Brittany Gervais/Terrace Standard Kitimat comedian Danny Nunes as ‘Dan the Bear.’

‘Bear with me’: Kitimat comedian dressed in bear costume running as independent for Skeena-Bulkley Valley

Four other candidates have signed Danny Nunes’ nomination papers

Kitimat comedian Danny Nunes is bearing down on his next attempt to kickstart his political career dressed in a bear costume.

Nunes is running as an independent in the upcoming federal election to replace Nathan Cullen as the MP for the Skeena-Bulkley Valley clothed as the character ‘Dan the Bear’. This time, he says, he’s all in.

“They see a guy in a bear suit, but they also see the guy in the bear suit has some intelligence there. There’s a platform there,” Nunes says. “If you’re against party politics, if you’re against money politics, prove me wrong.”

This isn’t Nunes first time running as a character for an elected political seat. During last years’ municipal election, Nunes announced his run to be the mayor of both Kitimat and Terrace dressed as the Kool-Aid man. He then backed out when it was clear he would be the only challenger against incumbent Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc.

READ MORE: Kool-Aid man to run for Terrace mayor

“It was interesting but actually very, very scary,” Nunes says, taking off his bear mask. “ I think I proved my point which was to encourage young people to vote, so I finally got that message across, I didn’t need to be mayor so that was done. Then I thought, ‘Hmm. What would it take for me to run in a federal election, and what would that entail?’”

Nunes says he assumed it would be a difficult process to become a candidate in a federal election, but the actual requirements turned out to be fairly simple. What’s been more immediately challenging is campaigning in a suit of furry fabric.

“All the layers, I’m losing a lot of water weight with this,” Nunes says.

To run in a federal election as an independent, prospective candidates need to be Canadian citizens, at least 18 years of age with identification, an appointed auditor and a minimum of 50 signatures from eligible voters in the district to run.

Nunes submitted his nomination package to the Elections Canada office on Sept. 16 and was confirmed earlier last week.

“[My platform is to] say no to money politics, say no to party politics and yes to electoral reform,” he says. “If I can’t get money out of politics and party politics, let’s get a better understanding of what people really want for once. We’ve had Justin Trudeau promise electoral reform. Let’s get a bear to [Ottawa] and then I’ll get you electoral reform.”

Nunes describes his platform as a challenge to voters to show him proof his cynicism is misplaced in the current democratic system. He says his campaign will not spend or receive any money, and he’s taking public transit to different communities in the riding to promote a low-carbon campaign challenge.

While he says he may not make all of the all-candidate debates, he will be doing some appearances via social media.

“I wish there was actually someone to teach people how to become an independent candidate through Elections Canada. People think, oh, it’s so difficult, you need all this money. No, you have social media, you can create a Facebook page, you can do this all on your own. I tell people, it’s not hard to be an independent.”

Four of the 50 signatures include some of his running opponents, including NDP candidate Taylor Bachrach, People’s Party candidate Jody Craven, Christian Heritage Party candidate Rod Taylor, and independent candidate Merv Ritchie.

“What would be the weirdest, oddest thing you could do in an election? Go to the people you’re running against and see if they’ll nominate you to run against them,” Nunes says. “By nominating me I think they’ve basically conceded.”

READ MORE: Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates react to finding Trudeau broke ethics law

Bachrach confirmed he signed the nomination papers, and says Nunes approached him at the fall fair in Smithers. He says he signed in the “spirit of collegiality” and not as an endorsement. He thinks Danny is trying to raise awareness of the election and get young people involved in democracy and says that’s a good thing.

Christian Heritage Party candidate Rod Taylor also confirmed he signed in the spirit of promoting free speech.

“It’s certainly not an endorsement, I would only be endorsing myself, but I don’t mind if people with different views are on the ballot and have a chance to express themselves during the campaign,” Taylor said.

Independent Merv Ritchie signed Nunes’ papers because he was also running as an independent, which he says gives candidates more of an opportunity to say what they think without having to answer to a backing political party.

People’s Party candidate Jody Craven says he signed Nunes’ papers because he believes in free speech.

— with files from Thom Barker

Just Posted

Snowfall warning continues for parts of B.C.’s Interior

First significant snowfall of the season prompts Environment Canada warning

Here are the top earners at Coast Mountains School District

Audited financial report released for 2018/2019 fiscal year

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

Gitga’at and LNG Canada announce new Marine Emergency Response and Research Facility in Hartley Bay

LNG Canada providing financial support as committed in 2014 Impact Mitigation and Benefit Agreement

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

Banned from taking work involving young people for five years

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Coastal GasLink receives first delivery of pipe sections

Company expects to begin welding and pipe laying in 2020

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Most Read