The person who filed a successful complaint against a Saanich Police officer will run in the next provincial election.
Andrew McLean will run in Saanich South for the Libertarian Party of B.C. several months after the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) had upheld his complaint against the officer.
McLean filed the complaint following his January 2016 arrest during which he refused to show identification to the officer who was investigating a suspected arson case. The officer then put McLean in a wrist lock, taking him to the ground and placing a knee onto his back.
Retired judge Wally Oppal later found this conduct constituted abuse of authority “by using unnecessary force and by detaining and searching [Andrew McLean] without good and sufficient cause.”
McLean said he had already made the decision to run before this incident. “I didn’t know whether it was going to be provincial or federal at that point,” he said. “But that experience certainly heightened concerns around police accountability.”
McLean says he is not running to wreck anybody’s reputation. “But I think it is an important issue, along with a variety ofother things,” he said. “It is more of a symptomatic issue. It is a symptom of a larger problem…that being, too much power in the hand of the state.”
Canada is “severely lacking” police accountability, he said. “We do have the (OPCC), but police as a matter of routine investigate themselves, which is a clear conflict of interest. That shouldn’t be happening and that is an issue I hope to be able to effectively address in this campaign. We need accoutabilty when it comes to policing.”
McLean also wants to raise a number of socio-economic issues such as house affordability and illegal drugs during hiscampaign.
“I’m running primarily because I am getting really tired of big government interventionism within our lives,” he said.
“It seems the government’s solution to every problem is to tax it and if you can’t tax it, then want to ban it. It is all about taking more and more and more from families, which makes it harder, harder, and harder to for families to get by on a dailybasis.”
McLean said among other things that he is concerned about excessive taxes as well as burdensome rules and regulations,“most of which are regulating completely harmless behaviours.”
McLean’s decision to run under a libertarian banner comes during a period of populism criticial of free market ideas and a growing demand for measures to mitigate income inequality, trends he admits represent a “huge challenge” when running as a libertarian.
“The only acceptable role for goverment as far as I am concerned is in the defence of freedom, liberty and personal property,” he said.
“That is why we have law enforcement [and a military force]. I would describe myself as a minarchist libertarian, meaning that I support the idea of government, but to a limited extent.”
Consider McLean’s position on minimum wage. “I would not advocate increasing (the) minimum wage at all,” he said. “In an ideal world, the government shouldn’t be involved in setting the new price of labour. That being said, I would not go as far as to eliminate the minimum wage law altogether. The minimum wage issue is a contentious issue amongst the voters and I respect that.”
By running in Saanich South, McLean challenges incumbent New Democratic Lana Popham, B.C. Liberal Dave Calder and B.C.Green Mark Neufeld, and history shows independent candidates regardless of their respective political affiliation struggle to win seats under B.C.’s winner-takes-all electoral system.
McLean recognizes the long-shot nature of his campaign.
“In terms of the odds, they are not in my favour,” he said. “Practically, I would consider it a success, if I were to pick up more than five per cent, which would historically be quite the achievement.”
This said, he has also seen a growing recognition of the term libertarian in the political discourse.
“Even though, the liberatarian party has never elected a candidate, the reality is that mainstream politics and mainstream media is starting to use that term much more,” he said. “The libertarian movement is having an influence.”