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Art Lowe

Libertarian Party of Canada Age: 52 Occupation: property manager; carpenter, plumber Community involvement: Volunteered in human-rights issues, youth worker, summer-camp teacher, community watch group Art Lowe is a jack of all trades, having worked a

Libertarian Party of Canada

Age: 52

Occupation: property manager; carpenter, plumber

Community involvement: Volunteered in human-rights issues, youth worker, summer-camp teacher, community watch group

Art Lowe is a jack of all trades, having worked as a plumber, carpenter and now property manager.

His mother, Elizabeth Rose, a professional artist, and father, Walter, a Second World War vet, hail from Halifax.

They came to Victoria in the 1930s where he was born and raised.

Lowe, 52, with five children - three grown, two of whom are in the military, and two pre-teenagers - is running in his first federal election on behalf of the Libertarian Party of Canada.

"There are a lot of Libertarians in Victoria," Lowe said.

"The number contacting me and saying they are Libertarians and voting for me is just amazing."

His political aspirations are partly inspired by his family.

"My mother and I and my aunt spent a lot of time talking politics."

As a teenager, he had coffee with then-B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm.

"He actually was a pretty nice man. I know a lot of people these days don't like the man but for a premier I thought he was actually pretty good."

His other reason for running is his deep belief that Canada is becoming "a police state" and, being a Libertarian, that upsets him more than most.

There was a time when the party's views in favour of the decriminalization of marijuana might have been considered as fringe as the party itself - with no seat in the House of Commons - but now those views are becoming more mainstream.

Liberal candidate Paul Summerville says his party has gone steps further and is for the legalization, regulation, commercialization and taxation of pot.

So where does that leave the Libertarian party? Lowe is in favour of legalization, but his party is still stuck on just decriminalization - not wanting government to have a hand in it's sale or distribution. Either way, the party now has lots of company on the pot platform.

"I find interesting that all these parties have jumped on the bandwagon," Lowe said. "Now they know they can make a hell of a lot of money from this. They can regulate and control it, whereas we don't want to see the government involved in this. I want to see legitimate vendors put in place."

After days out in the public gathering views on the doorsteps of Victoria, Lowe says "most people are mad as hell at the federal government and want nothing to do with them.

"As well, a great many other people stated they are not voting, period, as they have had it with the main political parties just giving lip service and not being held accountable for what they always promise in their election campaigns," Lowe said.

A serious flu took Lowe out of campaigning and attending all-candidate forums for the last week. "I was really disappointed," Lowe said.


Top Three Issues:

1) Bill C-30 [Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act]. This online spying bill, C-30, is a contentious piece of legislation that has provoked the ire of Canada's privacy commissioners, legal experts, and wider public and could, if passed, lead to the creation of giant, unsecure registries of every Internet user's personal data.

2) Construction of the Enbridge pipeline. If the crude oil is refined in B.C. it would be much less of a risk to the environment and maximize revenue and job creation.

3) Drug reform. The people have spoken, legalize marijuana. The way to take the profit out of crime is by legalizing it and having it sold by legitimate vendors. Do we want to continually see drug dealers deciding what drugs kids can get?

Proposed $783-million secondary sewage plant, which has received tripartite funding commitments from the federal, provincial and regional governments:

This whole billion-dollar public-relations exercise and nightmare is wasteful and dangerous to families in Victoria. Thank God the voters are smarter than most politicians. Unfortunately, the current and past federal governments are more interested in tax-funded bloated boondoggles than doing the job they are elected to do - defending the economic and social liberty of Canadians.

Homelessness: We think the approach is to unleash people that need to be free in order to be happy and prosperous. Do this by eliminating people's involvement with government solutions that are proven not to work. Government solutions always come down to one-size-fits-all. The problem is there is not a single person that wears that size. Families and communities have the capacity to care for their people. Leave this issue where it is best handled, with the families and communities is our approach.

E&N: It is a black hole, with nothing but growing costs. The railway will need more repairs over the longer term, as the $20.9-million repair budget would replace every fourth rail tie, repairs that keep on costing the taxpayers to no end to keep the railway running for another decade, it will to lead to serious raising taxes on people. It is wasting money on a pointless dream supported by a very small minority. No more money for this.

Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline from the Alberta oilsands to Kitimat: We are very concerned about the pipeline as it stands now. Supporting the pipeline comes down to the potentially affected communities supporting it, but we prefer to see the oil kept on B.C.'s coast and refined here, rather than brought to China to be sold and then have it shipped back here and sold to the consumers at higher prices.

Canada-China Free Trade Agreement:

The only proper role of government, in this context, is to protect property rights, enforce contracts, and adjudicate disputes, providing a legal framework for the protection of voluntary trade.

All efforts by government to control or manage trade are improper. We propose the abolition off all barriers to international trade caused by the laws in Canada. We favor true free-trade with all nations, however, it must be recognized that some nations see trade as a route to economic conquest and we will resist trade with any nation that does this.

Answers are based on interviews with the Times Colonist and have been edited for clarity.