Camrose resident Geordie Nelson has thrown his hat into the election ring as the Green candidate for Battle River-Crowfoot riding.
Nelson spent his earliest days in Ottawa before his family moved to Wainwright when he was 14 as his father was posted there with the military.
A graduate of the University of Alberta Augustana Campus in Camrose, Nelson earned his Bachelor of Science in environmental science.
He now works at Augustana as the Conference Services Coordinator.
It was during his years in university that Nelson was involved in various extracurricular activities, earning the Augustana Leadership Award, according to his biography. As part of his degree, he also studied in Québec, Costa Rica, and France.
Nelson said he has always been drawn to the Green Party for its commitment to the natural environment.
“Typically most families don’t talk about religion or politics but that’s not the case for my family,” he explained during a recent interview. “It was very common to talk politics when the relatives came over – current issues and politics were always being discussed.
“I really believe that democracy is participatory – it’s not a spectator event,” he said. “Everyone needs to play their part whether by voting, staying informed, or writing your MP about the issues you care about.”
To Nelson, doing his part at this point seemed to be campaigning for office.
“I’ve been very passionate about environment issues. And so, when the riding boundary was re-designated before this last election, I was asked if I wanted to help set up an association for the riding.
“I did, and I’ve been involved with that over the past four years, three of which I’ve been the financial agent,” he said. “Now, I feel like that is a really great time for me to try this. I think it’s important to see young Canadians running, and I have (formed) a large social network here in Camrose, so I thought now is a great time.”
Nelson said that although environmental issues may primarily come to mind when people hear about the Green Party, it also offers a full platform that includes the means to balancing the budget.
He noted that another plus to the party is its emphasis on democratic reform, something the Liberals promised to tackle but didn’t follow through on, he said.
He said Green Party MPS are also free to vote as they see fit – according to the needs and views of their constituents. They aren’t forced to follow the party line.
“There might be issues that have regional differences, and there is freedom in the party with that (to vote accordingly).
“They also advocate for a more collaborative approach so that if someone from another party has a good idea, someone from the Green Party would also be willing to work on that to achieve it, because ultimately it would be what would benefit Canadians,” he said. “It’s not about ‘who’ got something in, but that it did get in,” he said.
Nelson said that transitioning to a greener economy should be framed as something hopeful, not “fear-based” as well.
“How do we envision a different society where we have healthier communities, healthier food that we are eating and where our communities also also work better for us and are more sustainable for the natural world that we live in?
“I think a lot of people are getting really tired with politics and politicians and how it works. Unfortunately, we have seen some broken promises. Trudeau had a very clear mandate of electoral reform and then didn’t do it.”
That kind of disillusionment can lead to what Nelson described as ‘reactionary’ voting.
“I’m running on the slogan, ‘Not Left, Not Right, but Forward’. It’s an alternative rather than (having) the more reactionary politics that we are seeing.”
Nelson said he’s also heard concerns over the divisiveness that can be seen surfacing in Canadian politics.
“It’s important to be exposed to perspectives that are different from your own,” he said. “I think that is playing a much larger role with politics all over the world where everything seems to have become more polarized,” he said.
“It’s something important to address, and see how we can understand people coming from different perspectives.”
Canadians head to the polls on Oct. 21st.