Don Johnston (right), who ran for the Liberals in the Kootenay-Columbia riding during the 2015 election, has this time endorsed the Green Party. File photo

Former Liberal candidate endorses Greens in Kootenay-Columbia

Don Johnston says he’ll be voting for Abra Brynne on Oct. 21

Former Liberal candidate Don Johnston says he’s switching his vote from red to green.

Johnston, who ran in Kootenay-Columbia as the Liberal Party’s candidate during the 2015 federal election, said in a statement he is supporting Green Party candidate Abra Brynne when voters go to the polls on Monday.

Johnston said his disappointment in the Liberals’ climate change record forced him to reconsider his vote.

“I was proud to be a Liberal candidate in the last election and had sincere hopes that Justin Trudeau would be that new leader who would move quickly and decisively on electoral reform and climate change,” said Johnston.

“The first simply disappeared and the second has moved much too slowly and has been pretty difficult to comprehend.”

The Liberals have never won the riding, and finished a distant fourth with just 1,496 votes in the 2011 election behind the Greens. But in 2015 Johnston earned 12,315 votes despite only spending just over $11,000 in a riding that was decided by 282 votes.

Johnston criticized Trudeau’s decision to approve the $9.3-billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline earlier this summer after promising during the last election to make climate change policies a priority.

“I’m still struggling to understand how buying a pipeline is consistent with declaring a climate emergency,” said Johnston.

Instead of backing his Liberal successor Robin Goldsbury, Johnston said he is hoping for a scenario where Green Party representation matters in a potential minority government.

“Electing Abra would place the Kootenay-Columbia riding in the forefront of voting strategically to join the massive global movement now underway to get serious about climate change. The environment is everything, especially in a place like the Kootenays.”

Related: “Kootenay-Columbia candidates debate climate change, Oct. 10”

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