Mark de Bruijn is the candidate for the Green Party of Canada in the riding of North Island-Powell River. He has a 1st class honours B.Sc. from the University of Calgary. As an educator, he has been a school principal, a high school sciences teacher and a college lecturer. As an arctic biologist he worked on environmental assessments for pipeline projects. For 21 years he was involved with an international network of intentional communities and small businesses, including 6 years as a Board member, experimenting with cooperative governance and sustainable approaches to living. His lifelong love of nature and passion for community drew him to the Green Party, and a desire to bring its inspiring principles into the governance of our country. An engaged father, and grandfather of twin boys, he lives with his partner, Carol Thatcher in the Comox Valley.
Much of my passion for the natural world and its wonders comes from leaving my urbanized European homeland at the age of 3, and moving to a country with nothing but wilderness everywhere. My father was smitten by it, and our family spent countless weekends and summers exploring the wilds, from our home in the Calgary foothills to the California Sierras. I grew up hiking, canoeing, trail riding and rock climbing my summers away in the glorious Rockies, much of it as a counsellor with a YMCA wilderness camp near Banff.
Upon graduating from the University of Calgary with a 1st class honours B.Sc. in zoology, I worked as a fish biologist in the Arctic on Canada’s first major environmental assessment for a pipeline destined to bring Alaskan natural gas to Edmonton. Our research ultimately contributed to the Canadian government’s decision to decline the development application – the huge pipe was never built.
Gradually I discovered my real interest lay in helping others appreciate and treasure the wonders of nature. I became a college biology instructor at Mount Royal College in Calgary. Later I completed the training to teach high school chemistry, biology and math, including a stint as school principal.
As economics, interests and lifestyle changed, I gathered an eclectic range of skills working as general contractor, sporting goods buyer, healing program coordinator, HR director and employability teacher and coach. But always I returned to education and its role in revealing the glories of the natural world as my primary passion.
Along the way I found myself exploring the potential of creative community building. For 20 years I was part of a large community concerned with sustainable living, serving on the board and experimenting with cooperative governance. It was a deeply life-affirming time that continues to enrich my life with another great passion it kindled: exploring the potential of human consciousness.
These interests in the global issues of environmental education and preservation, social justice, sustainable living, cooperative governance, and human potential led me to become active in the Green Party of Canada in 2014. Its six guiding principles resonate deeply with me. I believe these are the only basis for approaching the many-faceted spectre of climate change, and transitioning to a new, sustainable and just society.
Our local riding is profoundly affected by environmental challenges, many of which are linked to or exacerbated by climate change: forestry practices, fish farms, wild fish stocks, rising seas, droughts, farming practices, landfills.
And you may have noticed that many of our social issues can also be linked to climate, such as housing, food security, homelessness, and poverty.
Like me, I expect that you are eager for fresh and innovative solutions to these challenges. Our riding is full of creative and experienced people with intelligent and concrete ideas to contribute. As your MP I will take these ideas to Ottawa and work hard to use them to make our communities strong and resilient, and our environment whole.
My partner Carol shares my passion for the health of our planet. As well as supporting various local initiatives, we are privileged to have served as volunteer stewards on Mitlenatch Island. We enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, and kayaking, and we practice the spiritual wisdoms of meditation.
Mark de Bruijn (Green Party Candidate for North Island—Powell River)
Canadians in this election, more than ever, can vote from hope and from conviction, not from fear.