New candidate gives valley voters a green choice

Green Party candidate Laurel Ralston is the fourth entrant into the race for the MLA position in the Columbia Valley-Revelstoke riding

Laurel Ralston of Kimberley will serve as the Green Party of British Columbia's candidate in 2013 for the Columbia Valley-Revelstoke riding.

Laurel Ralston of Kimberley will serve as the Green Party of British Columbia's candidate in 2013 for the Columbia Valley-Revelstoke riding.

As many of the valley’s most contentious issues revolve around the environment, the Green Party of British Columbia is offering a voice to address the deer cull, Jumbo Glacier Resort, and more.

Green Party candidate Laurel Ralston from Kimberley is the fourth entrant into the race for the MLA position in the Columbia Valley-Revelstoke riding during the 2013 provincial election.

“We’re taking a long-term view and really looking generations into the future instead of just the next four years,” she told The Echo. “And we take that very seriously through our policy.”

The provincial Green Party is being led by Jane Sterk, who is running in the Victoria-Beacon Hill riding. While the environmentally-friendly party has yet to win representation in the Legislative Assembly, they continually hold a significant portion of the popular vote (8.3 per cent in 2009).

“The Green Party’s values align most closely to what’s important to me,” said Ms. Ralston, who cited participatory democracy, sustainability, relevant policies for seniors care as issues of importance to her. She’s also pushing for more provincial support for small and new businesses.

While she had nothing negative to say about the incumbent during an interview with The Echo, she feels green values will better serve the province.

“I don’t feel that I’m running against Norm here, I’m running for the Green Party; I’m running to represent Green values. I’m going to really get the word out — these are values that resonate with a lot of people in this area, and I think that voters are really concerned for their future and want a government that’s also looking towards the future while taking a co-operative approach.”

Working as a musician and a writer, “in a fairly equal measure,” Ms. Ralston boosted her creativity in recent years by furthering her studies in philosophy, which “allows you to think really critically about problems and to put a lot of pieces together to take a holistic view, and to see how the structures that are in place affect the way that our lives are run,”she said.

After growing up in Ottawa, Ms. Ralston moved to Kimberley seven years ago. It was here in British Columbia where she became politically charged. She says serving as the president of the Arts Council was her first step into larger-scale leadership, as working with the community organization found her working with the City of Kimberley and other non-profit groups.

In the 2011 municipal elections Ms. Ralston ran for city council in Kimberley. Though unsuccessful, she dealt with many still-relevant issues, such as the culling of deer.

“The deer cull was supported by a lot of the population, and if that’s what the people want then the municipal government has a responsibility to respond to that and take appropriate action,” she said. “Preventative measures are the way to go, to prevent the population from ballooning like it has in the past.”

And when it comes to the addition of a ski resort on Jumbo Mountain, “I absolutely do not support that project,” she stated. “Both from an environmental perspective and from a social perspective, I don’t think the people want it.”

The Green Party platform can be found on their website at www.greenparty.bc.ca.

 

*Ms. Ralston’s application is currently pending. The three confirmed Columbia Valley- Revelstoke riding candidates for the May 14th provincial election as of April 24th are BC Conservative Party candidate Earl Olsen, BC Liberal candidate Doug Clovechok, and NDP incumbent Norm Macdonald.

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