Green still seeks reform

Dubbed as an “outside the box” type thinker, the Southern Interior’s Green Party candidate seems a contradiction in terms but one that he says is particularly suited for a job in politics – it all depends on balance.

Competing interests run through Bryan Hunt’s life. He is an architectural software developer who also produces CDs, children’s books and screenplays from his Calgary home, where he resides with his wife and four children.

He started out as a Reform supporter but when the populist right-wing party morphed into   the new Conservatives he opted for the Greens.

“The Green Party piqued my interest only after they became more fiscally conservative,” said Hunt. “I remember being in the riding when the Reform was just taking off and it was exciting; it feels very similar with the Green, I get the same kind of vibe that they’re building.”

Hunt is an environmentalist but he is also a businessman and sees no conflict in satisfying both interests.

“Let’s say in the mythical world where I get elected here, I will put forward a mandate that corporations can have telecommute jobs, that a certain percentage now are. That means jobs in Calgary or Vancouver have an equal chance of going to someone in Salmo or Rossland as it would someone in Vancouver.”

The concept of “telecommuting” or working online would significantly reduce a company’s carbon footprint and benefit rural economies and encourage rural living. Instead of a mass migration to the city to find work, residents can stay in and contribute to their rural communities, says Hunt.

“I would love to work out of my hometown . . . and if I win this election I probably will.”

For industry-based municipalities like his hometown of Kaslo, Hunt understands how the closing of a sawmill or a mine can devastate a small community.

“I come from a practical view, we live in a province and a riding where industry is important, there are ways to do it that are good and we’ll work on that – you’ve got to work on supporting economies you can’t just shut people out.”

Hunt downplayed many people’s perception of the Green party as a “one-trick, environment-at-all-cost pony” and says he was really impressed with how fiscally savvy the party is.

His support of the Conservative budget last week reflects his personal emphasis on financial responsibility.

“I didn’t think the budget was all that bad. There were things I would have liked differently but what was disappointing to me was that I didn’t think it was so bad we needed an election. I think there was room for all the parties there to cooperate a bit and work on the budget to produce something a bit more palatable.”

Hunt would have liked bigger cuts to corporate subsidies especially to fossil fuel producing companies and was disappointed that the budget did not address environmental concerns such as the Alberta oil sands project.

Like many Green candidates, the business-minded environmentalist is also looking to run an eco-friendly campaign by recycling signs from his unsuccessful run at a provincial seat in the 2008 Alberta election.

His biggest carbon outlay will be driving to events like debates and interviews. But like the economy and the environment – “it’s all a balance,” says Hunt.

The Green candidate returned to the area last week to begin his campaign and the straightforward Hunt looks forward to the challenge.

“I’m always running to win but I’m not a politician – I don’t talk like a politician, there’s no BS, my drive is to fix things that I think have gone off the rails,” said Hunt.