Many residents in Langley may recognize Kevin Mitchell as the champion against blueberry cannons.
Active for several years in the fight to have them banned, Mitchell is now taking his role in the community to the provincial level.
Running as an independent in the Fort Langley-Aldergrove riding, Mitchell wants the community to know he is not “a one-trick pony.”
Blueberry cannons and mismanaged soil deposits are what got him into politics, but there are many local issues that he is passionate about.
Mitchell, an engineer by trade and a hobby farmer in South Langley for the past nine years, has created the platform SAVER — support, agricultural viability, a voice for the people, employment and rural heritage.
One of his key issues is creating a provincial strategy to encourage people to work locally. Mitchell commutes to Burnaby for work every day, but says he wishes there were more job opportunities within Langley for him to stay here.
“We don’t seem to have any real cohesive way to keep people in the community to work,” he said. “We basically have this idea that if we build them houses, they’ll find work. But realistically what we see is a mass exodus. In fact we had to put in a mass transit loop at 202 Street just to handle the number of people who are leaving the community to work every day.
“So what that tells me is that it’s kind of counterproductive. We tell people you can live in Langley but you can’t stay here. You have to be out of it 10 or 12 hours a day.
“The province needs to work closely with the Township to find ways for local economic initiatives to bring people back to the community.”
Another major concern of his is how much support MLAs are offering to their communities. He says the political system is “upside down” and does not offer true representation of the needs of individual communities.
“I think what’s happening now is that we’ve got the leader telling the MLAs to tell their communities what’s right for them, as opposed to the other way around,” Mitchell said. “So rather than the MLA working for the communities and then the leader working for the MLAs, we’ve got it upside down now.
“We have this sort of dictatorship system that we’ve had for so many years both provincially and federally, which basically says whatever the leader says is right. And I think that’s wrong.”
That’s why Mitchell has chosen to run as an independent candidate. He believes MLAs become “muzzled” by having to vote with their parties, rather than on a individual basis.
“What I’m most concerned about is what do the constituents want me to represent in Victoria.
“What do they want to hear? I think individual independents have the opportunity to highlight the community’s issues in the legislature.
“They need to understand that our priorities are important to our communities and they need to be kept on the order table.”
For more information on Mitchell’s campaign, see video at www.langleytimes.com or visit his website www.kevinmitchell.ca.