NDP candidate for MP, Richard Cannings
Ed Note: We asked all the candidates to send us a write up with a bio introducing themselves to our readers. All four will be published separately.
I was born and raised in Penticton on a small Veterans Land Act apple orchard. Like many kids who grow up in the Okanagan, I moved to Vancouver after high school and ended up working at the University of British Columbia for 17 years. In 1995, my spouse Margaret and I decided we would rather raise our children in the Okanagan than in Kitsilano, so we quit our jobs and moved to Naramata.
We set up our own consulting company; I did wildlife surveys and reported on the status of wildlife species in Canada, while Margaret worked for the Osoyoos Indian Band and local conservation organizations. For 12 years I was a member of the B. C. Environmental Appeal Board, travelling around the province to hear appeals from citizens who felt they had been wronged by government bureaucracy. That work taught me how the actions of government can directly affect the lives of people; it taught me to listen well; and it taught me how to write fair decisions.
So I know this province well—I’ve written a dozen books about its ecology and natural history. I also know Canada. I sit on the board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada and served for 8 years as one of the co-chairs of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. I have also served on the Forestry Appeal Board in BC.
Three years ago I was asked to run in the provincial election. I initially declined the offer—politics had never been part of my life plan, and I had an interesting and fulfilling career. But family, friends and colleagues all urged me to take the plunge, saying that we needed more scientists in politics. The election was a great challenge for me; I learned so much about my community and myself, and we came close to victory.
And now I’ve put my name forward as the NDP candidate for South Okanagan-West Kootenay. I am proud to be part of Tom Mulcair’s team in what I feel is the most important federal election in my lifetime. Our plans for investment in infrastructure and renewable energy will create a strong economy with good paying jobs while protecting the environment. Our national seniors’ strategy, including reversing Harper’s plan to raise Old Age Security eligibility from 65 to 67, will ensure everyone can age with dignity. Our support for small businesses by reducing taxes from 11 – 9% will strengthen job creation. And our childcare plan will create 1 million spaces and cap fees for parents at $15/day. With your support, we can bring much-needed change to Ottawa and build a fairer, greener, more prosperous Canada.
NDP Candidate, South Okanagan – West Kootenay