Rebecca Helps, of Port Moody, is being parachuted in as the candidate for Vernon-Monashee, and while she knows a local candidate is always preferred, she at least wants the public to have the option of voting Green.
"Being Green and voting Green is saying you want something different," Helps says. "We need something different for the economy, the environment, none of the (other) parties address that. Often people take the stance of choosing the lesser evil, but when people vote Green, they're saying they're sick and tired of that, they want to vote for the idea that things can be better."
Helps is currently the executive director for the B.C. Greens, living and working in her life-long home of Port Moody. Growing up in a small town taught her the value of a strong local economy, something she believes the Green party could build in Vernon.
"Here, the economy is dominated by agriculture and forestry. We need to add value to those sectors," Helps says.
Creating jobs by opening flash-freezing facilities in the Okanagan is a staple of her campaign. "People eat fresh local food in the summer, but the rest of the year we're importing frozen and canned food," Helps says. "When you bring these facilities to the area, you can deal with excess food, promote food security, and create needed jobs."
She also advocates removing PST from B.C. made products, like wood furniture. "People will buy made in B.C. if it's not too great a cost," she says, admitting she owns some Ikea furniture because province manufactured products come at a high price.
On a recent visit to Vernon, Helps was impressed with the active transit infrastructure in the city. She says she would pave the way for more of that.
"I'd hate to see Vernon become the next Kelowna," she says. "There is a role for the province in helping guide communities to plan sustainably, and ensure we don't have urban sprawl here in Vernon."
Purging the government of inefficiencies is fundamental to Helps' platform. She says there's a chronic philosophy of, "It's always been this way, so we can't change it."
"Our approach is let's get in there, it might make people upset at first, but it has to be done. We need to look at where we're wasting time and resources, then shift them to other services."
"We know the money is there, we just have to move things around a bit."
Helps plans to make appearances in Vernon in the next few weeks as she juggles her role as executive director.
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