Meet Chris van Ouwerkerk: The Green candidate for the District 10 byelection
'I really want to make a difference on Prince Edward Island'
Chris van Ouwerkerk is balancing his life as a new dad with being the Green Party candidate in the upcoming District 10, Charlottetown-Winsloe byelection.
And while the campaign has meant less time at home with his 10-week-old baby, van Ouwerkerk says one of the reasons he's running is for his family.
"I really want to make a difference on Prince Edward Island," he said.
"I want to make it a better place for myself, my family, my daughter Elsie."
Father and small business owner
Van Ouwerkerk is a lawyer and a small business owner. He said he's hardworking and hopes to bring that work ethic to the residents of Charlottetown-Winsloe.
According to van Ouwerkerk, going door-to-door has been an important part of his campaign. And while he's not yet managed to reach everyone in the district, he's determined to before Monday.
Stop using schools as a political game and just build them.— Chris van Ouwerkerk
"This is a job and the doorstep is a job interview. It's important to go to the job interview to get a job."
Before joining the Green Party, van Ouwerkerk ran for the NDP in 2011 and 2015.
"I didn't see what I wanted to see from the NDP on the Island so I got out of politics for quite some time," he said.
Mental health and school infrastructure
When asked about the top two issues he wants to address, van Ouwerkerk said mental health and ensuring schools — like West Royalty Elementary and Sherwood Elementary — have proper infrastructure.
"It's time to get moving on it, stop using schools as a political game and just build them," he said.
"Expand them and invest into our children."
In terms of mental health and addiction, van Ouwerkerk said there's currently a disconnect that needs to be addressed.
"Closing the liquor stores during the height of the pandemic showed that there was no perspective in government about what it is actually like to deal with an addiction."
He said he would also like to see a new mental health facility.
The Green Party finished second in the previous District 10 election and while van Ouwerkerk said he thinks it will be a tight race to the finish line, he's cautiously optimistic.
"I just want to get to every last door," he said.
"I just want to make sure everyone gets the chance to tell me what their concerns are."
More from CBC P.E.I.
With files from Laura Meader