Whistler Rhino candidate promises to break all his promises 

Inside Gordon Jeffrey's federal campaign for the parody party

click to enlarge KEILI BARTLETT/THE SQUAMISH CHIEF - Gordon Jeffrey is the Rhinoceros Party's West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding candidate in the 2019 federal election
  • KEILI BARTLETT/THE SQUAMISH CHIEF
  • Gordon Jeffrey is the Rhinoceros Party's West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding candidate in the 2019 federal election

Gordon Jeffrey is a typical 32-year-old Whistler resident. When he's not working as a waiter he can be found skiing, biking, playing music or with his dog—but this candidate won't be found door-knocking during his campaign for the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country Member of Parliament.

"I don't like to bother people, and I don't like to be bothered, so the idea of knocking on random people's doors is abhorrent to me," he told The Chief. "I'm counting on the constituents to appreciate that. I also won't be sending any junk mail. That annoys the bejesus out of me when some party sends me a leaflet with all their new fake promises that they're not going to keep."

While Jeffrey says he's always had an interest in politics, he didn't expect to get involved on the federal level. He said he has always admired the Rhinoceros Party, and when he saw it was resurrected—then that they were looking for candidates—he got in touch.

Originally founded in 1963, the Rhinoceros Party "has always sought to make Canadians laugh while laughing at politicians," the party's website reads. To date, a member of the Rhinoceros Party has never been elected.

"Our main promise is that we promise not to keep any of our promises, which used to be a lot more amusing," Jeffrey said. "That used to be the thing to set us apart from the other parties, but now we're just the only ones who are upfront about it."

As for Jeffrey, he's also full of jokes—rollercoasters will become a mode of public transit in cities, his idea for a Super Mario Pipeline will fill the gap left behind by Greyhound—but gets serious when talking about strategic voting.

"Basically, I felt pretty disillusioned with our major political parties," Jeffrey said. "There's not a single party that represents my views. I really don't like the idea of strategically voting. It seems like, for my entire life, everybody's just been trying to vote for the lesser of two evils, and I'm tired of voting for evil. I think politics in Canada have become somewhat of a farce, and that the only logical thing to do is to spearhead the Rhinos."

By running for the Rhinos, Jeffrey said he hopes he can take some votes away from the major parties and send the message that some Canadians feel politics has become too ridiculous to take seriously anymore.

"What I want to happen is for anybody to win and then immediately abolish the first-past-the-post system and have a new election after rebuilding the entire system from the ground up and having many more parties. I think we're in a huge rut with this basically two-party system," he said.

So, what will Jeffrey do if he is elected?

"I hadn't considered that," he jokes. "No, I'm just kidding. I mean, all joking aside, I would actually pull my socks up and represent my constituents as best I could. But I would also have an absolute ball in the house. And anytime someone put something forward that I thought was absurd or ridiculous—and it happens quite a bit—I will put something forth in the same vein twice as absurd just to mock them."

In the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding, there are five other candidates: the Conservative Party's Gabrielle Loren, the Green Party's Dana Taylor, the People's Party's Robert (Doug) Bebb, the Liberal Party's Patrick Weiler and the NDP's Judith Wilson.

The 2019 federal election will be on Oct. 21.

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