CANDIDATE PROFILE: NDP’s Adam Kilner passionate on promoting social justice

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of six federal election candidate profiles, appearing daily in alphabetical order.

Tara Jeffrey

Adam Kilner says politics has always been in his blood.

Adam Kilner

“I’m a ravenous devourer of the news. I’ve always been interested in what politicians are doing, and the policies they’re developing,” said the local United Church Minister and second-time federal NDP candidate for Sarnia-Lambton.

“I’m a helper; when people ask for help, I try to do whatever is in my ability.

“And as a racialized person myself, I see the first racialized leader of a major political party and I think, ‘This person represents me in so many ways,’” he said of party leader Jagmeet Singh. “And an all-around good guy to boot.”

Kilner was born in Windsor where he was fostered by the late Erma Vinson and named after her late husband, Rev. Adam Vinson (she dedicated her life to fostering more than 250 children in need of a home).

At 20 months old he was adopted by Earle and Gail Kilner in Sarnia, the 12th of 13 children, 10 of whom were adopted.

“My dad has dementia, so he’s probably a lot less aware now, but when I ran in 2019 he was just so proud,” said Kilner, who earned 22% of the vote and finished second to incumbent Marilyn Gladu.

His family’s unwavering support is “the wind at my back,” Kilner said.

After graduating from Northern Collegiate, he earned a Master of Divinity degree at the University of Toronto’s Victoria University before returning to Sarnia. Today, he serves as congregational minister at Dunlop United Church and is involved in numerous community agencies and causes.

A noted history buff, Kilner also wrote the biography of Rev. Wilbur Howard, the first black person to be ordained a minister in the United Church of Canada.

“Our history is rooted in unions and farmers and social democrats,” said Kilner. “And being there when they need to picket, being there when they need legislation in their favour…and really just supporting workers in general.”

Kilner says he’s committed to fostering an inclusive community for 2LGBTQ+ persons, and is passionate about “righting the relations with indigenous communities and people.”

He’s also deeply invested in protecting the environment.

“Sometimes, when I’m out kayaking on the lake or the river, I sit there and wonder if anyone else knows how beautiful this place we call home is,” he said. “Sarnia-Lambton is such an incredible place to live.”

Kilner is an avid hockey and Toronto Raptors fan, squash coach, Big Brother and Kiwanis Club member, and an advisor to the Builders Club for local elementary students.

Residents are ready for change, Kilner said.

“And I’m excited to bring that change. We do know that it’s still a David versus Goliath story. But we’re raring to go.”