When she was 18, Kira Cheeseborough didn’t care about politics.
“I wasn’t happy with what was happening in the country at the time … but I still didn’t feel like my voice or opinion mattered,” Cheeseborough said.
Given the urgent threat of global warming, the 25-year-old feels differently now and wants to do more than just vote.
“We should also be having somebody representing young people directly — being a direct conduit of young people’s concerns with what’s happening with the planet,” she said.
Cheeseborough is one of about a dozen candidates across the nation running under the Animal Protection Party of Canada banner.
While the party’s main objective is to protect animals from human harm and exploitation, its platform covers a variety of topics.
Cheeseborough noted moving to proportional representation, phasing out of the forestry industry, conciliation with First Nations, higher taxes on the wealthiest Canadians and greater tariffs on imports from countries that don’t have aggressive carbon taxes as examples.
“One of them that’s really important to me is reconciliation or conciliation with Indigenous peoples of Canada,” Cheeseborough said.
Asked why she chose to run for office, Cheeseborough cited global warming — a key issue she wants to focus on if elected.
“People my age and in my generation are the ones that, in 30 years, are going to be dealing with those repercussions of inadequate decisions being made right now to address it,” Cheeseborough said.
She added that, as a young person, she can bring a new perspective to the job as MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo and focus on issues other candidates aren’t addressing, such as the impacts of animal agriculture and climate change.
“But addressing climate change as a lens to see everything through, not just as an isolated issue. We’re not going to solve climate change by banning single-use plastics, you need to be looking at how our economy operates,” Cheeseborough said, noting over-extraction of natural resources and a need to transition to greener technology.
Born and raised in Kamloops, Cheeseborough is a third-year bachelor of social work student at Thompson Rivers University and works for A Way Home Kamloops, a group focused on ending youth homelessness.
Cheeseborough also has a passion for advocacy.
She founded the group Kamloops Animal Rights Movement and Advocacy (KARMA), which last July filed a complaint with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regarding an overcrowded pig transport truck Cheesborough captured footage of while it was passing through Kamloops.
She has been involved in a variety of advocacy groups and protests, including the March to End All Slaughterhouses that took place in Vancouver this past June and the Meat The Victims animals rights group.
Q: What specifically do you want to do for/bring to the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding that is not here or being done now?
A: Addressing how to support laid-off forestry workers and make that industry more sustainable, opposing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project and helping farms transition away from the animal agriculture industry.
Q: What is the issue most being raised by voters as you talk to them?
A: “There is a recurring theme of climate crisis within the young voters and affordability and economic stability for the more mature voters.”
Q: First past the post or proportional representation?
A: “Proportional representation — 100 per cent.”
Q: In your opinion, who was Canada’s greatest prime minister?
A: “I can’t say that I have one because they’ve all contributed to colonization.”
Q: If you could not vote for yourself, which other candidate would get your vote?
A: “Whoever was willing to challenge and advocate for the animals and challenge the industries that are exploiting them for profit.”
VITAL STATISTICS AND CONTACT INFORMATION
Family status: Lives with a partner, but not common-law
Find the Animal Protection Party’s platform online at animalprotectionparty.ca