ATHABASCA — To run, or not to run, that is the philosophical question the Green Party candidate for the Lakeland riding has been asking herself.
And while the quote is derived from Shakespeare rather than Freud, McGill University psychology and philosophy student Kira Brunner has chosen to run in the Sept. 20 federal election representing the Green Party and leader Annamie Paul.
“I grew up in the Elk Point/St. Paul area,” she said in a Sept. 10 interview. “I went to elementary, junior high, high school in Elk Point. So, that's why I’m running in Lakeland because that's my home, even though I go to McGill now.”
Growing up in northeastern Alberta, there was a lot of oil and gas and even though her parents never worked in the industry, Brunner saw where the donations were coming from and had to combine her environmentalism with the realities of black gold.
“My parents didn't work in the oil patch, but everyone else's parents did,” Brunner said. "I feel so connected to that community and everything that the oil industry has given our community. I know who has funded my dance teams growing up, my softball team, et cetera. At the same time, I grew up as a strong environmentalist — my family was always outside skiing and hiking and enjoying the natural environment.
“I had to reconcile these two ideas; how can I, as a budding environmentalist, take care of the Earth that we have and at the same time respect the family values and economic hardships that our community has gone through and that really, we've only come out of because of the oil industry.”
She said what drew her to the Green Party was the platform that even though there needs to be a transition away from fossil fuels, the party will not leave anyone behind.
"The Green Party states in their environmentalism no person left behind. So, of course, we want to move away from fossil fuels because the impacts already are devastating and will continue to get worse, but at the same time, we're not going to leave Albertans in the lurch,” she said. "How can we assure that that family will still be able to access the benefits from our government; they'll still have food and dental and healthcare in the transition that we made."
Brunner also won’t be out on the campaign trail, saving on trees and gas, but also, she’s currently in Montreal. That doesn’t mean she’s not taking the election seriously though.
“I don't have a budget, and I'm not running a campaign at all, but the most important thing is that I'm there on the ballot for Lakeland residents to vote for the Greens, if they want to, if they want to support me, or Annamie Paul, or the Green Party in general,” she said.
“If lightning strikes (and) I'm elected I will 100 per cent drop out of university, move back to the community and make the most of it. I love the Lakeland so much; I feel so passionate about the area that I grew up in, I see the potential for progress and change 100 per cent and I would happily represent Lakeland in Ottawa.”