With less than two months until election day, Patrick Weiler—announced as the federal Liberal candidate in the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding on Aug. 29—knows he has his work cut out for him.
But the 33-year-old lawyer feels up to the challenge.
"I definitely think the next two months are going to be a sprint, but it's not that there has been nothing going on in the last couple of months," Weiler said on Sept. 2.
"There's been a lot of planning, there's been a lot of door knocking, and the team has been built up in the meantime, but it's going to be a major challenge over these next two months, and I think it will be a strong litmus test to see how hard the different candidates are willing to work."
Weiler has already been pounding the pavement himself, attending the Whistler Farmers' Market over the Labour Day long weekend and finding some time to knock on doors as well.
He said he was a bit surprised to see how similar the responses are throughout the riding.
"Really, the issues that are coming up more than anything else revolve around the environment and how to best manage and conserve the environment on climate change, and on how do we have the best possible plan to mitigate our emissions, but also to adapt to the reality of the changing climate," he said.
"Affordability, generally, is a huge issue throughout, but especially affordable housing is a big issue for many parts of the riding ... and really having the ability to support the middle class."
Weiler is a resource management lawyer and international development professional, working mainly in environmental and Aboriginal law.
"[I've] worked on a number of different rights and title cases for First Nations throughout the province, and working within a lot of different environmental assessment processes, so through that I've learned what a good system looks like, and the outcomes and the lack of trust when you have a broken system," he said.
"I've spent also about seven years of my life working in international development, on projects for the United Nations development program, focused on helping countries better manage shared water bodies."
Weiler and his partner own an apartment in North Vancouver, but are living in Ambleside during the campaign. Though he last lived full-time in the riding in 2009, Weiler has deep roots in the area—Sea to Sky included.
"I grew up in West Vancouver where my father lived, [and] went to school there; my mother was a city councillor in Sechelt, and so I spent a lot of time going back and forth to the coast," he said, adding that his father also owned a company that managed condos in Whistler, which often brought him to the resort growing up.
Weiler said he's already hearing from Whistler voters about some key issues: housing, transportation, affordability and the environment chief among them.
The government has its 10-year, $40-billion national housing strategy, but "I think more needs to be done. I would do my best to see that Whistler can be a recipient of more program funding from that," Weiler said, adding that he'd also like to examine what the government can do to support regional transit.
"Really, my focus would be to work closely with the MLA Jordan Sturdy and with Mayor Jack Crompton, and people within government to help calibrate where the [federal] government can best support a lot of their plans."
In May, incumbent Liberal MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones announced she would not seek re-election.
Weiler was the only qualified contestant to successfully complete the nomination process, and was acclaimed as the Liberals' Sea to Sky candidate.
Read more about the Liberal platform at www.liberal.ca.
Whistler's all-candidates meeting, hosted by the Whistler Chamber and
Pique, is set for Wednesday, Oct. 9 at the Maury Young Arts Centre.