Ontario election

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.”