Hondo Arendt, a history and political science professor at Northwest Community College, has put his name forward as the Green party candidate in the May 17 provincial election.
Mr. Arendt said he’s always liked the Green party and decided to run after learning that the local Greens were having trouble finding a candidate. He has never run for public office before.
“I’m not dreaming of a huge political career,” he told the Observer Monday, adding that his goal is not to win the riding but to collect at least 600 votes. That’s 60 more than the 540 votes Green candidate David Konsmo collected in the 2001 provincial election.
Even though he doesn’t expect to win, Mr. Arendt rejects the idea that a vote for him is a wasted vote, saying that his candidacy will allow people who support the Green party platform a place to put their vote. The increasing number of people who are voting Green across the province is influencing policy even if they haven’t yet managed to elect an MLA, he said.
For example, he said, the NDP used to support fish farming but is now saying the issue needs to be looked at much more closely and is rejecting open net fish farms.
Mr. Arendt also rejects strategic voting, saying it makes no sense to support a candidate you don’t like just to make sure one you don’t like even more doesn’t get elected.
And he said it’s a myth that the Green party drains votes from the NDP, saying that three people have already told him they would be voting Liberal if he hadn’t entered the race. Another significant source of Green votes, he said, is from people who wouldn’t vote at all if there wasn’t a Green option.
“I think the Green platform is a very solid one,” he said. “It’s the party platform that really looks at the big picture.”
The Greens differ from other parties in their long-term view, he said, with ideas being evaluated on their effect over many years and across all regions of the province. “It’s an intelligent kind of attitude to take,” he said.
The single transferable vote system, which will be the subject of a referendum alongside the provincial election, would probably benefit smaller parties like the Greens and Mr. Arendt said he is personally in favour of it. Official party policy is not to take a position and let the voters decide, he added, although candidates are free to express their own preferences.
Mr. Arendt said there are several politicians throughout history who he admires. One modern-day politician who has gained his respect is David Anderson, the Liberal MP from Victoria who was until recently the federal Environment Minister.
The 39-year-old candidate has lived in the north coast area for 13 years, the past nine years in Prince Rupert.
Mr. Arendt probably won’t be coming to the Charlottes or anywhere else in the riding outside Rupert because his campaign has a “zero budget”. However, he and his family – wife Katherine Walsh and their three daughters, ages 3, 7 and 16 – have been here a couple of times on vacation.
His 16-year-old daughter is quite excited about his campaign and has been chatting to all her friends about the upcoming election, although he noted ruefully that they’re just a couple of years too young to vote.
His seven-year-old daughter, meanwhile, is hoping her dad doesn’t win because she doesn’t want to move, he said.
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