Prince George Free Press
A two-candidate race would suit Heidi Redl just fine.
With a head start on other challengers looking to unseat Conservative Dick Harris in Cariboo-Prince George, the Green Party candidate says it could be time for an upset.
“It might be a two-horse race,” she said Saturday.
The NDP named university student John Van Barneveld as its candidate Saturday and the Liberals have yet to choose a candidate.
Redl has been the Green candidate for a couple of years now. It was the actions of the party during the last election that prompted Redl to get into politics. The party refused to endorse Douglas Gook as its candidate and parachuted in Amber van Drielen, who wasn’t from the riding and didn’t step foot in the riding during the campaign.
Redl said she called the party and told them they lost her vote.
“They said, ‘lady why don’t you put your money where you mouth is and do something about it,’” she said. “I’ve been campaigning ever since.”
Redl is a fourth-generation cattle rancher from the Cariboo-Chilcotin. She has lived in the Williams Lake area for most of her life, with short exceptions that took her to Victoria, Terrace and Germany for work and education. Although she graduated with a double-major in Russian and German languages from the University of Victoria in 1984, she returned to the Cariboo to marry and raise a family on a cattle ranch eight miles down the road from where she grew up.
Redl says jobs and the environment are top issues for her this election.
“Being Green, the environment is very important,” she said. “Being a cattle rancher, I know what its like to struggle just to put food on the table.”
Redl says there is a ‘green’ economy that British Columbia, being a resource-based economy, can tap into. And while she is not opposed to large developments, says First Nations have to be involved in projects such as the proposed gold-copper mine near Fish Lake, which did not pass the federal environmental assessment process.
“We are firmly behind the aboriginal position regarding the Prosperity Project,” she said. “And we still are.”
What she finds upsetting about the mine were the racial slurs that stemmed from the debate.
As for the Enbridge pipeline project, Redl says the proposed pipeline wouldn’t go through the Cariboo-Prince George riding, so deferred comment to Prince George-Peace River candidate Hilary Crowley.
However, she says the Green Party is not anti-business and actually quite fiscally conservative.
“With such a resource-based economy, we have to be practical and realistic as well as idealistic,” she said. “We have to take advantage of the green economy.”