Trevor Barry has announced his candidacy for Saanich council. He is running, among other policies, on the promise to liberalize laws against drinking in public. Submitted.

Candidate promises to crack open Saanich council with bold ideas

The latest candidate declaring for Saanich council promises to disrupt municipal politics with what he describes as “bold” ideas and plenty of Internet memes.

Trevor Barry, a self-described millennial with two children, said he is running because Saanich needs more young people on council.

“Boomers have had more than their fair share of time and influence,” he said. “The issues of today need to be defined as the concerns of tomorrow.”

When asked about bold ideas, Barry said he would like to see changes to Saanich’s park bylaws that allow responsible adult to consume alcohol in public parks. A self-described lover of micro-brewery beer, Barry last month joined some 20 other individuals in a local park to openly violate drinking in public laws as part of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

Read More: ‘Beer on the Beach’: more picnic than protest in Greater Victoria

In his available literature on the subject, he openly questions the hypocritical attitude towards alcohol in light of Canada’s pending legalization of non-medicinal marijuana.

“If you can smoke pot on the sidewalk, why not pop open a bottle at a picnic?” he asked.

A self-described policy wonk, who has served on North Quadra Community Association (NQCA), Barry also favours a variety of green policies and developed plans to change the very nature of municipal government. For example, he would like to see a council seat reserved exclusively for business license holders.

While small business represents the economic backbone of the the community, it lacks adequate representation, he said.

He would like to see term limits for councillors, or baring any legal challenges, measures that discourage politicians from staying too long in their respective offices to ensure a greater turnover. Councillors, for example, could earn less money, the longer they serve, he said.

While Barry readily acknowledged that some of his proposals would require significant alternatives of the Local Government Act — and therefore provincial input — he would like to see the discussion get started now.

Barry also appears willing to challenge conventions when it comes to election tactics. His platform available online as a pastiche of self-reflective insights (As much as I’m a millennial, I’m also a white dude. So I’m not exactly the minority candidate), policy initiatives, and pop culture gallery that includes ironic references to professional wrestling, Tolkiens’ Lord of the Rings’ saga, and perhaps the ultimate poster child of comedic snark, Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka character as played by Gene Wilder.

Barry acknowledges that his heavy use of internet memes might be off putting to older voters, who traditionally decide elections.

“If I’m only concerned about winning elections, my tactic is not a good one,” he said.

This said, Barry said one of his goals is to get more people under the age of 40 to the polls and if it takes pop culture to reach young voters, so be it.

Barry’s entrance into the race brings the number of non-incumbent candidates to 10. Also seeking a first term on council are Nathalie Chambers, Teale Phelps Bondaroff, Kathleen Burton, Ian Jessop, Rebecca Mersereau, Cory Montgomery, Rishi Sharma, Ned Taylor and Zac de Vries.

Incumbent Coun. Judy Brownoff, meanwhile, has officially confirmed that she is running again. Brownoff enters the race as the most senior incumbent, having served on Saanich council since 1993.

“If re-elected, I will work to connect our communities, conserve our natural environment, build our economy and meet housing needs, all requiring strategic planning for now and the future of Saanich,” she said.

Couns. Susan Brice, Karen Harper and Colin Plant are also seeking re-election, while Coun. Fred Haynes is challenging Mayor Richard Atwell for the city’s top job.

Couns. Dean Murdock, Vicki Sanders, and Leif Wergeland are not running for re-election.

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