Will your voice be heard in this election?
I sure hope so, because we’re facing many problems and in order to find the best solutions, we need every voice to be heard. New Brunswick has economic, environmental and social challenges ahead of us and in order to successfully address these challenges, we need new political leadership.
Climate change is here and we can only expect its impacts to get worse, and the “Big Three”parties are refusing to take it seriously. This global issue requires local solutions. Not only do we need to prepare and adapt to the changes we’re already experiencing, like – unpredictable weather events and the Swan Pond not freezing over enough to skate – but we need to stop contributing to climate change. In the face of a catastrophic climate crisis, the only responsible thing to do is make evidence-based policy based on the science.
Scientists are telling us that we need to turn things around, immediately. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that it is critical that we dramatically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The International Energy Agency has stated that no new fossil fuel infrastructure should be built, because this infrastructure will be used as long as it is profitable to do so, which will definitely be longer than we have to curb our GHG emissions in time to avoid disaster. We also need to maintain as much natural habitat, including trees, wetlands and forests, which help maintain biodiversity and capture carbon.
The Green Party is the only party with responsible policy because we are the only party that is opposed to the Energy East Pipeline, would scrap the current Forestry Strategy, and is calling for a permanent ban on unconventional shale gas exploration and exploitation. Even if these ideas were good for the economy, which they are not, they would be bad for our environment and climate. Without those two things, we cannot have an economy, let alone anything else.
We need more long-term thinking in politics, rather than short-term deals that benefit only a few. I share a vision of the future with New Brunswickers, which includes creating more jobs than would be possible in oil and gas production by investing in renewable energy, such as solar,wind and geothermal,in energy– efficient buildings and in strong local food systems that produce food for consumption in New Brunswick and are accessible to everyone, not just the wealthiest among us. Imagine a strong democracy where decisions that impact our communities are made locally, and where citizens feel represented. This is all within our grasp, if we work together, stand up for what we truly believe in and vote for what we want.
There are already many people in our communities working on this vision, and I invite you to join us. It is so inspiring to see students working for a more self-sufficient campus by producing food on the Mount Allison Farm. There are students working to help Mount Allison University divest from fossil fuels. There were students who travelled to Fredericton this past weekend to see Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada and David Coon, leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick, speak about the possibility of making history by electing Green MLAs in our province in this election, by participating in our democracy through voting, and spreading the word about what is possible. Some students are also travelling to New York City for the People’s Climate March, the biggest climate march in our history this Sunday, to demand action from governments on our climate crisis. If you are unable to make it to New York, please join me and many others in the Fall Fair Parade on Saturday, Sept. 20, as we march for causes we are passionate about: saying no to shale gas, saying yes to reproductive rights, and having our own Sackville version of the Climate March! (We will gather around 12 p.m. at the Drew Nursing Home, and the parade starts at 1 p.m.).
The student vote is going to decide the election in this riding. Imagine if all the students who are eligible took their right and responsibility to vote seriously and voted by the thousands. What a difference your ballots would make in the outcome of this election. You could make history!
I encourage you to vote at the Returning Office (53 Main Street) now through Saturday or at the Civic Centre on Monday, Sept. 22. I hope you’ll vote for a greener future and elect me as the first Green MLA in New Brunswick. But no matter how you decide to cast your ballot, I hope you’ll vote. This is about our present and our future. Your voice matters. Your vote matters.