Chad Eros

Candidates make pitch to voters of tomorrow

Local candidates present platforms in kid-friendly formats at Chilliwack Elementary.

Conservative candidate in Chilliwack, Chad Eros, came prepared when asked to present his election platform in 10 minutes to Central Elementary students.

The father of nine rolled out an allegorical tale of two farmers, complete with illustrations drawn by his 15-year-old daughter.

The story introduced two orange farmers who struggled to get enough juice out of their crop in a draught.

The first farmer used a vice grip to re-squeeze old oranges, getting more juice out of them. But the result had a bitter taste.

The second farmer used orange seeds to plant more trees, growing more oranges. He distributed gold stars to people for digging the well to access hidden water. Residents could then trade the gold stars for candy – or cars, as one young listener suggested.

Most kids got the candidate’s point.

“Don’t ever buy orange juice from an orange farmer that wants to squeeze you – I mean, oranges – harder,” said Eros. “Buy from the farmer who won’t squeeze harder, but let the trees grow, and give them water to grow, so more oranges can grow.”

Organizing teacher Christopher Lister has been bringing a Chilliwack candidate to his Grade 5/6 classes every day this week to have them explain their platform. The events are recorded and live-streamed to any other school in the district that cares to listen in. The presentations will inform the students’ voting decisions, when they hold their mock vote on Monday as part of a national Student Vote program.

“My goal is to provide authentic learning opportunities,” said Lister. “The election is a fantastic way to learn about levels of government.”

Lister wants to see youth realizing that that they have a voice.

After the presentation, many hands shot up among the several dozen students in the room.

‘Will you promote sports for schools?’ came as the first question. Eros replied that yes, healthy living is important and lowers healthcare costs.

‘Will you make more jobs for younger people?’ If the government gets out of the way, Eros said, creative people will create new job opportunities.

‘Will you stop people from smoking?’ Changing an individual’s behaviour is tough, answered Eros.

Students also asked about more technology in schools (Eros is for it), about how to reduce B.C.’s ecological footprint (he wants to see more cars with catalytic converters), and how he feels about building more pipelines connecting B.C. to Alberta (Eros said the alternative, of buying oil from places such as Saudi Arabia and Russia, is much worse).

As some students gathered round to collect the candidate’s autograph, others chatted about who they will vote for.

10-year-old Micheal MacKay was fully convinced by the presentation, and said that Eros had his vote because the candidate wanted to lower taxes, which neither the Liberals or the Green Party – who presented to the students earlier in the week – committed to doing.

But Shelly-Ann Crane was concerned about Eros’ plan to build more oil and gas pipelines. Spills are very dangerous, she said, and can damage waterways.

Bradley Bell was undecided, but one thing he knows for sure, is he doesn’t want Metro Vancouver to build that incinerator.

akonevski@theprogress.com
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