The New Democratic Party (NDP) has selected Squamish environmentalist Ana Santos as its candidate for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky in May's provincial election.
She joins BC Liberal candidate Jordan Sturdy in the race.
Santos, a professional translator and the founder and past president of Squamish Climate Action Network, was acclaimed at a local party meeting at the Howe Sound Inn in Squamish on April 7.
She was introduced by friends and supporters who told the 85 people gathered about her life, work and views. Former Squamish councillor Meg Fellowes spoke of Santos's childhood in Bilbao, Spain, growing up in a working-class family during the Franco regime. Her first political activities included protesting against local bullfighting, which led to it being banned in Bilbao. She emigrated to Canada in 2004 and became a Canadian citizen in 2010.
Linda Kelly-Smith described Santos as a courageous grassroots activist who is well-informed on global issues, a member of the local chamber of commerce and someone who is "prepared to walk the talk."
"Her experiences give me confidence because I want an MLA who can be accountable and fiscally responsible... I have no doubt that she has the strength of character to stand up in the provincial legislature and tell it like it is," Kelly-Smith said.
Santos noted that the May 14 provincial election will be the first time she will be legally entitled to vote since gaining her citizenship.
"I feel the need, given the state of the world, to create change faster. I am not one for sitting there and waiting to see it," she said. "Our riding has been looked at from the same perspective time and time again... it is time to change the perspective, to look at this riding from the perspective of those who struggle to make ends meet, from the perspective of small businesses who from one day to the next don't know if they can open their doors, from the perspective of families who cannot afford childcare... that is one big reason why I am doing this today."
She said one of the reasons she wanted to run as an NDP candidate was the party's interest in prioritizing education and skills training, and made a powerpoint presentation "connecting the dots" between education, the environment, jobs, business, food, and healthcare. She used this to lead a town hall discussion to answer questions.
Santos also said she likes the internal processes of the NDP as a political party, compared with the incumbent BC Liberals.
"I was born into a dictatorship and think I recognize one when I see one," she said to laughter.
Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Symons was at the meeting to show his support.
"Our caucus meetings are going to be a lot more exciting if Ana is elected," he said.
More information on Santos's campaign can be found at anasantos.bcndp.ca.
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