Libertarian unplugged: James Anderson

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Local News Eye is posting profiles of all the candidates running in the BC election in the Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo-North Cowichan ridings.

Unplugging drains has prepared James Anderson for his foray into provincial politics, he says. “Plumbing can be a dirty business, just like politics and as a plumber I’m used to dealing with issues few others have the stomach for.”

Born in Victoria, Anderson, is the Libertarian candidate for Cowichan Valley in the next provincial election, May 9.   He admits that in the past he was never interested in politics because, as he says, “I didn’t agree with any of them.” When a friend recommended that he research the Libertarian Party, he attended the Vancouver conference. He was impressed enough that he asked if he would be able to vote for the party in the Cowichan Valley. Organizers said no, there wasn’t a candidate. Then they asked him to run. “I thought I’d step up and give other people in the valley the option,” he said.

Based on the core principle of non-aggression, the libertarian philosophy supports civil liberty and free market commerce. The ideology emerged more than 200 years ago, and is sometimes assumed to be akin to anarchism. “Providing someone’s not hurting someone else, they should be free to live their lives,” said Anderson.

The 2016 US election even featured a Libertarian candidate: former governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson ran for president, earning 4.5 million votes (3.3 per cent) .

Libertarians aren’t quite as high profile as the three major political parties in Canada. The BC Libertarian Party was founded in 1986.“I don’t necessarily like that word ‘fringe party,’” said Anderson, who has tried to inform people who have never heard of it.

While he admits he won’t be winning, he is running to change the conversation about government. “At the very least we might see some candidates from other parties start to adopt some of the policies that we have.” Conservative and Liberals already share some core beliefs with Libertarians, he said. “Classical liberals always stood for personal freedom and conservatives stood for being careful with money.” For example, Conservative candidate Maxime Bernier’s tax plan is almost verbatim what Libertarians have on their platform, says Anderson, whose major difference will be the size of his campaign budget, estimated at $1000.

Although he is wearing the Libertarian hat, the traditional definition of political types is too narrow for Anderson. “I don’t define politics as a straight line and are you on the left or the right? It’s more of a three-dimensional thing.” He said that understanding is “seriously lacking” in some of the policies drafted by politicians “Trump is a ridiculous individual, but that’s what you get when there’s such a disconnect,” he said referring to what he calls a “forgotten population” in the Midwest.

Why will Anderson be a good choice for voters? “I think that I’m a logical and reasonable person with good common sense. I have a good understanding of what an average Canadian deals with on a daily basis.”

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