Green Party

Nancy Pancheshan representing the Green Party in Essex riding

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Nancy Pancheshan fought to try and protect lands near Ojibway from a proposed big box development and now she is trying to become the Essex riding’s next MPP.

Pancheshan is the Green Party candidate in the June 7 provincial election and is running against NDP incumbent Taras Natyshak, Progressive Conservative (PC) candidate Chris Lewis and Liberal Kate Festeryga.

“I was trying to protect the Ojibway prairie from a big box development in Windsor,” said Pancheshan. “I saw the lack of political will to protect natural areas.”

Pancheshan believed that to make changes, the area needs people that care about climate change. However, she noted she is more than just a one issue candidate as she stated the Greens have plans for “jobs, people and the planet.”

The Green Party would help small businesses, including increasing the health payroll exemption tax from $450,000 to $1 million. Pancheshan believes the Greens’ plan for small business is the most progressive and will help businesses pay their employees fair wages. The Green Party also will invest in the “clean tech” industry, which Pancheshan said carries an average annual salary of $92,000 and will invest in retrofitting homes and buildings.

“For every $1 million invested in retrofits, 14 new jobs are created,” said Pancheshan, noting similar investments in such things as oil and gas result in “one or two” jobs created.

Pancheshan said the Greens would “stop subsidizing polluters” and turn to cheaper and more efficient energy from Quebec. The gas and oil industry are subsidized to the tune of $1.65 billion, she said, and the Green Party would direct that to other areas.

Green Party candidate Nancy Pancheshan

“We’d take that funding out and invest in hiring nurses and teachers and put people on the front lines,” said Pancheshan.

The Green Party would support farmers who want to sustain natural areas and wetlands. She added they would also help expand broadband internet to assist the agriculture industry while also getting rid of tax penalties and zoning regulations to help with family farms who want to launch businesses, such as breweries or wineries.

Pointing out that PC leader Doug Ford wants to cut gas prices by ten cents per litre, Pancheshan believed it will result in a loss of revenue to service the province’s debt and then actually add to it when federal Liberals roll out a carbon tax in 2019.

Pancheshan said CEO salaries, citing Hydro One as an example, while be reduced with the Green platform calling for CEO salaries not to exceed that of the premier.

The Greens also call for the amalgamation of school boards, as Pancheshan pointed out only Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia have multiple school boards. She noted in British Columbia, there is one system with student performance being higher than that in Ontario.

“Education accounts for 18 per cent of our spending,” she said, adding reducing administrative costs would help provide more money for the classrooms.

Pancheshan also stated the Green Party will commit $4.1 billion to mental health and addiction treatments, including hiring people to work in schools to assist students. Natural areas also play a part, she said, as walking in green areas can have a positive impact on mental health.

“The Green Party has a ‘tree hugger’ persona but we have a plan detailing how we’re going to pay for it,” she said.

Pancheshan encourages people to not only get out and vote in the June 7 election, but to vote for what they believe in. She said during her canvassing, people she has encountered don’t trust the Liberals and some “think Mr. Ford is a mini-Trump.” They said if people believe in reducing subsidies to polluters and in a green future, they should vote in her direction.

“I’m shocked by the PC plan. They have no plan,” said Pancheshan. “What kind of business runs like that? No successful business runs like that. The party with the ‘tree hugger’ persona has a better plan than the Conservatives”

Pancheshan added the debt has swelled to $269 billion under the Liberals with $11 billion being last year’s debt.

“People need to vote what they believe in,” she added. “That’s what democracy is all about.”

 

 

Provincial candidates face off in debate

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Candidates in the riding of Essex faced off as part of a series of debates presented by the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Windsor and District Labour Council.

NDP incumbent Taras Natyshak faced challengers that included PC candidate Chris Lewis, Green Party candidate Nancy Pancheshan and Liberal candidate Kate Festeryga.

Natyshak said “we are on the cusp of change in Ontario” and that “New Democrats believe we don’t have to choose between bad and worse.” He said the NDP has a fully costed plan if elected.

Lewis said that “to say I’m grassroots is an understatement” and that he is “results and action driven.”

“I know what it takes to get the job done,” he said.

Liberal candidate Kate Festeryga

Festeryga acknowledged that the “Liberals aren’t the most popular party in the room right now” but said Liberal policies have led to big gains in the Windsor-Essex region including the unemployment rate dropping below the national average, reductions in small business tax rates and cutting regulations to businesses.

“We could go on forever on what we’re doing for the economy,” she said.

As it relates to agriculture, Lewis said it was an issue “near and dear to me,” adding the PC’s will be the only party to cut the carbon tax. He said he doesn’t claim to have all the answers but he and the PC Party will surround themselves with the right people and “we’ll get the job done.”

Festeryga said she comes from a third generation family farm and criticized PC leader Doug Ford for comments about paving over the green belt as “it’s just farmer’s fields.” She said Liberals have helped cut hydro rates for 500,000 small businesses and farms.

PC candidate Chris Lewis

Pancheshan said the Greens support small businesses and farms and support the promotion of craft breweries and wineries.

Natyshak said “my PC colleague says he doesn’t have the answers because he has no plan whatsoever.” He said the NDP will invest in broadband internet because farms are “high tech” operations. The NDP will also end the rural delivery charges and also will end time-of-use billing, noting it is “ruining” some farm operations. He said while Premier Kathleen Wynne has called the NDP position on energy “a dream,” the Liberal plan is “a nightmare.”

