By: Laura Steiner, Local Journalism Initiative
Anger with status quo is the reason Green Party of Canada candidate Chris Kowalchuk is running. “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore,” he said. The 59-year old from Oakville boasts a 40 year history as an activist at all three levels of government. He worked briefly as a lift supervisor at Glen Eden in the 1980’s. Kowalchuk is running against Nadeem Akbar for the Conservative Party, Muhammad Riaz Sahi for the NDP, Sibli Hadad for the People’s Party of Canada (PPC), and incumbent Adam van Koeverden representing the Liberal Party of Canada.
He believes the Green Party’s platform will be good for Milton voters because it’s driven by science and brings decision making to a local level, including on the CN Intermodal. “A Green mandate would ensure that the local community has first say on where development happens in their community, as Milton’s representative, the priority would be to make sure the 325 conditions are met,” Kowalchuk said. The CN Intermodal was approved by the federal cabinet in January with 325 different conditions.
Green Party of Canada leader Annamie Paul has been calling for a coordinated national strategy to fight COVID-19 since last year. Kowalchuk believes hyper-partisanship between the Liberals and Conservatives have turned it into a political football between federal government and the provinces. “A proactive and non-partisan approach is the Green party is the Green Party way”, he said.
The Green Party’s economic platform addresses some of the weak spots highlighted by the pandemic. They propose a Guaranteed Livable Income, as new universal programs on childcare, and Pharmacare. A Green Party government would also bring long-term care under the Canada Health Act. The constitution assigns responsibility for running the healthcare system to the provinces, while the federal government is responsible for funding it.
Climate Change is in in every facet of the Green Party platform. “The primary tenet of Green politics is to create a sustainable economic, social, and ecological system,” Kowalchuk explained. The platform includes measures to develop a green infrastructure, and transition the Canadian economy away from fossil fuels, as well moving to a net zero approach.
The Green Party condemns the Indian Act as racist, and is committed to dismantling it. “Greens will support Indigenous Peoples’ work and efforts towards self-determination to ensure no one is left behind or excluded from their rightful heritage.” They will commit to enshrining the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) into law. Bill C-15 was passed by the Liberals earlier this year, which calls for Canada to respect the declaration. The Green Party will also implement the calls from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They will respect the treaty rights.
Why Vote for the Green Party?
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Vote Green as if your children, and grandchildren’s life depend on it, because it does.” For more information on the Green Party of Canada’s platform visit their website .Election day is September 20, 2021.
Reporter’s Note: I have reached out to all five candidates. Chris Kowalchuk was the first to respond. I’m still trying to reach out to the other four candidates.