My name is Janine G. Gibson and I have run as the Green Party of Canada candidate many times(8) in Provencher and as the Green Party of Manitoba candidate several times (3) in Steinbach. I have lived on a small mixed farm in Hanover near Pansy sine 1991 and have run my agricultural consulting business serving as an organic ag consultant and organic inspector across Canada since 1993. I have served on the national board of the agricultural charity Canadian Organic Growers (COG) since 1999 and served as the national president for 7 years. I helped to found the Manitoban chapter of COG called the Organic Food Council of MB, a founding member of the Manitoba Organic Alliance, whom I serve as the Executive Secretary.
I grew up on my parents ranch near Oakbank and so have been involved in agriculture my whole life. As agriculture plays such a key role in the Manitoba economy ( the first wheat traded from the prairies came from the RM of Springfield near where I lived, I have been inspired to help agriculture be as resilient and sustainable as possible and so chose to support organic production. My grandpa never called himself an organic farmer, nor my grandma an organic gardener, but that is what they were. I honour their heritage by continuing to serve agriculture.
I embrace the fiscally conservative yet socially progressive policies of the Green Party of Canada. As Elizabeth May our leader says, “Canadians working together can solve any problem, overcome any hurdle,” including finding a fair way to tax pollution and invest in healthier alternatives.
This is what concerns me about the Palliister government isolating themselves by going their own way opting out of creating a workable carbon fee structure for Manitoba. They choose not to co-operate with the other provinces and the federal government to find a carbon policy that can work for us all. My concern is by not facing the hard challenges posed by climate change now, they are increasing the burden for future Manitobans. The Pallister government is not seeing climate change as the opportunity it is to create local, sustainable jobs. Yes Manitoba is unique, but all of us putting our heads together, can be smarter than any one of us. Let’s take what is working as climate strategies in Ontario, BC and Quebec and tweak them to work for progressive change & investment here in Manitoba. I agree with Elizabeth May and many economists and climate scientists that a Carbon Fee and Dividend Plan is the smartest most efficient way to shift away from fossil fuels by investing in young Canadians through an annual carbon dividend. BC policies have dropped their fuel use by 16% while incentivizing investment in sustainable jobs and green technology. We need to do that for our younger generations here in Manitoba.
For more on the Green Party Climate and Energy Policy check out our platform at www.greenparty.ca.
(originally for publishing in The Carillon)