Today’s Poll

BC Election 2017: Kim Charlesworth, Green Party — A veteran environmental voice raises the Green banner

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
May 5th, 2017

Only a few more sleeps for candidates as voting has commenced in BC’s the 41st general election with advance polls now open.

On Tuesday, May 9th the rest of voting will conclude to elect members to the Legislative Assembly in Victoria.

To help voters gain some insight into the five candidates vying for the Nelson-Creston seat, The Nelson Daily will profile all five of the candidates running.

Today, The Nelson Daily Reporter Tim Schafer speaks with Green Party candidate Kim Charlesworth

The theme of environment and food security have been threads running throughout Kim Charlesworth’s life.

Now she is running for the legislative seat of the Nelson-Creston riding in the upcoming provincial election with the theme of green placing her under the Green Party candidacy.

Fourteen years ago Charlesworth moved to Nelson — accepting a management position with Service Canada — and soon after began her immersion into the community, serving on city council from 2008-2011.

During her time on council, Charlesworth was the lead on the development of the city’s Path to 2040 Sustainability Strategy and the Community Energy and Emissions Action Plan (CEEAP). 

After leaving council Charlesworth picked up the mantle of food security, joining the Nelson Food Cupboard in 2013 and helped the organization transition beyond providing emergency food bank services, including the development of a 4,000-square-foot garden.

Charlesworth is also board chair of the Kootenay and Boundary Food Producers Co-op (KBFPC), formed in 2015 in response to the challenges local farmers and food producers face. Their vision is to re-create a sustainable, local food economy. 

Her community work does not end there, as Charlesworth has served on the board of directors of the West Kootenay EcoSociety, Glacier Gymnastics, the Centre for Innovative and Entrepreneurial Leadership (CIEL) and on the advisory council for the Habondia Society. 

Charlesworth joined the federal government’s Department of Correctional Service of Canada in Abbotsford and later Human Resources Development Canada in Victoria after briefly practising law. 

Along with her husband Greg Brewer — whom she met while attending Dalhousie Law School in Halifax, Nova Scotia — she moved to Nelson in 2003. They have two children, both living in Toronto.

— Source:

The Nelson Daily: How well do you think the provincial government has served the people of the Nelson-Creston riding?

Kim Charlesworth: I don’t think the people of the Nelson-Creston riding have been well served at all. The current government is focused on the LNG industry that may bring jobs to a few northern communities, but ignores the rest of the province. 

Nelson-Creston has rich potential in agriculture, renewable energy, forestry, and small business, but these are not priorities of the government. 

An affordability crisis is crippling rural communities, as much as Vancouver and there has been no action to address this. And, because both the Liberal and NDP MLA’s must vote how their party tells them to, our current MLA cannot actually represent this riding at all — she must represent her party. 

The Green Party is the only one that encourages its elected members to represent their constituents by voting according to their riding’s needs.

The Nelson Daily: What is the biggest issue facing the Nelson-Creston riding? How would your party address this issue?

Kim Charlesworth: Housing affordability, jobs and poverty are three facets of the same issue, which is that both families and individuals are facing a serious struggle to make ends meet. 

The Green Party will create a poverty reduction strategy and take steps to introduce a guaranteed basic income program, beginning with a pilot project. 

The Green Party’s Affordable Homes Strategy starts from the view that affordable housing is a right. We believe the primary purpose of housing is to provide homes first, and a means of investment second. We are proposing:

  • measures to cool the housing market, including increasing the foreign buyers’ tax to 30 per cent and applying it across the province; 
  • investing heavily in new affordable housing; and
  • keeping existing rental housing affordable

The Nelson Daily: What specific party policies do you have in place to address the issue of a lack of employment in the region?  

Our planned support for agriculture, green energy, and green technology will greatly assist economic development in Nelson-Creston.  

Transitioning to green energy has been shown in numerous studies to create four to seven times the number of jobs than the oil and gas industry. Those jobs are generally better paying, longer lasting and closer to the communities where people live.  

Our economic platform details how we will create the climate that encourages innovation, and will facilitate the transition between sunset and sunrise industries. 

In addition, our agriculture platform specifies measures to address affordable land for young farmers, extension services (support and education) for farmers, and building the agriculture sector.

The Nelson Daily: What has been the biggest failing of the current provincial government when it comes to the Nelson-Creston riding? 

Kim Charlesworth: The biggest failing of the current provincial government is its lack of any action on climate change. 

In fact, the current government is actually promoting/facilitating the burning of even more fossil fuels through permitting of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the export facility for natural gas, and continued support and subsidization of the LNG industry. 

Concretely, this plays out in this riding as follows: 

  • Increased risk of forest fires and increased risk to lives and property.  

The 2015 Sitkum-Duhamel creek fires that threatened houses on the North Shore is just one example that remains vivid in people minds. With the interface wild fires that severely impacted the communities of Slave Lake (2011) Fort McMurray (2016) and Kelowna (2003), people in Creston, Nelson and all our communities are far too well aware that they are at increasing risk.

  • Reduced access to the backcountry for commercial forest operators, as well as the public due to severe weather (increased rain in spring, drier/hotter summers).
  • Impacts on tourism — people aren’t keen to vacation in smoky areas.
  • Hotter, drier summers with increased pressure on forests, creeks, rivers and all water sources. Increased pressure on fish stocks due to both warmer and lower than usual creek flows.
  • Impacts on local ski hills and their users.
  • Increased severity and number of local ‘acts of God’ in the form of slides and washouts that impact our road network. Precipitation is more concentrated resulting in undersized roadway culverts. In short, much infrastructure (municipal and provincial) will be increasingly undersized to accommodate peaks water flows.

The Nelson Daily: On the provincial level, what do you think is the biggest issue the parties need to address, and how would you like to see it accomplished?  

Kim Charlesworth: The government’s determination to subsidize and support the oil and gas industry, including fracking, has had far reaching consequences economically, socially and environmentally.  

It has prevented our province from capitalizing on opportunities to create employment throughout the province in sectors that are growing world wide (like green energy and green technology) as well as preventing us from having any meaningful climate action plan. 

As a result, government revenues suffer, and priorities shift away from the services essential to vibrant communities, such as education and healthcare.

Our province needs to shift its priorities back to people and communities. That starts by banning corporate and union donations that lead to policy decisions that favor big business.  

We must focus on creating employment in areas that allow for sustainable development and addressing the shortfalls in our education and healthcare systems.

The Nelson Daily: What do you bring to the table that would make you the best choice for voters in the Nelson-Creston riding? 

Kim Charlesworth: I want to represent people, and focus on what is best for Nelson-Creston. The people in this riding are concerned about the social and environmental fabric of the area. 

I understand that concern and as a Green representative I can vote based on the needs of my constituents, whereas others must vote as they are told to on party lines.

I believe in connection and collaboration and building relationship and, most of all, building trust. I won’t make promises now that I don’t know if I can keep.   

The BC Greens are the only party that has banned corporate and union donations. We did it because it was the right thing to do. I will represent the people who live here in every vote I make.  

I am aligned with the Green Party because they are focused on bringing real change to government. I want to bring real, positive, change you can count on to the Nelson-Creston riding. 

The Nelson Daily: What role do you see yourself playing if you are elected?  

Kim Charlesworth: I will be a strong advocate for Nelson-Creston residents, organizations and local governments, working on the issues of particular importance to this area.  

I will work across party lines and collaborate with whoever else is elected to bring good policy and legislation forward.  

Andrew Weaver, as a single Green MLA, has introduced several pieces of legislation that were adopted, and was successful with influencing policy. I will continue that process no matter who forms government.

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