GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE
1 – Please give us a brief biography / tell the readers about yourself. (e.g. work, family, education, experience)
A long-time resident of Avonmore, north of Cornwall, I live on a small farm with my family, horses and dogs. Growing up on my family’s beef and sugar bush farm in West Quebec, I was the second youngest of ten children—the first girl of the family–and I learnt early the value of hard work, fairness, and persistence. After we moved to North Stormont, I worked as a riding instructor and horse trainer while obtaining a PhD. in English Literature (2000). As well as being a sessional lecturer at the University of Ottawa, I’ve worked as volunteer ESL teacher for youth, a Big Sister, a humane educator with the Humane Society, and for World Vision.
2 – What makes you the best choice to be our Member of Parliament?
I am a non-partisan, intelligent person who would bring an evidence-based yet compassionate approach to government. I have spent my whole adult life working with children and youth: as an educator for 20 yrs at Uottawa, a children’s riding instructor, a volunteer with organizations dedicated to children, and a mother and aunt. As your MP, I would put climate change and the well-being of our children and youth at the top of my agenda. Post-pandemic funding for youth mental health issues; development of more specialized training programs; and taking immediate, urgent action on climate change would be my priorities.
3 – What is the most important Federal issue affecting people here in the riding of SDSG? How will your party address this issue?
The extreme heat, wildfires, and drought in B.C show us the future if we do not take urgent action on climate change and keep the projected rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees. But addressing climate change will also provide many new opportunities in the green economy, including retrofitting existing buildings and servicing clean technology. We can elect an MP from a party whose membership denies climate change and who focuses on tax clinics for seniors. Or we can have an MP that will help ensure that Cornwall’s workers—who are too often trapped in low-paying, unskilled jobs—have funding and access to the specialized training programs that will allow them to compete successfully for these well-paying jobs in the new green economy.
4 – What are your thoughts on Canada’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic? What is your party’s plan to address the pandemic moving forward?
Canada was successful with its pandemic response because, unlike in the U.S, we didn’t question the scientific evidence and we let the experts lead. This thoughtful response is testimony to Canada’s excellent education system and community spirit. Moving forward, we should continue to refrain from politicizing the issue, listen to the public health experts, and work together to protect each other. We also need to listen to the psychologists and experts who underline the need of our children to return to in-person schooling and access all the social and health benefits that come with it.
5 – What are the best ways to support economic recovery after a pandemic? What will your party do to support small businesses?
Our local economy suffers because it is cheaper to ship in food and poorly made merchandise from China than to buy a quality, local product But Covid, and the shortages that accompanied it, have shown us the dangers of a system based on shipping commodities across the globe. We need to use post-pandemic funding to work with the province to improve local food security and to restore local processing and distribution networks. As well, Green post-pandemic stimulus spending and job creation would focus on moving us towards an zero carbon future, providing training and opportunities for work in clean and green tech.
6 – What is your reaction to the UN climate report? Does Canada have a responsibility to reduce carbon emissions, and if yes, what is the best course of action?
Canada, per person, is the second largest emitter of C02 in the world and one of the top ten emitters in the world despite its low population density. So we need to take action to lower emissions, particularly for heating and transportation. The Green Party has committed to creating millions of new, well-paid jobs in the trades by retrofitting every building in Canada-residential, commercial and institution—to be carbon neutral by 2030. We also plan to redirect subsidies from the fossil fuel industry to accelerate the switch to electric and hybrid vehicles. Finally, we plan to develop a national electricity corridor that would allow renewable energy to be transmitted from one province to another.
7 – Tragic discoveries have been made at Residential schools. What should the Federal Government do to address this and other issues impacting Aboriginals (e.g., land claims, clean drinking water, etc.) ?
Our children learn in kindergarten that an apology has to be accompanied by action for it to be meaningful. As we work on the plan for the Cornwall waterfront in partnership with the Mohawks of Akwesasne, we should ensure that the final product contains such things as prominent use of their language on new buildings and signage; structure(s) that will display or incorporate their history, culture, and traditions; and acknowledgement of their traditional lands in the St. Lawrence River Valley area. Nationally, we need education and restitution. Education so Canadians can learn of the culture and contributions of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit, as well as the devastation of the residential schools. Restitution to ensure a better education and increased access to investment capital for Indigenous entrepreneurs, among other things.
8 – Canada banned blood donations from gay men since 1992. Since 2013, there have been ongoing restrictions. Do you support lifting the remaining restrictions? Why or why not?
I believe all parties should follow the recommendations of medical science as to what restrictions should be placed on blood donors. One of the great strengths of Canadian society is that we do not engage in the so-called culture wars that we see tearing the U.S. apart. We’re smart enough as a society and caring enough to follow scientific advice on best practices. Let’s keep it that way!
9 – What are your thoughts on the Trudeau government? Most significant accomplishment and/or biggest failures?
Trudeau let medical health experts lead on the pandemic. Consequently, we had less loss of life and are recovering faster than our neighbours to the south. But Trudeau does not deliver on his promises. He promises a transition to clean energy but buys a pipeline. He talks about the dangers of the pandemic, but forces our country into an entirely unnecessary election just as we are trying to safely re-open our schools. And he swore to make our democratic system work better by introducing proportional representation—a system in which everyone’s vote counts, not just the votes of the winning party. But he backed down. As with so much of Trudeau’s talk, he doesn’t have the will to implement it.
10 – Which political leader is the best choice for Prime Minister and why?
Cornwall made history when it became the first city in Ontario to choose a black woman as mayor. The Green Party of Canada made history when it elected Annamie Paul to be the first back female leader of a national party. Now, let’s make history again by electing a Green MP in Ontario!.