First-year Law student Robert Mason hopes to make the ballot as an NDP electoral candidate in the upcoming federal elections.
With the elections scheduled for October 2015, Mason is seeking selection as one of the federal candidates for the Vancouver Granville riding. If he wins, Mason will be on the ballot as an MP candidate.
In preparation, Mason started the process of helping residents in his voting district sign up for NDP membership. NDP members with a minimum of a month of party membership will be eligible to vote during the candidate nomination process.
“I’m doing some canvasing, knocking on doors, calling existing members and other people I know in the riding,” said Mason.
Mason has been an official member of the NDP for less than a year and has considered himself a supporter of the political party since voting for them during the previous Canadian federal election in 2011.
According to Mason, the NDP is currently the only political party in Canada whose platform endorses reforms to Canada’s electoral system. This includes opting for proportional representation rather than first-past-the-post voting, which favours the candidate with the most votes as the winner without requiring a majority.
This policy in particular prompted Mason's decision to join the party. He said that proportional representation will create a parliament that would more accurately represent the votes of citizens, which he views as essential to an effective democracy.
“Harper and Trudeau have both voted against proportional representation," said Mason. "Tom Mulcair is the only one of the major leaders who has stood up in favour of [it].”
According to Mason, his studies in law will be a powerful asset to him, since the primary responsibility of an MP is to take part in the making and amending of legislations.
“We’ve seen even in government, [where] they’ve passed bills into law that had errors in them and I think legal minds are better able to spot those errors,” said Mason.
Still, balancing law school and a budding political career is no easy task. Mason said that while he normally has little to no leisure time, he sees his candidacy as a positive balance between his career and academic aspirations.
“With law school, I have my nose in books," said Mason. "With the campaign, I’m actually out talking to people, so it’s very different kind of work and I think they complement each other quite a bit.”