Cade Desjarlais is the NDP candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country. (Cade Desjarlais/Facebook photo)

Election 2021: Cade Desjarlais – NDP candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country

Cade Desjarlais is a political science student at UBC Okanagan

  • Sep. 15, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Provide a brief bio of yourself.

I am a student leader at UBC Okanagan and a dedicated mental health activist. I am a political science major entering my second year at UBC Okanagan. I have fought for social justice and more inclusive communities as a member of the Student Union Board of Directors and worked on the Youth Action Advisory Council at the Foundry, the CMHA, and with Bell Let’s Talk to get help to more people.

Everyone should be able to access dental care, mental health services, and their prescription medication with their health card — not their credit card. In addition, I aim to prioritize the protection of our small businesses while we transition into a green economy. I believe that taking care of people and our environment go hand in hand. Born and raised in Kelowna, I’m ready to work for our community as your MP for Kelowna–Lake Country.

How do you plan to lead this riding out of the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you support the implementation of a proof of vaccination program?

As your representative, I understand this pandemic has been hard on everyone and has shown the vulnerabilities in our healthcare system and the support for small business. The way out of this pandemic, to create stability for small businesses, and to protect our health care workers is through vaccines. They have shown to be the most effective tool in avoiding overburdening of our healthcare system. We must encourage those around us to get vaccinated as quickly as possible and the proof of vaccination is best suited to do so. This pandemic has challenged all of us and we must come together, regardless of political stripe, to overcome these obstacles. Jagmeet Singh has repeatedly demonstrated the power of working across party lines and we need to empower this work. The NDP is committed to paid sick leave, supporting small businesses, universal pharmacare, dental care, and ensuring everyone has access to vaccines.

Can you name one recommendation from the TRC Calls to Action and any concrete plans to implement the recommendation if you are elected?

I would like to acknowledge that I am situated on the traditional unceded territory of the Syilx (Okanagan) peoples, I am grateful to be able to call it my home. Colonialism has caused damage far beyond what can be seen and keeping colonial violence in the conversation is vital to reconciliation. The TRC released 94 Calls to Action to remedy the cultural genocide that occurred in our country. It is the commitment of the NDP to demand every action is followed through on. Being Cree-Metis, learning about the foundations of Canada has been difficult, yet this has inspired me to take dramatic action. The recent discovery of unmarked graves of children at the sites of previous residential schools, the need for action on reconciliation has become all the more urgent. Specifically, in accordance with #41 on the TRC’s Calls to Action, to appoint a special prosecutor to bring all involved in the perpetrating of this cultural genocide to justice.

What are your personal ideas regarding climate change and how do you plan to represent your riding’s specific interests in this regard, for example, wildfires and extreme drought?

We are in the midst of a crisis. Temperatures and emissions are rising at exponential rates. Despite the science community clearly stating we need to drastically readjust our climate strategy, or lack thereof, we have had consecutive governments refuse to follow through on their promises. The Liberals have had six years to act, yet greenhouse gas emissions still rise. How can you call yourself a climate leader when you buy a pipeline? The NDP knows that inaction like that is not good enough.

We will ensure that all buildings in Canada are retrofitted, mandate that all newly constructed buildings are net-zero, create a Climate Emergency Committee in cabinet to assure Canadians this work is being done. We will protect our resources, electrify public transportation, invest in a green economy, force big oil companies to clean up unused oil wells, and stop subsidies to big oil. Canada is within a period of transition, and Kelowna-Lake Country not only needs concrete action, but we need concrete leadership.

Which Canadian political figure, past or present, inspires you the most and why?

The leaders of our country have demonstrated genuine success comes with charisma, action, honesty, and care. Leaders in our country have inspired people for generations and when done right, can leave a lasting impact on the fabric of our society. These are leaders like Tommy Douglas, Nikki Ashton, Jack Layton, and most inspiring to me, Jagmeet Singh. While Jagmeet has undoubtedly inspired me to run in this election, he is and has done so much more. Jagmeet is the perfect example of what a political leader can and should be. It’s refreshing to see someone like Jagmeet in a leadership position because he truthfully connects with each and every individual he talks to. Hearing about Jagmeet’s upbringing showed me that no matter what one has to encounter in life, hard work, dedication and compassion can lead not only oneself out of a particular challenge, but even to leading Canada. When faced with adversity, Jagmeet continues on with compassion, love and courage.

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