Natyshak added the NDP will buy back Hydro One shares as the party believes hydro should always be in public hands. He accused the PC’s of actually wanting to adopt some of Wynne’s plans regarding energy.

NDP candidate Taras Natyshak (incumbent)

Festeryga said Natyshak voted against the Ontario Fair Hydro Plan and said the NDP plan will not result in any billing decreases as rates are set by the Ontario Energy Board. Lewis said the Green Energy Act is having an adverse effect and is driving business away while Pancheshan said the Greens support not continuing to subsidize big business. The Green platform calls for a long-term energy plan that would see Ontario powered with 100 per cent renewable energy.

Pancheshan said the Greens support the idea of one school board with savings from administration costs passed down to the “front lines” such as students in classrooms. They will also eliminate EQAO testing, something Natyshak said the NDP will do as well.

There is also a failed funding formula in education, Natyshak added, something that has been passed down from as far back as the Mike Harris PC government.

Green Party candidate Nancy Pancheshan

On the health care front, Natyshak said the health system is “chronically underfunded.” Lewis indicated the party will end “hallway healthcare” and that the PC’s will “take care of front line workers” and assist mental health initiatives.

Festeryga indicated there were hospital closures and cuts under both NDP and PC governments while Pancheshan said the Greens want to prioritize front line investment.

The provincial election is June 7.

Alderson to carry the banner for Green Party in Essex

 

 

Jennifer Alderson is the Green Party's candidate in the Oct. 19 federal election.

Jennifer Alderson is the Green Party’s candidate in the Oct. 19 federal election.

By Ron Giofu

 

The Green Party has its candidate for the Essex riding for the Oct. 19 federal election.

Jennifer Alderson will run for the Greens and believes she offers an alternative to the Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats. She said the Green Party has always made protection of the environment, “true democracy,” and the prosperity of Canadians its top priorities.

“Now, more than ever, we need a government that will work to restore and protect the quality of our land, air and water, all while creating sustainable jobs,” said Alderson. “I care deeply about Essex County and will work tirelessly to ensure the voices of my constituents are heard. I have always voted Green and I believe those of the Essex riding deserve an alternative to the three major parties.”

Describing herself as “a dedicated and hardworking wife, mother, post office employee and volunteer,” Alderson said she established the Belle River Farmers’ Market in 2014 as a venue for local food and wine.

“Throughout the summer and fall, my husband and I spend our Sundays managing the market as volunteers,” she said. “I also enjoy working to better the community and plan local events as a member of Town of Lakeshore committees. As an advocate for the community, I understand firsthand the issues and struggles of middle class families and will stand up for them as MP.”

The Green Party candidate said leader Elizabeth May just announced, if elected, the Greens will offer paid tuition for Canadians. Alderson stated this would allow “so many deserving individuals” to pursue post-secondary education.

“Like many Canadians, I am still paying for my student loans, so I would certainly love to see young people start out their adult lives without the burden of unnecessary debt,” she said.

Eliminating poverty and homelessness by developing affordable and efficient housing and enacting a guaranteed livable income are also important to the Green Party, she added.
“Offering Canadians comprehensive national medical coverage is another key plank of the Greens,” said Alderson. “Allowing Canadians access to treatment and medication is vital for our nation’s health.”

Alderson pledged that, if elected, she would work with the Green Party to create more clean and sustainable jobs for the area and focus on employment in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, health care, carbon neutral manufacturing, clean transportation and tourism.

“Preservation of our unique regional ecosystem will be the driving force behind all decisions made as a representative for the area,” she said. “I offer the people of Essex my commitment, determination, integrity and loyalty.”

Working with the other parties is another key for the Greens, said Alderson.

“The Green Party vows to collaborate with the other parties to work for Canadians without the power struggle that currently plagues parliament,” said Alderson. “The Green Party is the only party with a policy of no whipped votes. Allowing MPs to vote for their constituents means as a Green MP, I would be able to ensure the interests of Essex residents are met, first and foremost. Without campaign funding and the media attention enjoyed by the major parties, I know I will have to work even harder to spread the Green message, a challenge I welcome.”

Alderson stated that “building the weak and unstable economy of the area is undoubtedly the biggest issue facing Essex County.

“The Green Party will work to support local farmers, assist small businesses, boost tourism, and bring in clean and sustainable industries to the region. Air and water quality are also key issues the Green Party will address on a regional and national level.”

According to Alderson, corporations “must be held financially accountable for polluting our Great Lakes and the air we breathe.” Companies that respect the environment “must be supported and encouraged,” she added.

“We cannot deny that ecology and the economy are interconnected in our modern world,” said Alderson.

The Green Party candidate said many voters agree it is time for a completely new approach to Canadian government and believes her party offers a platform that stands out from the Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP “with its innovative, yet common sense approach.” The response thus far has been positive from voters with Alderson stating she hopes to reach out to as many residents as possible prior to election day.

Other candidates in Essex include Conservative incumbent Jeff Watson, Liberal Audrey Festeryga, Tracey Ramsey of the NDP and Enver Villamizar of the Marxist-Leninist Party.