Work Less Party's Mathew Kagis isn't afraid of the issues

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      Mathew Kagis is often asked a question that candidates from more established political parties don’t hear.

      “Usually, [it is] if we’re serious being the Work Less Party,” an amused Kagis related in a May 6 phone interview with the Georgia Straight.

      The 44-year-old was on the way from his East Vancouver home to the West End, where he’s the Work Less Party candidate, when he shared that campaign-trail experience.

      “Being a smaller party, with…what the mainstream considers alternative ideas, it’s getting the message across to people that, ‘Yes, we mean what we say. No, we’re not a joke,” Kagis said with a small chuckle.

      The first-time candidate is running in a field of six in the May 14 election in an electoral district (Vancouver–West End) held by NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert.

      “I just hope to get some questions and issues to the forefront that the large parties are afraid to talk about,” he said.

      Kagis explained his party’s name thusly: “We have a finite system, yet we have an economic system that’s based on unlimited growth. That’s the model, and that model simply doesn’t work. So working less, slowing things down, not spending as much time in an industrial workplace creating stuff that you don’t need so you can rush out and buy it: that’s one of the big things.”

      He said this alternative model leads to “horizontal democracy” and community involvement. “Once you’re doing a shorter work week, you have more time to get to know your neighbours, to be involved in your community, grow a garden, spend time with your children, and all of those things create healthier communities. It’s a community-based model.”

      A Work Less Party pamphlet provides information about Kagis, who is described as “best known for his work as the Occupy Vancouver medic who saved the life of a young man who had overdosed”.

      “However, his activism stretches back to the anti-uranium-mining movement in B.C. in the 1980s,” the paper also states, adding: “Alongside his mother and sister, he was arrested on Kennedy River Bridge defending Clayoquot Sound.”

      Kagis, who is also a volunteer with the Canadian Ski Patrol, works as a waiter in the West End.

      Among the bigger parties, Kagis said that the Green party of B.C. is closest, at least “on paper”, to the core principles of the Work Less Party. But the Green party is also “very libertarian in their views”, and that’s what sets it apart from the Work Less Party.

      “They believe in smaller government. They believe in lower taxes. They seem to be ecologically sensitive Republicans, if I can put it that way,” Kagis said.

      “I believe that one of the places we need larger government is in oversight,” Kagis explained. “There are a lot of places where you can shrink bureaucracy and shrink government, but when it comes to having environmental rules followed, residential-tenancy rules and rental rules followed, all those kinds of regulations, you need larger government.”

      The Work Less Party has two candidates in the election.




      May 6, 2013 at 4:49pm

      I have to say, if I thought they stood a snowball's chance of winning, I would vote for the Work Less Party. Slowing down, disengaging from the relentless pursuit of STUFF, giving yourself time to connect with what is really important...all of this is self-evidently sensible.

      Alan Layton

      May 6, 2013 at 9:35pm

      I'd definitely appreciate a shorter work week and less consumerism in general, but the problem is most people are ambitious and want to succeed. So they want to work and buy harder than the Work Less Party would prescribe. I'm glad he's working hard to get his message out, regardless.


      May 8, 2013 at 7:35am

      I was under the impression that a lot of protesters,rioters and homeless are already working less. Now if this catches on to the average worker/tax payer we could be in trouble,where would the taxes come from the idle more require,
      Someone has to pay so the rest can idle.

      Mathew Kagis

      May 8, 2013 at 2:03pm

      PJ: you mean like the resource based corporate leviathans who make billions from BC? I find it interesting that none of the big parties have brought this up. BC has the lowest corporate tax rate in Canada, Canada has the lowest rate in the G20... I think I've found your revenue source...