Langley-Aldergrove will have a Libertarian candidate running for office this year.
Lauren Southern grew up in Langley and is currently at University of the Fraser Valley political science student.
“I’ve been involved in politics for a long time,” said Southern, who volunteered for the Conservative Party as a youth before she switched affiliations.
She cited a wide variety of writers, economists and philosophers as influences on her libertarian beliefs, including Ayn Rand, Herbert Marcuse and Milton Friedman.
Libertarianism is a philosophy of reduced government and increased personal freedom.
Southern sa the party is rooted in the non-aggression principle, or the idea that an individual should be free to do anything that isn’t harming anyone else.
A Libertarian government would repeal the Canada Health Act and allow private health care, eliminate the CRTC and dairy boards, lower taxes, and legalize marijuana and decriminalize other drugs and prostitution.
Just because her party believes such things should be legal doesn’t mean they’re encouraged, Southern said. She personally has very conservative values, she said, but she doesn’t believe in imposing them on others.
Southern has been controversial within the Libertarian Party.
“I was kicked out of the party because of a few comments I made on feminism and rape culture,” Southern said. “There were a few people who weren’t happy with what I said.”
She was removed as a candidate for a time after denying rape culture exists and counter-protesting at a feminist event in Vancouver. Southern wrote and recorded videos about the events there that were posted on YouTube and to The Rebel website.
Others within the party supported bringing her back, and she drew support from some right and libertarian-leaning online media, including Breitbart.com. She was reinstated in the summer.
“I think it shows a lot of maturity in the party,” she said of her return.
Southern is now trying to get the message about her party out, and is hoping to take part in any debates for the Langley-Aldergrove candidates.
She noted that in Canada there are more political options than in the U.S., and pointed to the election of a Green Party member as proof that smaller parties can find a toehold and make their way onto the national stage.
She said if she was elected, the first thing she would do would be to reduce her MP salary down to the average Canadian wage. She’s also strongly opposed to the Conservatives’ recent Bill C-51, which she called an attack on freedom and privacy.