A longtime Central Saanich councillor hopes his first provincial run fashioned around environmental and social issues will propel him into the provincial legislature.
Zeb King is the New Democratic candidate for Saanich North and the Islands, running against local MLA Adam Olsen running for the BC Greens and Stephen Roberts of the BC Liberals.
King, who voters first elected to council in 2002, becomes the final of the local candidates running under the banner of one of the three major parties contesting this year’s provincial snap election.
King said he entered in part because he wants to help the realize the New Democrats’ CleanBC plan, which promises to reduce provincial greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 40 per cent in 2030, pointing to this experience on environmental issues on the municipal level.
This work also revealed how municipalities lack the necessary jurisdiction. “I just passionately believe that if there is an opportunity, I got jump in with both feet. So that is what I decided to do,” he said.
King said the New Democrats have a better understanding of the relationship between the environment and social issues. “I have always been a New Democrat (and) I feel that they have a better picture of how to bring people, working people and the community in Saanich North and the Islands along,” he said.
While King’s local advocacy of environmental issues is familiar, his decision to brandish his environmental credentials raises the question of why local voters should replace their incumbent MLA from the Greens with a candidate from another party.
“I have had experience,” said King. “In fact, I was on council with Adam Olsen for a period of time. I was never a Green, but I always fought for climate action, I have always fought for all sorts of other environmental policies and I have had success on those. But there are other issues to it as well.”
They include health care, he said, in criticizing the BC Liberals of managing health care during their period of office.
King’s first run on the provincial level is against figures familiar with the ins and outs of campaigning provincially with Olsen and Roberts running for a third time.
With the election underway for a week now, it raises the question of whether King will be able to make up any ground in terms of logistics and name-recognition.
”I would argue that with the pandemic and all the crises we have, in many respects, this isn’t perfect. I love going door knocking, but we won’t be doing that, which I feel badly about. But the fact of the matter is that that the issues that are of concern to me, whether it is health care or (taxes)…this is of concern to me enough that I am willing to do everything I can to try to reach people.”
King acknowledged that the timing of the election is not ideal. “Perhaps for some it’s inconvenient timing … but for me, so is climate change, so is the opioid crisis.”
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