Leon Jensen was born in Denmark, raised in the Lower Mainland, and has spent stints everywhere from Ottawa to Alberta to the former Yugoslavia.
The Liberal candidate for the Langley-Aldergrove riding, Jensen has moved around both for his job in the materials handling field, and for his position in the Canadian Reserves.
Jensen served with the 15th Field Artillery Regiment.
During his several decades with the military, Jensen spent time in Germany in the 1970s, and in the 1990s he was deployed to the former Yugoslavia as part of the United Nations Protection Force and the NATO Implementation Force.
“A fascinating, eye-opening experience,” he said of his time in the war-torn region.
It also threw his Canadian identity into sharp focus, Jensen said. There were both American and British officers with the international forces there, and they often didn’t seem to get along.
“We were kind of the go-to guys,” Jensen said. The other English-speaking countries used the Canadians as go-betweens to smooth things over.
Jensen retired from both his day job and his role in the military, after achieving the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
He also spent time working in Ottawa at National Defense Headquarters.
It was after he returned from that posting to B.C. that Jensen, raised in Vancouver and Delta, first decided to settle in Langley. After some time in the City, he moved to the Township and into what is now part of the Langley-Aldergrove riding.
While he was in the military, Jensen said he stayed out of politics by choice. While reservists can be politically active, he chose not to.
Once he was retired, he said he wanted to participate, and settled on the Liberals as the party that closest matched his core beliefs.
Jensen headed off to his local riding association and offered to volunteer or help out.
“It turned out they were actually looking for a candidate,” he said.
When it comes to issues that animate him particularly, his background means that veterans and national defense are an obvious concern of his.
But he also thinks the federal government needs to take more of a role in infrastructure and transit.
While transit is a responsibility of provinces and regions like Metro Vancouver, Jensen said Ottawa could do more.
Langley has an opportunity to create a very livable community over the next 10 years.
“It’s a partnership,” Jensen said. “We have to work together at all three levels.”
As a rookie in a long election campaign, Jensenn said he’s also finding out just how costly the campaigns are for the taxpayers.