James Filippelli was a young man when he founded a political party that he dreamt British Columbians can call truly their own.
He recalls being 21 at the time he established Your Political Party of B.C. (YPPBC) on the principles of open government, sustainability, and collaboration.
That was in 2002, and the then Douglas College student went on to nurture the party that seeks to put community interests ahead of partisan politics.
As a party, YPPBC believes that partisan block voting is not good for democracy. It maintains that MLAs should be able to cast free votes to represent the interests of their constituents. MLAs should not be required to toe their party’s official line.
The party also believes that British Columbians should have the ability to case votes in non-binding referendums on various issues that affect them.
The party likewise believes that citizens should be provided with all the information needed so that they know how their tax dollars are being spent.
Filippelli was the party’s only candidate in 2005. In the next two elections in 2009 and 2013, YPPBC fielded Filippelli and Brent Williams.
The party’s electoral forays have been unsuccessful so far. But that hasn’t deterred Filippelli, now electrical foreman in residential high-rise construction.
Based on the current roster of YPPBC’s candidates for the May 9, 2017 provincial election, the party seems to be attracting more adherents.
Including Filippelli, there are six candidates running so far, the most number in the party’s 15-year history.
“We’re really happy with it,” Filippelli told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “It shows that people obviously believe in the issues that we’re bringing forward around transparency and accountability in government.”
According to the YPPBC leader, more candidates may be fielded by the party.
“It seems in B.C. that people … have been plugging their nose and voting for the lesser of two evils, and we want to give them a better option,” he said, referring to the ruling B.C. Liberal Party, and the opposition B.C. NDP.
Filippelli is running in Vancouver-False Creek in the May 9 provincial election.
One of the of YPPBC’s candidates is Brette Mullins, who is running in Vancouver-Kingsway.
Mullins, 34, lives in the constituency with his wife and young daughter. He currently works as a project manager and business analyst with the Provincial Health Services Authority.
In an interview at the Straight offices, Mullins said that YPPBC’s philosophy is about giving politics “back to the people”.
According to him, a “huge disconnect” often happens when politicians get elected because they’re now required to follow their party’s line on issues.
As part of his contract to his prospective constituents, Mullins will be donating 15 percent of his salary if elected MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway.
According to the terms of Mullins’ contract, 10 percent of his salary will be devoted to projects chosen by constituents. The remaining five percent will for projects of his choice.