Yasmin Freeman of Ladysmith says enough is enough.
Freeman is in the midst of starting a new provincial political party, the Citizens Party of BC, and she hopes to run for premier in the next provincial election in 2013.
One of Freeman’s main principles is that every single person deserves respect.
“I think every person deserves to be treated with respect and dignity regardless of who they are and regardless of their beliefs,” she said.
To start the Citizens Party of BC, Freeman needs one person to be another principal signer. Once she has another principal signer, she can send her party to Elections Canada, and it can become a legal political party.
“All of the parties have had some good ideas, and I want to build on these ideas and implement my ideas,” said Freeman.
Freeman says, right now, many political parties are like a champagne glass fountain — the rich at the top get all the benefits, and by the time it trickles down to the everyday person, there is very little left. The Citizens Party of BC would be like a chandelier — working from the bottom up, there would be benefits for everyone from the poor to the rich.
Politically, Freeman considers herself in the middle — not far left or far right.
“I am right in the middle of the pendulum, so if I need to swing right to help people I can, and if I need to swing left, I will,” she said. “I don’t hate all the parties, but I don’t trust any of them, and the poor Greens don’t even get a chance to be on the TV debates. That’s why I’m starting my own party, because if you belong to a party like the Liberal Party, whether you like it or not, you need to tow the party line. In the Citizens Party, the only people I need to answer to are the citizens of B.C. Period. I won’t be bullied.”
Freeman believes that affordable housing is one of the biggest issues.
“I would love to do it the way it’s done with Habitat for Humanity where everyone who wants to live there is involved in the build,” she said. “I think if someone takes pride in their work, it’s going to make them feel good. They’re not going to destroy it or let others destroy it. I would love to have it built with green technology and also have community gardens and a daycare run by volunteer moms. All the vegetables grown in the community garden would go to the community, and if there is a surplus, that can go to the food bank, or they can sell it.”
Freeman would like to increase the amount of money people on disability or social assistance receive.
“We need to start listening to the citizens,” said Freeman “I don’t think [politicians] remember what it’s like to be poor. My heart goes out to the little guy. We’ve got to raise the amount of money people are getting, and we’ve got to get some lower-priced places.”
Freeman wants to create some kind of program where if a business would be willing to hire someone on social assistance for $500 or $800 a month, they would receive a tax break.
“If you look at any classified ads, they call for experienced people, and where do you get the experience,” she said.
Keeping jobs in B.C. is important to Freeman.
“We need to get B.C. jobs to B.C. workers, and if there’s a contract that comes up, like the Sea to Sky Highway, even if the B.C. contract bid is slightly higher, I’d still put B.C. at the top of the list,” she said. “I’d rather spend a little more money and put our people to work.”
To run for premier, Freeman needs Citizens Party of BC representatives all over the province. Freeman, who has a Facebook page, website and blog, is hoping to do this by getting out in the community.
“I would say the Citizens Party is a party by the citizens for the citizens because I was taught in school that the government worked for the people, and not the other way around,” she said. “I really want this to happen because I love B.C., I love the people of B.C., and I love the First Nations. For so many years, I’ve seen politician after politician and party after party, and they all end up hurting people. I thought one day ‘either I can give up and vote for whoever I think is less dishonest, or I can do something about it.’”
“I don’t have to sling mud,” she added. “Everyone knows the mistakes people made. I totally guarantee I will make mistakes, but I will listen to all sides. I know what it’s like to live on nothing. I’m on a disability pension. If I think about myself, I could get depressed, but I’m focused on other people, and it makes me feel glad. It gives me that burst of energy because every person deserves to be treated with respect, not just a few.”