A Kamloops lawyer turned federal Green Party candidate for the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo wants to make sure there’s something left for his future grandchildren on this planet to enjoy.
“I read the news and then the report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) about basically the prospects if we don’t contain the warming of the globe quickly and decisively, and we don’t have a whole lot of time to make what are pretty substantial changes,” said Iain Currie, who is running for office for the first time.
“I’ve lived in this riding my whole life and all of my advantages I have I may just be able to barely pass on to my kids, but the prospect is if we don’t make some pretty decisive changes that my grandchildren won’t have the same quality of life that I have had and that I’ve enjoyed.”
Currie, who worked as a crown prosecutor from 1999 to 2017, has been a Green supporter and voter for a long time. In 2008, he won a contest the provincial government put on during one of their green initiatives. He was sent to train with Al Gore, a former U.S. vice president and famed environmentalist, to work on something called the Climate Reality Project.
During his training, he went around communities such as Kamloops, Sun Peaks and even as far as Victoria to talk to members of the public and public servants in the provincial government about how to tackle climate change.
After he left his position of crown prosecutor, Currie joined a small private practice in Kamloops.
“Being a lawyer can be lucrative and certainly challenging but opposed to being part of the justice system and trying to work for the people of British Columbia, it was different for me – sort of working for myself – and I missed that element of being something. Something bigger that’s aiming for the public good as opposed to my own personal good.”
Currie said that while the Green Party brings environmental issues to the forefront of their platform, it is often mischaracterized as focusing on trees and not people. He said the party’s intention, or at least his, is to seek compatibility of people’s economic interests with the Green Party’s interest in saving the plant.
“We’re seeing more and more evidence of the need to start of a new long-term cycle opposed to the short-term business cycle and resource cycle,” he said. “I was in Clearwater and talking to people there and reading about and talking about the closure of the Vavenby Mill… People talked about the cyclical nature of the resource industry, but that’s not a cycle we have imposed. That’s the business cycle we’ve imposed on mother nature.”
Currie added that the First Nations people have understood this for millennia. He also said the people who work on the industries on the ground, the people logging and farming and living on the land for the last centuries have also understood it and that imposing the business cycle on that “leads to this sort of problem.”
“Bringing long-term thinking to the economy is the same platform of fighting climate change,” said Currie. “It’s renewable, it’s sustainable. One of the principles of the Green Party is ecological wisdom…It’s thinking about these systems as not an economic system, which we’re going to superimpose on the natural world, but rather thinking about it as part of the same thing.”
Currie said the Green Party is a fiscally conservative party. According to him, many of the policies the Green Party stands for, and particularly the conservation of the natural world, are conservative positions.
“I’m obviously using conservative with a small ‘c’ because the large ‘C’ Conservative Party has lost that fiscal and ecological conservatism we do stand for. The Green Party is a sustainable community as opposed to a cyclical short-term economy and is for community-decision making as opposed to government pandering to big business and subsidizing them.”
Admitting that he is not a forestry resource management expert, which is why he’s turned to some people who are, Currie said he is critical of the system of tearing natural resources out of the ground, such as trees, and minimally processing them in order to ship them across the oceans where jobs can be created elsewhere and then the finished product shipped back to Canada.
“I think people are seeing, depending on prices of goods internationally and depending on the absence of tariffs from our neighbours to the south, depending on the business cycles and the whims of big business to control what happens to a community like 100 Mile has not worked out very well.
Currie thinks people are ready for a different approach: “Other than just voting for the least bad option between the major parties, or the party who is going to make the most empty promises to a community that’s hurting like 100 Mile.”