Youngest Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding candidate seeking animal protection and social justice

Youngest Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding candidate seeking animal protection and social justice

“I am young and I have so much conviction to fight for everyone’s future”

The youngest running Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding candidate is looking to make a better future for younger generations to come.

The 25-year-old Animal Protection Party candidate, Kira Cheeseborough acknowledged her inexperience when it comes to running in a federal election, but said it has been a rewarding process, thus far.

“I have seen a lot of people show gratitude towards myself running in the election as a young person – acknowledging it takes a lot of conviction to do that,” said Cheeseborough. “I feel a lot of passion and conviction in the message I am trying to bring forward.”

The party’s main objective is to protect animals from human harm but it also focuses on social justice. Cheeseborough has been advocating for a proactive policy change in regards to youth who are experiencing homelessness, mental health issues, substance dependencies and sexualized violence.

Cheeseborough said she has experienced some of these issues first-hand and hopes to bring forward the concerns of others by helping to provide a platform sharing their solutions.

“There is a lot of injustice in poverty, homelessness, sexualized violence, that I have seen first-hand in my own experiences ignites my passion to fight for both humans and nonhumans alike,” said Cheeseborough. “It’s contradicting to be fighting for human rights, women’s rights or advocating for decolonization when all of these issues also affect animals.”

As a young candidate, Cheeseborough said she is worried about the future of younger generations.

“I am young and I have so much conviction to fight for everyone’s future,” said Cheeseborough. “I grew up seeing massive change, my whole generation has. We are going to be future leaders and in 30 years, we are going to be the ones who have to deal with it – my generation, our children and grandchildren – will be impacted the most.”

Cheeseborough has been making her presence apparent throughout the riding but with an intimate approach.

“We are a small party and I don’t have a campaign manager or a volunteer team to help to canvas,” said Cheeseborough. “I can’t get to every person’s door, I wish I could. My campaign is also a low carbon footprint campaign. I don’t have giant signs around the city and rural communities.”

While climate change is an issue that has been pushed to the forefront, Cheeseborough said she wants to shine a light on what is happening in the forest industry and what it is doing to small rural communities.

“These workers need to be supported,” said Cheeseborough. “We need to look at the small businesses and the economy of rural communities. There are so many things that are pressing.”

Cheeseborough was born and raised in Kamloops, British Columbia. She is a bachelor of social work student at Thompson Rivers University and works as a peer navigator who coordinates a program to help former homeless youth obtain employment and pursue an education.

“Being able to bring forward a perspective that is from a young person has been an incredible experience,” said Cheeseborough. “This is my first experience, but I know what it is like. I do see myself doing this again in the future, whether it is municipal, provincial or federal.”