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Rhino Party’s Jeffrey offers voters an alternative to the status quo

Whistler local takes aim at political corruption in second bid for office
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Gordon Jeffrey of the Rhino Party poses for a photo in Squamish during the 2019 campaign.

After his first foray into politics in 2019, the Rhino Party’s Gordon Jeffrey is back on the ballot for Canada’s Sept. 20 election.

With his second campaign, the 34-year-old Whistlerite aims to once again offer voters an alternative to the status quo.

“Last election I said, ‘You don’t need to vote for me, just don’t vote for the big guys, just because one wants you to be scared that the other will win,’” Jeffrey said.

“This time I’m saying, ‘Please do vote for me if you want to put your political power into saying none of the above, or towards saying let’s tighten up the political system and get rid of some of this nonsense.’”

Jeffrey’s campaign has four purposes, he said: influencing other candidates; spreading the messages of anti-corruption and parliamentary reform; diverting votes from the Liberal and Conservative parties; and giving voters a candidate they can “vote for in good conscience.”

“I think we need strict legislation that leaves no shadow of a doubt that it is unacceptable for Members of Parliament to be accepting gifts and favours from any organization, company, special interest group or any individual representing any of the above,” Jeffrey said, adding that he would also like to see Parliament take a tougher stance on those who evade questions or fail to give direct answers in the House of Commons.

“That should be punished. Filibustering is an infuriatingly obstructive behaviour, and we need to curb it somehow.”

Closer to home, the big issues facing Whistler and the Sea to Sky are housing, labour, environmental protection and financial recovery from the pandemic, Jeffrey said, adding that he’s disappointed to see Indigenous relations taking a backseat so far in the campaign.

That said, Jeffrey isn’t about making bold campaign promises he may not be able to keep.

“What I will promise to do is represent the good people of Whistler and the rest of the riding rather than filter the special interests of campaign donors through a superficial lens of endless pandering and empty promises,” he said.

“The other folks are going to promise the people the moon, the sun and the stars, but the day after the election they’ll develop a convenient amnesia and forget all about old-growth forests, daycare, glaciers, affordable housing, and you.”

While the Rhino Party traditionally offers more of a lighthearted take on campaigning, it’s clear Jeffrey doesn’t see much humour in the current state of Canadian politics.

“People should take campaign promises with a grain of salt. A lot of the promises being made during this campaign were made during the last election, and where have we gotten?” he said.

“Examine their actions, examine the track record. If people have fallen through on promises before, maybe they don’t deserve another chance. Maybe it’s time for somebody else to have a chance.”

In the months following the 2019 vote, Jeffrey was a regular attendee of Whistler’s municipal council meetings. While he’s focusing on the current campaign for now, he’s not ruling out a run at the local level in next year’s municipal election.

“I feel like it’s kind of my civic duty to try to do some good for either my town or my country,” he said. “So I’ll likely continue to run.”

Jeffrey joins incumbent Patrick Weiler (Liberals); former MP John Weston (Conservative); Avi Lewis (NDP); Mike Simpson (Green Party); and Doug Bebb (PPC) on the ballot, along with independents Terry Grimwood and Chris MacGregor, both of the Sunshine Coast.

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