B.C. ELECTION 2017: Looking for something really different? - InfoNews

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B.C. ELECTION 2017: Looking for something really different?

Peter Kerek (left) is a school bus driver and Beat Klossner (right) is a baker and they are the Communist candidates for Kamloops running in the May 9 provincial election.
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May 05, 2017 - 8:00 PM

KAMLOOPS – Yes, there are communists and a libertarian in Kamloops, and they want to offer an alternative to the main three parties in this provincial election.

Beat Klossner and Peter Kerek don’t expect to win seats. However, when the dust settles and the polling stations close at 8 p.m. on May 9, they both hope to have succeeded in reaching people who don’t feel supported by the Liberals, the NDP or Green parties.

Beat Klossner is a baker by day and the candidate for the Communist party in Kamloops-South Thompson.

He works the early shift at the Swiss Bakery downtown and says balancing the time commitment of running while working is tricky, but necessary.

“The biggest hassle is more of a lack of sleep than anything else,” Klossner says.

In the past, he’s been involved with progressive and socialist parties in Europe and decided to run in this election because he thinks Kamloops is missing a true, left, political arm.

“You can think about it, talk about it and complain about politics but at some point you have to take a chance and do something. You have to try. I don’t want to be here 10 to 15 years from now and think, well I should have done that,” Klossner says.

While he doesn’t expect to win a seat, he says the goal is to win enough votes to be taken seriously and give people another option.

“We are not splitting the vote. We are taking votes from people who would normally vote NDP or Green and hold their nose as they put their vote in the ballot box because they have no other choice. We are offering an alternative,” Klossner says.

He argues the Liberals, NDP and Greens in Kamloops are too similar.

“They are rearranging chairs, they are arguing who sits where and who is driving the bus, but the direction doesn’t change. That doesn’t work and it hasn’t for decades,” Klossner says.

Peter Kerek is running in the Kamloops-North Thompson riding.

With three kids, each under six years old, Kerek has his hands full when it comes to balancing family life, campaigning and his job as a school bus driver. 

“It’s been a real struggle, frankly. We have three young kids. My wife is totally supportive of our campaign, party and position and is stepping in to pick up my slack, as far as family obligations go,” Kerek says.

While he doesn’t expect to win a seat, he is pleased with the positive feedback he’s gotten from community members.

“My goal is to push a progressive agenda and put policies and ideas on the table that might not and would not be on the table if we were not campaigning for them,” he says. “Every vote we get is a message to the other parties that claim to be progressive that they are not doing a good enough job.”

This election is an opportunity for folks to vote with their conscience, rather than think about vote splitting, according to Kerek.

“I don’t expect to win a seat. I know money makes a huge difference and we don’t have a lot of resources to put into the campaign,” Kerek says.

Staff, advertisements, door knockers all require funding and even the money he makes in a few days of driving bus is a big contribution to the small campaign. But if they are able to reach people in search of a progressive party, it’s all worth it to Kerek and Klossner.

“If we have a really strong showing. That’s going to embolden people to stop supporting the capitalist parties and support a party that truly represents their ideas,” Kerek says.

Lastly, Jessica Bradshaw is carrying the flag for the B.C. Libertarian party in the Kamloops-South Thompson riding.

In a YouTube video Bradshaw says, “I’ve never been interested in politics and quite frankly I haven’t voted in the last few elections.”

“If you vote for me for your MLA, I promise to be your voice and I promise to go along with the will of the community,” she says.

Bradshaw did not respond to interview requests.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kim Anderson or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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