Brynn Jones wants to give a voice to the disenfranchised voters of the Okanagan.
And as a candidate for the Independence BC Initiative, the West Kelowna resident wants to be a beacon of change in the Kelowna-West riding for people who feel the government no longer serves or responds to their needs.
Jones says Independence BC is not as concerned about hand-picking candidates as it is providing the resources to help local candidates field local campaigns for the next provincial election, on or before Oct. 19, 2024.
Jones says the Independent BC assessment is about 1.5 million voters abstain from being a voting participant in provincial elections.
“I am not fighting for people who are already aligned with existing parties, I want to reach out and give a voice to those who feel the system is not working for them and feel helpless to change it,” Jones said.
Salvatore Vetro, founder of Independent BC, refers to his initiative as a movement rather than a political party, calling it a non-profit entity that sees voters having more direct input, such as through referendums, on key government decisions.
Vetro points to Bill 36, the Health and Professional Act, as changing the very fabric of health care in B.C., yet believes few British Columbians are even aware of it, saying the legislation was not thoroughly debated, was rushed through to passage in the legislature by the NDP majority without any public consultation.
Jones, 47, was a past candidate for the Marijuana Party on a federal level, but he was looking to represent people’s concerns rather than stand on party ideology or direction.
“If I see Independence BC moving in that direction then I would step aside and say that is not what I am looking for,” Jones said.
A certified first responder emergency educator and involved with the Kelowna Toastmasters Club, Jones has been an advocate for the cannabis and hemp industry for more than 30 years.
He wants to see more consensus-building initiated by government in place of partisan political tactics.
Jones says from what he sees around him and talking to people, he identifies three issues that he would like to address – the health care bill, a second crossing of Okanagan Lake and forest management.
Political power ultimately still rests with voters, says Jones but harnessing that power remains difficult if eligible voters don’t vote.
“If I am stealing votes from other parties that is great, but bringing people into the process who are not voting now, that is political power and influence in decision-making of government.”
Majority governments, he says, should not be based on 20 per cent of the vote from a less than 40 per cent voter turnout.
“I believe the majority is people who think things are not working out well right now,” he said.