Story about young candidates from the Vancouver Province during the 2005 election, with me pictured.
by Jarrah Hodge
Here in BC we’re getting ready for a provincial election in a couple of months and as I see building excitement around me I can’t help but think about how the various new candidates are doing.
See when I was 19 I ran in the 2005 provincial election for the BC NDP against then Finance Minister Colin Hansen. And even though I never had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning, it was a truly unforgettable experience, at times fun, enlightening, exhausting, and surreal.
I should go back just a bit, to my Grade 10 Social Studies class in Courtenay, taught by none other than Don McRae, who would go on to become the BC Liberal government’s Education Minister under Christy Clark.
Even though our politics don’t align and I didn’t give him enough credit at the time, McRae was a one-of-a-kind, inspiring teacher. He used totally unique, fun, and creative lessons to teach Canadian history and politics. And the highlight of every class – at least for budding political nerds like me – was current events.
I feel like pretty much every day I’d bring in a news story to share with the class and more and more around that time (2000-2001), the stories were about the cuts and changes the new BC Liberal government was making.
I may have been a bit annoying.
But I just couldn’t get over this feeling I had that what they were doing was unjust. I was incensed when they refused to recognize the 2-member NDP caucus as the Official Opposition and when they declared BC teachers an “essential service”. I felt emotionally crushed when they cut funding to women’s centres and lowered BC’s child labour standards to allow younger kids to work tougher jobs.
I was an angsty teen but my angst came out in my politics as I lay awake in bed, wondering how Gordon Campbell and his Cabinet Ministers could sleep at night with the way they were hurting ordinary British Columbians.
So anyway, after one particular day of me bringing in a new list of cuts (much of this info came from my Dad’s copies of CCPA and Council of Canadians newsletters, as well as mainstream media), Mr. McRae suggested that I should look at joining the NDP.
He was teasing but it was the perfect thing to say. But I wasn’t ready to pick a party just based on them not being the BC Liberals. I went online and mailed away for copies of 2000 federal election platforms for the NDP, federal Liberals, and Greens.
I took them downstairs to my basement room and read through each one carefully. The Liberal party’s platform looked okay but I felt it lacked a strong connection to progressive values. I thought I would probably end up joining the Green Party because I’d been involved with my parents protesting logging on Denman Island during elementary school, but the platform felt so limited to me. Again, the policies didn’t seem to come from any particular set of values except value for the environment.
Reading the NDP platform, it was like things fell into place. The next day I tracked down a membership form and sent it in. Then I waited.
And waited. Read more