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Green Party taps teen as candidate in Columbia River-Revelstoke

Samson Boyer is the Green Party candidate in Columbia River-Revelstoke. - Contributed
Samson Boyer is the Green Party candidate in Columbia River-Revelstoke.
— image credit: Contributed

By Steve Hubrecht, Black Press

The Green Party announced its candidate for the upcoming B.C. election, bringing to four the number of people in the race to replace retiring NDP MLA Norm Macdonald.

Columere Park resident Samson Connery Boyer may be just 18 years old, but he is gunning hard to make large gains — it not win this riding outright — for the Green Party come this May.

Boyer said his desire to run for the Greens was inspired partly by helping out in the campaign for federal Kootenay-Columbia Green Party candidate Bill Green in the 2015 Canadian election, and partly by the Green Party's growing focus on economic as well as environmental issues.

"It definitely helped push me in that direction, although I've been interested in politics for a long time," he said, adding he's been a supporter of federal Green party leader Elizabeth May for a while, but before that he was "in the Liberal corner."

Boyer applied to become the party's Columbia River-Revelstoke candidate in November and faced no competitors, but a lengthy vetting process meant he only formally announced his candidacy last Monday, March 6.

He conceded he's in a unique situation — the first time he is legally able to vote, he will be voting for himself.

"I thought about that, but I realized I want to speak for Columbia River-Revelstoke and I might as well do it when I'm young. Either I start now or I wait a few decades, have a career, then come back to give politics a shot," he said, adding his opponents would be wrong to use his age as an attack point.

"I speak for the next generation; you can't discount our voice," he said. "(NDP candidate) Gerry Taft got into politics at a young age and that worked out. If anybody should be supportive of other young, inexperienced candidates, it's Gerry."

Taft was nominated to represent the NDP in October, and Liberal candidate Doug Clovechok the spring before that, which means Boyer has a lot of catching up to do on the campaign trail.

"I definitely feels a bit of David against Goliath, but seeing as how Norm's not running, I think there's a chance for the Green Party or another third party or an independent to make big strides, if not win," he said. "I think people are skeptical about Gerry. He's been a really good mayor, no doubt, but there are a number of people skeptical about how he'd do as MLA. Doug, I've known him for a while, and he's a great guy, but there are a lot of people in the valley fed up with the Liberals. The NDP and Liberals are the big, established parties here, but this year I think people look at them and see it as having to choose the lesser of two evils." Boyer's background includes working for the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce and in the valley's tourism industry as a lifeguard and ski and snowboard instructor at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. He is also a beekeeper.

Boyer was homeschooled and is working toward his Dogwood diploma but has not quite finished yet since he must be 19 years old to complete it. His future plans include law school.

For Boyer, the biggest issues in Columbia River-Revelstoke are the planned Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort and protecting the area from jobs losses, such as what was experienced in Canal Flats when its mill shut down.

"Thanks to that (the mill closure), we're probably going to lose the school (Martin Morigeau Elementary). Canal Flats is in a phase of complete reconstruction, because they don't know what to do or how to bring in new people and support them financially. We need to address that, and stop that from happening in other places," he said.

To find out more visit his candidate website at www.bcgreens.ca/samson_boyer_bio.

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