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Green Party’s Warrington joins Santos, Sturdy and McLeod in B.C. election race

Four West Vancouver-Sea to Sky hopefuls to argue issues at all-candidates debates

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The Green Party of BC has added a last-minute candidate to the provincial election roster for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky.

Teacher Richard Warrington returned to West Vancouver, where he grew up, in July 2012 after living for 25 years in Denmark. He joined the race on Earth Day, April 22.

In an interview, Warrington said he had been looking for a teaching position since his return and decided to join the race only recently.

"There just aren't jobs for teachers right now. It's not an evil cost-cutting measure, it's a drop in enrollments," he said.

"There are a lot of similarities between Denmark and B.C. and all of Canada, maybe the whole of the western world; they have a problem with our social infrastructure which we like so much, but we aren't able to afford it. I think there are a lot of challenges."

He said he was new to politics and hoped voters would see that as a plus.

"I decided to represent the Green Party because it was suggested to me that I have a green profile. I thought it was a joke at first but we talked about it more and more and I see it as a viable alternative," he said.

"Maybe it's an advantage. People seem to be pretty disillusioned with the political system and the way it seems to be working now. I can be a new voice and a bit of an alternative... I'm not completely inexperienced, I served two terms on our school board in Denmark."

Warrington found his time in Denmark to be especially influential given the European approach to sustainability.

"They've got all these green taxes, you should see the people. It's a competition to be able to save as much money as possible. They don't leave a room without turning off lights, a dripping tap is a source of horror," he said.

With less than three weeks remaining until the May 14 provincial election, it looks likely that Whistler will host an all-candidates meeting but the details are not quite solid yet, said Fiona Famulak Whistler Chamber of Commerce president.

"We are in the process of laying the foundation for one... but we don't want to announce it just yet," Famulak said.

As soon as the details are finalized in the next few days, she said, the details would be made public to the media and online. Pique will publish the information online and in the May 2 issue of the newspaper.

Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said she had attended provincial debates in Whistler in the past to watch the candidates spar and that they had not drawn large numbers of voters, but this could change this year with two of the three candidates, BC Liberal Jordan Sturdy and New Democrat Ana Santos, being from the Sea to Sky corridor. The other candidate is BC Conservative Ian McLeod of West Vancouver.

"I think there would be interest in seeing the all-candidates debate for this election... I think there would be a difference this time," said Wilhelm-Morden. "I had not heard anything about a debate, which is surprising because it's not as if an election just crept up on us."

West Vancouver will be the first location of an all-candidates debate in the riding. It will take place at the Kay Meek Centre in West Vancouver on Sunday, April 28 at 7 p.m. and is presented by the West Vancouver Library Board and the Kay Meek Centre.

The Pemberton All-Candidates Debate comes next, at the Pemberton Community Centre on Wednesday May 1, at 7:30 p.m., presented by the Pemberton Chamber of Commerce.

Squamish all-candidates forum is on Thursday May 2 at 7 p.m. at the Eagle Eye Theatre, sponsored by the Squamish Chamber of Commerce and Sea to Sky Community Services. The final debate will be at Lions Bay on May 9.

Early voting will be available from May 8 to 11 throughout the riding, open from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. Voters in Pemberton can go to the Pemberton Community Centre, voters in Whistler can go to the Whistler Conference Centre, and voters in Squamish can go to Brennan Park Recreation Centre. Early voting in West Vancouver takes place at the Gleneagles Community Centre.

Online registration to vote is closed but voters can register by phone until 8 p.m. on April 23 at 1-800-661-8683. Voters may also register to vote or update their voter registration information when they vote.

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