Martin Holzbauer is the Skeena riding’s independent candidate for the Oct. 24 provincial election.
Originally from Germany, Holzbauer has lived in the Terrace area since 1990. He works as a contractor, mainly painting but also doing some renovation work.
He previously ran unsuccessfully for Terrace city council in 2011 and 2018 and the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine board of directors in 2018.
Holzbauer acknowledged he only has a slim chance of winning the Skeena seat in this election, but he said it was still important for him to enter the race.
“I want to give a different point of view, and bring up things other candidates would not even want to address,” he said. “Mainly that politicians are our employees, and they seem to forget that most of the time … we pay their wages. That makes them our employees.”
An independent MLA could be very effective in a minority government scenario, Holzbauer said. He prefers minority governments because they are more democratic, though he is frustrated with the current political system in B.C. and he supports a switch to proportional representation.
“The only way we have true democracy is if you have a minority government,” he said. “In any relationship between two people, does one person always get to decide what’s happening in the relationship? Or is it based on compromise? If one person always makes the rules and dictates everything, the relationship will not last very long. But we accept it in politics.”
“That’s one of my beefs.”
Holzbauer is frustrated a snap election was called and he wants that viewpoint represented in the race as well.
“Yes, it’s a snap election. Additional costs. Who’s paying for that? You and me,” he said. “All the people I talked to, who signed my nomination documents, I have not ran into one person who agrees with the election call. Not one out of about 125 [people].”
Holzbauer is an advocate for green energy. He built his home in Thornhill with energy efficiency as a top priority, and it’s designed to be a net-zero home, meaning it should produce at least as much energy as it uses.
He first became interested in politics years ago when the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine prevented him from installing a wind turbine, which he believes they did not have the right to do. The dispute between Holzbauer and the regional district is still before the courts years later.
“What got me involved in politics, or wanting to be, was the treatment I got from the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine,” he said. “I was really frustrated with the process, and then I became what they call ‘an engaged citizen,’ and paid more attention to things.”
“I felt wronged, because what they forced me to do is to pollute against my will.”
He said green energy is important to him because he’s very concerned about climate change.
“If we [continue to] go the way we go, we will kill ourselves. It’s that simple,” he said.
Holzbauer was once involved with the BC Green Party, but he has let his membership lapse and he prefers to be in the race as an independent candidate.
“Yes I could have run for the Green Party, but then you’re still tied to the party line. As the independent, nobody can tell you what you can and cannot say or do,” he said.
Spending on green energy projects is one way that the B.C. government could begin to recover the economy following COVID-19, Holzbauer said.
For years, he has been calling for the implementation of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), a program that would allow homeowners to borrow money from their municipality to retrofit their homes with energy-efficient materials and green energy generation, then repay the money through their property tax bill each year. Alberta allows PACE financing, which is also widely used in the United States.
“If the government just gives a little bit of incentives, and enacts the right laws, the economy will take care of itself,” he said.
Holzbauer approves of how Dr. Bonnie Henry has handled the pandemic thus far and said British Columbians need to follow pandemic safety guidelines.
“The rules are there for a reason, and to protect everybody,” he said. ”The problem is, yes, there is personal freedom, and there is considering about everybody else. If you go too far towards taking personal freedom over everybody else’s rights, that can become a problem. Look at the United States … they have about 20 per cent of all the deaths in the world because of that.”