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Election Profile — A ‘much needed’ voice in Victoria rises in the Green Party ranks

Nicole Charlwood believes her background, education and experience in economics, finance and international trade make this Green Party candidate the best choice in Nelson-Creston. — Submitted photo

An ‘MLA of change’ has stepped forward in the race for the Nelson-Creston riding.

Citing decades of experience in an ability to lead during hard times, Green Party candidate Nicole Charlwood is promising, if elected, to bring the acumen honed through years as an active community member to the legislative assembly in Victoria.

She felt her personal perspective was “much needed in Victoria and will represent the unique needs” of Nelson-Creston.

“I express my values by actively volunteering, buying local and by financially supporting co-ops, community schooling, small businesses and community service organizations,” she said.

Although Charlwood currently lives on a small acreage with her two teenagers and entrepreneurial husband just west of Nelson, her political career started far to the east when she was 13, holding a position as a page in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Later on she became a project manager in the insurance industry and government, and has more recently worked as an executive director in the not-for-profit sector and small business arenas of education, renewables and conservation.
Raised and educated in Ontario, Charlwood developed an early love of the environment and, combined with an attraction to the “vibrant” communities of the area, she made a permanent move the Kootenay region 20 years ago.

Her work contributions in Nelson-Creston include:

  • RDCK Area E Watershed Advisory Committee;
  • Review Committee member for Columbia Basin Trust Community grants;
  • Acting executive director for West Kootenay EcoSociety;
  • Treasurer for Nelson Waldorf Community School Association;
  • 10-year board member on BC Greens Nelson-Creston Riding Association;
  • Campaign manager for two BC Green candidates;
  • Representative to the BC Greens Provincial Council;
  • Financial agent for Elections Canada, Kootenay-Columbia;
  • Campaigner for Fair Vote Canada;
  • Stage manager at The Capitol Theatre for DanceFusion and Nelson Waldorf Community School; and
  • Large group facilitator for Education/Parent Community discussion in the Nelson area addressing the original “Screenagers” issues.

Nelson Daily Q&A

1. What steps will you take to reach all of the voters in Nelson-Creston during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our campaign has volunteers reaching out across the Nelson-Creston riding, with “social-distancing” events and meet-ups from Creston to Kaslo. I’ve already had small, safe, outside events in Nelson, Creston and on the East Shore. 

We have strict Covid-safe protocols for our foot canvassers, and we are phoning voters all across the riding. A lot of the campaign is online, on Facebook and Instagram. You can start at the campaign website: www.nicolecharlwood.ca. You can also reach our office at (250) 777-8111.

2. If elected, you will be a rookie MLA for Nelson-Creston. How will you make inroads in the BC Legislature to represent the wishes of constituents?

As a BC Green MLA, I am charged, first and foremost, with bringing the concerns of my constituents to Victoria, not only the ones who voted for me.  Unlike other parties, who are expected to vote as their party decides, Green MLAs are free to vote against legislation that isn’t in the best interests of their ridings.

More BC Green MLAs in Victoria will mean a stronger voice for bold action in utilizing provincial resources to sustain local communities. BC can do better, much better. We will work together, across party lines, to get concrete action on issues such as the housing crisis, the opioid crisis and our under-funded health care system,  our under-managed forestry sector and the shipping of raw logs and the jobs that go with them, as well as fighting to protect our essential watersheds.

We will also demand an end to the huge taxpayer funded subsidies to oil and gas and instead utilize that money to invest in things that are important to British Columbians.

3. If elected, what role do you see yourself playing in the BC Legislature?

I think minority governments work well. They respond to public demand and pressure. Green MLAs are pushing hard for faster action on improving our health system, addressing the climate crisis and building non-market housing.

Housing is such an issue for so many and we can build it better, with low emissions and utility bills.

Overall, I will be a strong voice and raise expectations of how our province handles fire threat, secure livelihoods and so many things critical to our well-being.

4. What is the biggest issue facing Nelson-Creston as you see it?

Housing, and the unaffordable prices to buy or rent in certain parts of our riding, is an immediate serious issue from youth to seniors.

BC Greens have supported the government in cutting speculation, but we need to actually build affordable non-market housing and long term care for seniors.

On top of that, we have climate change challenges of wildfire risk, smoke and extreme weather events every year.

Our young people are demanding we immediately transition to clean energy and step-by-step annual reduction in BC’s emissions now. We can do better, by supporting local agriculture and sustainable forestry and high tech innovations.

5. What do you bring to the table to make you the best choice in Nelson-Creston?

I’ve been active in our communities for years and I have been speaking with folks from Salmo to Crawford Bay. I’m listening carefully.

I will be a responsive and available representative for us all in Victoria.

My background, education and experience is in economics, finance and international trade. I can look at the big provincial picture and bring it right down to how it affects our local communities.

The BC Greens have a comprehensive plan and approach for rejuvenating British Columbia’s economy. We need to transition to a new greener economy that not only meets people’s need for jobs, food and homes, but is done sustainably.

Keeping in mind protection of our wonderful environment and last but certainly not least, making life secure, safe and healthy for us and our families.