Judith Wilson runs for NDP in federal election — again

Behind the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky country candidate's decision

Thirteen years after she first put her name forward to become the Member of Parliament for the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky country riding on behalf of the NDP, Judith Wilson is running again.

The day after she formally announced her candidacy for the 2019 federal election, Wilson spoke to The Chief from the Sunshine Coast, where she has lived since 1983. 

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In 2006, Wilson ran for the same position, ending her campaign with 20 per cent of the vote. Since the last election, Wilson said many are disappointed that the promised abolishment of the first-past-the-post election system never came to fruition.

"A lot of people looked for that as their justification for not voting NDP or not voting Green or not voting for somebody else, in order to just get us past Harper," Wilson said. "Now we need a different solution, because unfortunately, we did not do well under the Liberals. That's where we are in this election."

Wilson still aligns herself with the NDP, she said, because of its history in bringing medicare into action when the government was a balanced power, as well as its role in pensions. Looking forward, Wilson said it's important to reduce high tuitions costs of post-secondary education and to make medicare better. 

"We need to have the kind of head-to-toe coverage that was originally part and parcel of the dream of medicare," Wilson said. "I mean, why should we not have medicare for our eyes and our ears and our mouth, for heaven's sakes? The rest of our body's covered, but not that? We're saying it's time to move forward on that."

Another concern top-of-mind for Wilson is climate change.

"Climate change means that all of our policies have to be looked at from the point of view of how do we make sure that we integrate into our economic policies and our social housing policies and our government procurement policies to make sure that we're doing all that we can to move things forward in that area so that we are actually helping in the climate change activities that are going to make it possible for us to have a future for our kids."

While Wilson said she doesn't have much experience with Squamish in particular, she said it has similar issues and concerns as the Sunshine Coast, and the first concern she's heard from residents in the riding has been affordable housing. 

"I know we have a really difficult riding for anybody to represent well in terms of the personal contact and so on, but it seems to me that you need to be able to make use of the resources that are out there in terms of social media... to allow people to have the contact and connection with you that they need once you are their MP," she said.

To date, Wilson's political experience is related to campaigning. Besides her own 2006 campaign, she was a school trustee for the Sunshine Coast's school district and in earlier years, spent time on the road organizing for the NDP. In New Brunswick, Wilson was part of the team that helped get the first NDP member of the legislature elected in the province.

Since 1996, Wilson has been a practicing lawyer, working in family law. Being in law, she said, "helps with your critical thinking and helps you to, in terms of public speaking, you have to be on your feet. You have to be able to handle questions and you have to be able to look at not just the surface, but what are the bones of an argument — not just the bits and pieces they might say. I think that being a lawyer, for me, was an opportunity to help people."

Wilson has yet to visit Squamish in this campaign, but says residents can expect to see her soon. 

Also in the running this campaign are the Conservative's Gabrielle Loren, the Green Party's Dana Taylor, People Party of Canada's Robert "Doug" Bebb, the Liberal's Patrick Weiler and the Rhinoceros Party's Gordon Jeffrey.

Ballots for the federal election will be cast on Oct. 21.  

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