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Anna Beard
ARTS AND CULTURE EDITOR

Twitter photo of @Bear4Mayor

Twitter photo of @Bear4Mayor

While his nomination papers for Kitchener’s top job haven’t been filed, there’s one bear in Waterloo Region that’s looking to shake up the local political landscape.

“I think Kitchener is ready for a change. I think Mayor Zehr has done an amazing job for Kitchener, and I’m very sad to see him
go. I see this as a terrific opportunity to give voice to non-human species,” said Bear. “I have many skills. I am good at gnawing, grunting, eating berries and honey, and taking care of my pet fish. I am also good at finding non-traditional solutions to problems.”

Bear believes there’s opportunity to continue on the path set by Zehr in keeping Kitchener moving forward but wants to make the community more inclusive for everyone – including bears.

“Kitchener can do better. We have ranked very poorly for immigrants. We also were recently ranked the 16th best place for women in Canada. We can do better than this,” explained Bear. “Kitchener’s initial reaction to calls for a pride flag was embarrassing. City Hall should have flown the flag immediately and without controversy. I believe my town is one of inclusion and one that fights to support minority groups.”

In terms of what he believes is the most important issue facing Kitchener right now, Bear says smart growth needs to be taken into account as we move forward.

“I’m a little concerned about the growth and dependence on tech culture. I see downtown changing a lot. Empty buildings I used to be able to rummage around in now have fancy doors and chairs,” explained Bear. “I worry that humans who used to be able to live downtown might be forced further away from the downtown core, and overrun the forest with more suburbs. I think we should continue to grow, but grow smartly, and keep the needs of all of our residents in mind.”

Bear has a solid campaign that focuses on the environment, arts, diversity and public transit, so it should be no surprise that this candidate is supportive of sustainable solutions.

“I fully support ION and light rail transit,” said Bear. “Projects like ION might cause temporary disruption, but they are better for the region as a whole – humans and non-humans alike.”

“One item I think Kitchener can show some real improvement on is its green bin program. Usage in some areas, and especially in condos, is very low. Humans can do better at reducing their waste, and I think we need to do as much as possible to encourage this. Not only will this reduce waste and create more dirt for plants to grow, but it will also mean I won’t need to rummage as much to find food at night,” said Bear.

When it comes to staking up the competition, Bear believes that he could very well become the first non-human mayor of Kitchener.

“Berry Vrbanovic welcomed me to the race on Twitter. This was very nice of him. He was even the first to use my Twitter hashtag: #Bear4Mayor,” said Bear.

“Peter Martin used to run fancy restaurants for humans. I heard a rumour that he once ate bear meat. I hope that it’s not true. I will be honest and say I do not know much about Dan Glenn-Graham’s platform, but he seems very nice. I look forward to learning more.”

No doubt we’ll be hearing much more from Bear as the election draws closer, but for now you can follow him on Twitter @Bear4Mayor.