The Green Party of Canada has nominated a certified electrician in Burnaby South ahead of this fall’s federal election.
Brennan Wauters, a project manager with MJR Electric, specializing in electric vehicle charging and solar panels, will challenge NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in the Oct. 21 federal election.
The Greens afforded Singh a “leader’s courtesy” in the Feb. 25 election, not running a candidate against him so he could win his first seat in the House of Commons. But the party has an obligation to its supporters to field a candidate in the general election, Wauters said.
“I have a lot of respect for Jagmeet Singh, and I really appreciate the direction they’re (the NDP) going and what he’s calling for,” he said. “Perhaps the Green Party is going a bit further.”
As an electrician who has worked in both the Alberta oil sands and renewable energy sector, Wauters said he’s uniquely capable of discussing Canada’s need for an energy transition, calling the subject “basically my forte.”
Wauters said he was buoyed by the results from the May byelection in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, which saw the Green Party elect its second-ever member of Parliament, Paul Manley. And, as environmental concerns become increasingly top-of-mind for many voters, Wauters said he expects his party’s caucus to grow once again.
“The issues that we're concentrating on are becoming more and more of a thorn in the side of politicians who don't address issues of climate change and environmental degradation, species extinction (and) our addiction to fossil fuels,” he said.
But he also acknowledged he’ll have his work cut out for him in Burnaby South – where the Green Party came fourth, with less than three per cent of the vote, in 2015.
Wauters, however, is not new to carrying the Green banner in an underdog campaign. In 2011, he ran federally in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country; in 2013, he ran provincially in Vancouver-Hastings; and in 2015, he took on Jason Kenney, then a federal cabinet minister and now the premier of Alberta, in Calgary Midnapore.
He said a federal election could see the national conversation shift focus to the Green vision, in part due to its leaders presence on the debate stage.
“One of the reasons why I'm running in that particular riding in the face of such difficult odds is specifically because it's a general election and the sort of zeitgeist of a general election is radically different than that of a byelection,” Wauters said.