Alexandra Morton is running for the BC Green Party in the North Island riding this year. Photo supplied by Alexandra Morton

Fish-farming crusader chasing MLA seat on the North Island

After years of battling B.C. fish farm policy, Alexandra Morton will run for the Green party

Alexandra Morton will be running for the B.C. Green Party in the North Island riding in this year’s provincial election.

Morton lives in the Broughton Archipelago on Malcolm Island where she has worked as a marine biologist for over 30 years. She moved to the area in the mid-80s to study a specific pod of killer whales. Her research has since shifted to look at the effects of salmon farming in B.C.’s coastal waters. Seeing firsthand how current policies have affected both the environment and the communities of the North Island riding is what prompted her to run in this year’s election.

“I’ve lived in Echo Bay and Sointula for 37 years and frankly the policies that are killing off the wild salmon are also killing our communities,” she said. “Echo Bay got completely wiped out and Sointula is not the community it was. I know that the surrounding communities are all struggling. I really feel strongly that we have to do things differently.”

RELATED: ‘It’s time to move on’ – North Island MLA Claire Trevena will not seek re-election

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However, she is not advocating for a full stop on economic activity in the region. Instead, she says there is a way to ensure communities are both sustainable and economically viable for future generations.

“It is astonishing to me that in a place as rich as this with the trees and rivers and fish, that we’re suffering at all. We are. Our children are definitely going to get less from us than we got from the previous generations, and I know a lot of people are worried about that,” she said.

This is Morton’s first time running for office, though she has debated doing so in the past. She admits that she has a lot to learn about the political side of things, but she has an open mind and is willing to talk to those in the area to ensure that her office will work for them.

“I want people to know that I can’t commit magic here. It’s all going to be hard work and painful steps in my learning process,” she said. “I can see people want a change and I’m up for that.”

Morton will be reaching out to those people through her campaign and hopes to continue to be there for her constituents if elected.

“There are wise people in every one of the communities in the North Island,” she said. “We are going to figure out what needs to be done together. Whatever happens in Victoria is somewhat separate from what happens in my local constituency office. I will be here for the people and for these communities.”

“We’re never going to protect the environment unless the people are happy and thriving,” she added. “That’s absolutely essential.”

To Morton, recent events have catalyzed the need for her to run in this election. The main trigger for her was the Sept. 28 announcement by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) that effectively ended the possibility of salmon farm closures in the waters around Campbell River.

“DFO made a very disastrous decision on the impact of salmon farms on the Fraser River sockeye, and that’s what caused me to enter the race this time,” she said, adding that “We’ve got seven years to stop our civilization from being impacted by climate change, so it’s really time to get as brilliant as we possibly can to get through this.”

Morton will be running against NDP candidate Michele Babchuk, BC Liberal candidate Norm Facey, BC Conservative candidate John Twigg to replace incumbent MLA Claire Trevena, who will not be seeking re-election after four terms.

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marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

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