Today’s Poll

Independent candidate seeks economic, ecological ‘sanity’

John Boivin Local Journalism Initiative
By John Boivin Local Journalism Initiative
March 24th, 2017

A man running as an independent candidate in the Nelson-Creston riding says he wants government to do more to help the Kootenays benefit from its resource riches — in an ecologically-sensitive way.

Tom Prior, a businessman and ecological activist, says he decided to throw his hat in the ring after seeing thousands of raw logs hauled out of local valleys last summer, but not producing good paying local jobs.

“This was haunting, and the continued loud silence from local politicians was in the end too much,” he says of his decision to run.

Prior says as MLA, he’ll focus on developing value-added jobs in forestry, mining, agriculture, and other elements of the regional economy, which he says have been abandoned by politicians.

“It would appear the current Nelson/Creston regional, provincial and federal representatives cannot connect the dots that would help kick start value added production for our raw materials, that are being gleefully given away by current provincial/federal politicians and the confusing maze of forestry and environmental bureaucrats,” he says.

However Prior says resource extraction has to take place in an environmentally responsible manner.

Prior says he’s been active in environmental issues for decades, including developing recycling programs at local hockey arenas in the 90s and fighting private hydro dam proposals several years ago. He says he wants to fight for the end of ‘dirty oil’, and slams the construction of a dam on Treaty Eight land and farms on the Peace River.

“We need a new breed of courage,” he says. “An Independent voice that is sane, economically and ecologically.”

Prior has lived in the area since 1977, when he attended Selkirk College for a year. Joining the ‘back to the land’ movement, he took part in a land cooperative near Argenta and worked a variety of jobs, from treeplanting to fire fighting to ‘amateur film documentry’ (sic).

He owned Mountain Pass Imports on Baker Street in Nelson for 25 years, and helped grow the West Kootenay Eco-Society.

Prior, who is currently developing greenhouse business, growing organic produce for local restaurants and markets, says he’s worried about the future.

“This break down of sanity in western democratic institutions is currently taking on vicious fascist momentum,” he says. “There is little doubt Canada and BC particularly will need to be vigilant against this break down of the hard fought for gains of democracy.”

Prior joins incumbent Michelle Mungall of the NDP, Tanya Wall who is running for the BC Liberal Party and Kim Charlesworth of the Green Party as the candidates looking to capture the Nelson-Creston riding.

Mungall won the Nelson/Creston riding in 2013 by whopping 50.68 percent of the popular vote — 7576 for Mungall compared to 4348 for Liberal candidate Greg Garbula and 3133 for Sjeng Derkx of the Green Party.

Nelson-Creston has never elected an independent candidate. Voters go to the polls May 9.

Categories: General

Other News Stories