military training. Militia weapons are kept in homes, though it is not permitted to keep any army-issued ammunition.
Both in the riding and across the country, the topic of marijuana legislation has been a divisive issue. The Libertarian Party calls for most laws regulating the use of marijuana to be repealed.
“We want to limit the amount of regulation and allow people to do consenting things that are not harming anyone,” Moen said. “That goes for the whole drug war in general. We like the Portuguese model of decriminalizing everything and allowing it to become a health care issue, not a criminal justice issue.”
Another factor differentiating the Libertarian Part from its competitors is the age of its candidates. Most Libertarian candidates running in this year’s election are below the age of 30. In fact, many candidates are university or college students.
“Young people do not like status quo politics,” Moen said. “The fact that we have a lot of young people involved in the party is an indication that our party is a breath of fresh air to a lot of young people. We are training the next generation of liberty activists.”
Moving towards the election, Moen said his party has a realistic but important goal.
“Ultimately, we view our political action less as trying to get a seat and change legislation, and more as trying to put some big ideas into Canadian culture and political discourse,” Moen said.