Peter Kerek has in the past run for city council and MLA.
Now, the Kamloops-Thompson school district bus driver and Communist Party of Canada candidate wants to be the next Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP.
Asked why he is running, Kerek immediately talked big picture.
Kerek is opposed to capitalism — he calls the system “broken” and “corrupt” — and said there is a better way to redistribute wealth.
“It’s hard to live in a society where so many injustices are carried out by governing authorities and friends of those governing authorities, including corporations, and to have a sense of just how unjust that is and want to do something,” Kerek said.
Other issues at the top of his mind include the country’s adherence to American foreign policy.
He wants Canada to stand up to its southern neighbour.
Kerek expects the Communist party to run between two- and three-dozen candidates across the country, mostly in Ontario.
Conceding that running for the party is a hurdle, he said anti-communist propaganda was pervasive among his and previous generations.
He likened it to a lack of information about residential schools in textbooks when he was a student.
“I encourage people to use alternative news sources,” Kerek said.
Asked why someone should vote for him, Kerek said it would send a message signalling unhappiness with the current system, establishment parties and foreign policy.
“It is a protest vote,” he said. “And I really don’t think anyone has a chance of beating [incumbent Conservative MP] Cathy McLeod. She’s not controversial. She’s laid low. People around here are still generally conservative. They voted two MLAs and Ken Christian ran against someone who was far more progressive than him and blew him out of the water.”
Kerek does not have a campaign office, nor a campaign manager, and said he is running his campaign by committee.
However, he points to votes picked up during the provincial election in demonstrating support.
“It’s getting them [voters] away from the idea that the NDP is still an option or that they have a chance of winning, so they don’t want to waste their vote on a protest vote,” Kerek said.
“That’s not helpful. I know some self-proclaimed socialists who think they can change the party from the inside, that that’s the way to go to create a party that can be embraced, that will bring socialism in.
“But the NDP has drifted further and further to the right. So, getting people out of this idea that you can just keep voting for the same parties and expect significant change, that would be an effective way to get people to open their minds and start voting with their conscience.”
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: Progressive tax reforms to eliminate homelessness, increase minimum wage to $20 and reduce full-time work weeks to 32 hours.
Q: What is the issue most being raised by voters as you talk to them?
A: Affordability. “Wages, they’re not keeping up with cost of living. People are leveraged out. They’re tapped.”
Q: First past the post or proportional representation?
A: Proportional representation because it better reflects the majority.
Q: In your opinion, who was Canada’s greatest prime minister?
A: “I think it’s kind of ignorant for settlers to come here and talk about European history, the great leaders that we had here. And to actually answer that question, name a prime minister, would be to diminish the fact that there were many, many leaders prior to settler colonialism and probably many, many great leaders who were suppressed and oppressed by the colonial system. I don’t want to give any credibility to that question by answering it.”
Q: If you could not vote for yourself, which other candidate would get your vote?
A: NDP. “I know nothing of the candidate, but a lot of good people I know from the labour movement are still active in the NDP. They’re, for the most part, fighting a good fight.” (Kerek was asked this question before NDP candidate Dock Currie stepped down.)
VITAL STATISTICS AND CONTACT INFO
Family status: Married with four children, ages eight, six, three and one
Facebook: Elect Peter Kerek