By Andru McCracken
Mackenzie Kerr is the Green Party Candidate for Prince George-Valemount in the upcoming October 24 provincial. She’s 23 years old and it is not her first campaign. Last year she ran for the Green Party of Canada in the federal election.
She is currently in her final term of forestry at UNBC.
Kerr has a lot to say about forestry.
“People need to know that I am pro-sustainable forestry. We need to ban the export of raw logs and keep jobs local. We should focus on small forestry companies and help small businesses that create value added products, not just make two by fours,” she said. “A Green forest economy is ecosystem based and it is long term, not band aid solutions.”
Kerr said British Columbians are shipping out raw logs and buying back manufactured goods for a higher price.
“We need long term jobs in this region,” she said.
She is in favour of banning the use of glyphosate on forests. Glyphosate is one of the active ingredients of Roundup and it is used to kill off broad leafed plants like aspen, willow and birch and helps valuable conifers reach maturity quicker, but it’s been flagged as problematic for its impact on the environment and for creating monocultures that are prone to wildfire.
For Kerr, the slash piles dotting logging blocks throughout the valley are a failure.
“We’re just wasting wood.”
She said turning the piles into pellets is a better approach, than simply burning slash.
She’s aware of some of the challenges.
“The closest pellet plant to Valemount is in Prince George. Let’s look at creative out of the box solutions about what to do with these piles, how do we make it economical to purchase that fuel? Instead of burning it we could subsidize new small local companies to turn them into pellets.”
“I think we need to relook at the entire forest industry, that’s what I hope to bring to the Greens.”
Kerr is believes she breaks the stereotype of who Greens are.
She works night shifts at a pulp mill, she drives a truck and she hunts, although she hasn’t been lucky this year.
“There are barely any tracks of moose, barely any sign,” she said. “We need to work on creating a healthy ecosystem.”
She spent 13 years in 4H, was raised on a farm and raised swine.
“I know how important agriculture is, and there is a lot of farmland between here [Prince George] and Valemount,” she said.
Kerr hopes to activate the youth vote.
“If we can inspire young people, and show them it’s not just old white male politicians, that is how we will bring our society into a place where it is equitable and progressive.”
Kerr said making sure people have jobs is a part of her platform, whether it is in forestry, through renewable energy projects like geothermal power, or health care.
“Just going back and forth between the Liberals and the NDP isn’t working for this province. We need something new and that can be the Greens.”
“Many people see the Green party as a ‘shut down everything’ party. I want to bust that stereotype,” she said.
Kerr isn’t in favour of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, to her, it illustrates what Canada is doing wrong.
“We don’t want to be shipping raw crude oil across the ocean. We want to use our resources locally as we transition off fossil fuels,” she said.
Kerr said that the money going into the pipeline and provincially, subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, could be better spent starting up new green industries, like a pellet plant for wood waste in Valemount.
If you’d like to learn more about Mackenzie Kerr her social media handle is @MackenziesGreenLife