Bryce Watts is looking to channel local support for the environment and action on climate change in to Green votes.
This is his first time running for political office.
Who is Bryce Watts?
From Surrey; lives in Port Moody
An ethnobotanist and owner of a green marketing firm, Watts says his experience working overseas gives him a unique perspective in overcoming divisive politics.
Founder of a non-profit promoting traditional ecological knowledge
Bryce Watts In Profile
For Bryce Watts, it all started over a beer on Brewer’s Row. He’d just returned from a stint overseas during which he'd catalogued ancient Egyptian botanical specimens at Kew Gardens in London and launched his own green marketing company in Cyprus.
As a young cultural anthropologist steeped in non-profits and small business, politics had never appealed to him. But when the 29-year-old randomly met the Green Party organizer for Metro Vancouver at Moody Ales in January, they got talking. Watts had been a Green all along without knowing it, he recently told The Tri-City News.
That night, party organizers asked Watts to put his name on the ballot and, two weeks later, he was all in.
Watts says his time abroad opened his eyes to the pitfalls of right-wing populism — he says he saw non-British friends get attacked in the streets of London following the Brexit referendum — and to fallout from climate change.
“I wanted to actually do something meaningful because of the things I saw when I was away,” he said. “I was in Europe for the driest summer they've ever had. I was in the Middle East for the wettest winter they've ever had.”
Like most Green candidates, climate change ranks high on his list of priorities, although affordability and transportation, he said, are a close second.
He said people need to come to terms with the fact that as the population grows, the riding needs more housing and inevitably that means a balanced densification strategy that pushes developers to build more reasonably priced rental units through federal GST incentives as well as drastically expanded co-op housing stock to address capacity and wait times.
On transportation, Watts said he wants to see service expanded to people outside SkyTrain hubs. He would prioritize a $375 million federal transfer payment plan proposed by Metro Vancouver mayors to help TransLink expand and switch to hydrogen-powered and electric buses.
Watts shuns an alarmist approach to climate change and would rather work methodically through practical, ambitious measures to tackle the problem. First up if elected: establishing a cross-party cabinet to address the climate crisis through evidence.
“You can be sensationalist and stoke fear, whether you're super progressive or super conservative,” he said. “We can see the signs, so let's get started finding solutions instead of trying to scare the crap out of people into joining our side.”
Watts said he opposes the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline and supports a party plan to cut $3.3 billion in government subsidies to oil companies and re-direct the money to re-train and transition oil sector workers into new jobs in renewable energy.
In addition, Watts said he would lead federal efforts to fund green research, as well as legislation and education programs to reduce food waste, both of which, he said, could trickle down to the riding by reducing human-wildlife conflicts and stimulating the local economy.
On many issues, Watts said he has a similar outlook to his NDP rival. He is pro-choice and said, as a proud gay man and feminist, that he’s always been a strong advocate for women's and LGBTQ rights.
Where the two parties differ, Watts said, is on the environment, where the Greens have set more aggressive targets to slash emissions than any other party.
Bryce Watts in 3 minutes
Learn more about Watts
- Acclaimed Green candidates for Tri-City ridings
- Greens to pick candidate for Port Moody-Coquitlam
- Tri-City candidates seek politician, group endorsements
- Tri-Cities a battleground in federal election, say experts