Catching up with Whistler's Rhino candidate Gordon Jeffrey 

As campaign rolls on, parody party candidate trades gimmicks for substance

click to enlarge PHOTO BY STEVEN CHUA/SQUAMISH CHIEF - Rhino candidate Gordon Jeffrey at the Squamish all-candidates meeting on Oct. 2
  • Photo by Steven Chua/Squamish Chief
  • Rhino candidate Gordon Jeffrey at the Squamish all-candidates meeting on Oct. 2

Is Gordon Jeffrey—Whistler's representative from the satirical Rhino Party in this month's federal election—trading in his banana suit for a suit and tie?

"Anyone who's been at these all-candidates debates, the things I've been saying have been resonating with them," Jeffrey said in an Oct. 6 interview at Blenz in Whistler.

"The issue is exposure. Nobody knows who I am, or if they know my party they assume that I'm a fool, or a jester, and that couldn't be further from the truth anymore."

While the Rhino Party is traditionally known as a satirical take on Canadian politics, Jeffrey said his campaign is taking a turn for the serious after a more lighthearted launch (including the aforementioned banana suit he wore to the Squamish all-candidates meeting on Oct. 2).

"I ran into the Liberal and Green candidates on the ferry [on Oct. 5] on the way to Gibsons, and they're like, 'Oh, no banana suit?'" he said.

"I replied, 'Yeah, sorry, no gimmicks today. All substance.'"

The substance of Jeffrey's campaign is built on the disillusionment he said he's sensing from the electorate.

"People are tired of the same two parties passing the ball back and forth, and no effective change coming about," he said.

"Corruption in politics ... that's one of the things that's been driving me, is the more I get into things, the more research I do, the worse it seems. Pay for play, pay for access, is basically legal bribery and corruption, and it's got to go."

Same too for lobbying, in all its forms, Jeffrey added.

"We need accountability. No one has any faith in the system, no one has faith in their representatives. They're just so used to being lied to and having all promises broken, that they've just become apathetic," he said.

"As I said at the end of one of my speeches, 'I will not rest until we have accountability. After I become MP I won't rest until we have accountability across the country,' so that's my goal."

Jeffrey, 32, is originally from Ontario. He moved west about 10 years ago, and now works in Whistler as a waiter (though he says campaigning has become his full-time job as of late).

While his policies "aren't fully fleshed out," Jeffrey said he is for non-partisan representation for all constituents.

If elected, Jeffrey would work hard to represent the riding while making accountability a priority, he said.

"That's going to be quite the hurdle, and I'm not sure how exactly I'll tackle it, but I'm going to try my hardest, that's for sure," he said, adding that he would support bills calling for electoral reform, higher penalties for political corruption and the banning of lobbying.

"And if those bills get inevitably voted down, I'll redraft another one and submit it and resubmit until the rest of the house is absolutely sick of me," he said.

"My new goal in life, as I said, is to bring accountability back to politics in Canada and restore the country's faith in our democracy. About that, I couldn't be more serious."

Follow Jeffrey's campaign on Facebook (@BCRhinoParty).

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