MARIJUANA PARTY JOINS THE RACE
Nelson-Creston Riding: Just Under The Wire, Philip McMillan Files Papers To Bring Total Names On The Ballot To Four
A new candidate has come out of the weeds at the last minute hoping to shake up the provincial election race for the Nelson-Creston riding.
Philip McMillan of the British Columbia Marijuana Party became a registered candidate Friday, bringing the number of candidates to four. Nominations close tomorrow at 1p.m.
McMillan, whose only other political experience was an unsuccessful run for mayor of Nelson in 2002, is a late replacement for another candidate who backed out.
McMillan feels that running for the Marijuana Party, often criticized as being a one-issue party, actually gives him an advantage.
"There's obviously the cannabis issue," McMillan told the NDN. "I run the Nelson Cannabis Compassion Club so I am a big supporter of medicinal cannabis. But I also want to talk about some new things.
"Because I am a one-issue person I can put out whatever I want and I want to be the carrier of a message - basically just how bad off people really are. I'm a one-in-a-million-odds candidate so you can imagine what kind of a message it would be to send me to Victoria."
McMillan also spoke about a need for change in health care.
"What we need to do is isolate it from capitalist society. The last numbers I saw showed that 73 per cent of health care funding goes to pharmacare. You know, corporations making money off of pills. I'm a capitalist myself, I love making money. But I'm an ethical capitalist. I do not put money before human life or the environment."
McMillan feels his affiliation with the Marijuana Party makes him similar to an independent candidate.
"Basically we're independents," he said. "I'd love to see every seat filled by an independent."
He hopes his message will resonate with people who normally do not vote.
"I don't want to split the vote. I want the 45 per cent that didn't vote. A lot of my friends are going to vote for the first time in their lives just because I'm running. If anything, if I can get one person to vote who has never voted before, I'll be happy."
McMillan's passion for politics comes from his father.
"My dad worked for a lot of government watchdogs when I was growing up," he said. "I've been watching the government mistreat people for a long time."
A former support worker for street youth in Vancouver, McMillan has lived in Nelson for six years. He is, however, a bit of a mystery to the other candidates.
"I don't know Philip, but I do know that the candidate who ran last time was a very smart, well-spoken individual who added a lot to the debate,"
said Liberal candidate Blair Suffredine. "He brought a very interesting perspective on things and tended to lighten up what otherwise would have been a very serious debate."
NDP candidate Corky Evans also does not know what to expect from McMillan.
"I don't know the guy and I have no knowledge of what his thoughts are,"
Green Party candidate Luke Crawford said he was a little surprised that the Marijuana Party has entered the race. Crawford said Marijuana Party leader Marc Emery has indicated that his party would not be running candidates in ridings where candidates from other parties have taken a strong pro-pot stance.
That said, Crawford is not too worried about McMillan's decision to run.
"I don't know about cutting in, but I'm just surprised," Crawford said when asked if McMillan will take votes away from the Green Party. "But I wish them the best."