100 Mile House resident Gina Myhill-Jones was acclaimed as the New Democratic Party of Canada’s (NDP) candidate for the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding in the upcoming federal election in a series of meetings on Sunday, May 26.
“On one level or another I think I’ve always been political,” said Myhill-Jones.
After firsthand involvement with Bill Sundhu’s 2015 campaign, Myhill-Jones decided to run for the nomination.
“I watched the process and watched Bill go through that process, so when they asked who was willing to step up, I did.”
Myhill-Jones is still living and working in the area. On May 26, she held three information sessions to party members in 100 Mile House, Clearwater, and Kamloops.
“The purpose of each meeting was to affirm me as the candidate,” said Myhill-Jones. “There was still a nomination process, we still went through the voting and acclamation process at each of those centres.”
During her presentations, Myhill-Jones outlined both her personal experience and an overview of how she became interested in politics.
“Even as a very young person, I became interested in activism and advocacy,” she said.
“I think from a very young age I actually saw a lot of inequality when it came to people with disabilities or the elderly, or veterans.”
Wherever and whenever possible, Myhill-Jones is also trying to stand up for the rights of women, particularly in 100 Mile House, where she served as a safe house coordinator for several years.
She said that nothing has been clearer than the outcry for affordable, safe housing for women and children in the area.
“Not just in 100 Mile House or Clearwater or Kamloops,” said Myhill-Jones. “Every centre of course, whether it’s rural or urban, has their own needs, but so do women and their families.”
Safe, affordable housing for all is one of Myhill-Jones’ main priorities.
“The other thing I’ve seen people really needing access to is quality healthcare and PharmaCare so that nobody has to decide whether or not they’re going to buy groceries or they’re going to buy their prescription. Everybody should have access to life-giving drugs if they need.”
Over the past few years, Myhill-Jones says she’s also become very concerned about our climate.
“I know that’s a buzz word, that’s what everybody is saying,” she said, “But really, I had the leading edge of the Gustafson fire three kilometres from my rooftop.”
People can be sure it’s not rhetoric talking, said Myhill-Jones, who explained that her family actually stayed behind at the ranch while the fire was that close.
From this point forward, Myhill-Jones says there will be very little time to relax and regroup. The actual election campaign will take place during September and October.
“From this point, one of my main focuses is going to be making sure that I actually hear what the constituents of Kamloops-Thompson Cariboo, really listen to what they want represented, what they want to know, what they need help with the most. Trying to find out where the concerns actually are.”
She has assumed that issues such as safe housing, Pharmacare, the environment are concerns shared by all. There are also local concerns to consider.
The concerns of people in 100 Mile will be quite different than the concerns of people living downtown in Kamloops, she said.
“I think people really need to know that they’re being at least heard and that those concerns are gonna go forward. If nothing happens immediately, they need the reassurance that the issue will be revisited and that it will go forward.”
Myhill-Jones wants to see more jobs built into the economy of the region and, specifically, as municipalities transition into greener technologies, she hopes that communities will find a way to have locals working with those advancements.
Another concern for Myhill-Jones surrounds adequate communication in rural areas, an issue that candidates of more urban ridings may not have concern for. Myhill-Jones hopes to be a voice for issues such as this, which directly affect the lives of locals.
In the coming months, she will be visiting communities in her riding on a regular basis.
“I’m proud and so excited to be named as the candidate,” said Myhill-Jones. “I’m absolutely ready to roll my sleeves up and get done whatever work needs to be done in this riding.”