Robert Mellalieu is the Green Party of Canada candidate. A self-described geek, he runs his own computer business in Kelowna.
He became interested in politics teaching civics to his son back in 2011, who he and his wife were then home schooling.
After researching policies and platforms of each of the federal parties for the last election, he said he was surprised to find out he aligned closest with the Green Party.
That started his involvement with the Greens on a provincial level, and he was approached by the federal party three months ago to run for MP.
“I’m under no illusion that I’m going to be winning any seats or heading to Ottawa,” he said. “But we need to have a Green choice on the ballot.”
He said if he could “blow the wind a little greener” by increasing the popular vote for the party, he would consider that a victory.
He identified apathy as a big election issue.
“Not voting along your values, trying to do strategic voting or being concerned about wasting a vote, those kinds of things,” he said. He said he’s trying to convince people to just vote, period.
Although he doesn’t have a strong personal connection to Merritt, he said he does love to fish. He also grew up in Duncan and Chemanis, and lives near a mill in Kelowna, so he’s familiar with the logging industry.
“The logging thing is one of the things where I kind of diverge from the Green Party’s vision,” he said. “I think of logging as just another crop, it just takes longer to grow.”
Though he insists it should be done responsibly, there is a place for it in the economy.
He said that what would help Merritt is a way to process raw lumber domestically, rather than shipping it out to foreign markets.
He also thought tourism in the area should be bigger, and the federal government should be doing more advertising to Americans.
Check out the Herald’s profiles on the other candidates: