Though he’s only 28, an Esquimalt man is taking his third dive into politics.
Tyson Strandlund, running for the Communist Party of B.C., believes he has what it takes to wake up voters and remind them that there isn’t only one option to vote for in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding, held by New Democrat John Horgan.
The Metchosin-born candidate is one of five Communist candidates hoping to gain traction in this month’s provincial election.
In the 2017 provincial election, Strandlund ran in Esquimalt-Metchosin riding and received 65 votes with less than one per cent of the vote. In the 2019 federal election, he ran in the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding and got 107 votes, less than one per cent again.
But as a member of the Communist Party since 2013, he’s undeterred by previous results and is determined to help grow the party.
“With Horgan, the housing crisis has worsened, and things are getting harder for students and young workers to enter the workforce,” Strandlund said.
Strandlund has Metis heritage and says he’s an advocate for Indigenous rights and decolonization.
He graduated from Langford’s Belmont Secondary School in 2010 and lives in Esquimalt. He is working on completing his master of history at the University of Victoria in January.
Strandlund previously worked as a teaching assistant at the university, teaches piano to children, and founded the Young Communist League in Victoria in 2014.
Strandlund believes the biggest misconception about the Communist party is that its opposed to democracy. He believes the decision to hold a snap-election amid the pandemic is a “blatant power grab” and “frankly undemocratic.”
His party is calling for a nearly 50 per cent cut in salaries for MLAs – a B.C. MLA earns a base salary of $111,000 per year.
Strandlund is an advocate for universal post-secondary education, electoral reform, and a $20 per hour minimum wage.
While he believes in investing in an increased transit network and free ridership across the Greater Victoria region, the housing crisis is a more urgent issue.
Strandlund stands for the immediate ban on “renovictions” and “demovictions,” including all evictions during the pandemic and the implementation of strict rent controls.
“Tyson is someone who doesn’t bend to prevailing wisdom,” said Larry Hannant, a retired professor who taught humanities at Camosun College and the University of Victoria.
“He’s prepared to say that a certain stance on an issue is unacceptable. Horgan’s reversal in regards to the site C dam is an example of the opposite. The future depends on doing things better and investing in a wave of young people who recognize that we are in a crisis. In the classroom, I could tell that he is a leader.”
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