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 in an interview with The Echo. Moen, based in Calgary, is running 85 candidates across the country.
Yahn, a resident of Nelson and the Slocan Valley for 12 years, is a mother, beekeeper and founder of the Queen Bees Project, an organization that promotes natural beekeeping techniques, and sells bee-related body products and candles.
According to Yahn, food regulation laws in Canada have suppressed local food producers and benefited lower-quality bulk producers.
“I would like to localize the food security issue. A lot of current regulations stifle our farmers and stop them from bringing food to market at a competitive price or at all. The bureaucracy around having chickens and bees in the city is absurd and it is a basic right to feed yourself and your family including to pollinate your crops. We need community gardens, community greenhouses, and we would be more than willing to work with city councils to make a realistic plan about this,”
Similarly, she believes current taxation policies benefit large businesses over small businesses and individuals.
The Libertarian Party puts individual freedoms first.. and is very against corporate welfare,” Yahn said. “We would end all forms of corporate welfare and corporations would be taxed accordingly. We would end subsidies, bailouts and tax breaks.”
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.
On the topic of peace, she is calling for a radical change to how First Nations relations are handled across the country.
“We would end the treaties that were put in place hundreds of years ago but do not reflect current realities,” Yahn said. “If they were to become sovereign nations they could protect their private property rights on their territories. It would immediately give the power back to the First Nations to have proper consultation so they can protect their lands.”
Yahn also believes in localized forest management, drug abuse as a health issue, not a criminal issue (the Libertarian Party calls for most laws regulating the use of marijuana to be repealed), less gun regulation and privatized health care.
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.”
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
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.
As for Yahn, she said she is going to do as much as she can with her limited resources, while balancing her small business and family.
“This is the first time a Libertarian has run in this riding,” she said. “It will be a grassroots campaign. I will use social media as much as I can and attend debates.”
With files from Bill Metcalfe/Nelson Star