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Getting to Know the Candidates: Janine Gibson, Green Party

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Janine Gibson Green Crop
Janine Gibson is running in Provencher for the Green Party.

Canadians from coast to coast will be going to the polls on September 20 to elect a new federal government. Here in Provencher, five candidates have been announced so far. To help you make a decision ahead of election day, The Citizen has reached out to the candidates. Let’s get to know them.

Janine Gibson has lived in Provencher for most of her life and lives on a solar powered cooperative farm south of Steinbach. Living and working with nature has nourished her responsibility to protect health through protecting soil, water, and community health.

Gibson also works for the International Organic Inspectors Association, where she currently serves as a peer evaluator, trainer, and international VP. She has education in psychology and human ecology.

She builds organic agriculture in Manitoba through her business, Creative Health Consulting, and serves as the executive secretary of the Organic Food Council of Manitoba. As a proud mother and grandmother, her emphasis on sustainable agriculture addresses many of the social, environmental, and economic challenges currently faced in Provencher.

Campaign Plans

Gibson says that she stays in touch with her supporters year round, and together they represent the green activists in Provencher. She adds that people are welcome to get to know her through her website (www.greenpartyprovencher.ca).

Goals and Values: Environment, Economy, and Diversity

As the Green Party candidate, Gibson’s goal is to represent everyone in Provencher to make sure there is a strong Green voice.

Gibson highlights the issue of basic maintenance of water and soil quality in our area.

“Almost all of our communities in the southeast here depend on groundwater and wells,” she says. “The CanWhite Sands mining programs in Vivian, Manitoba threaten our aquifer, which supplies water to our groundwater and wells. There is not enough knowledge among our leaders to see that this is an issue affecting all of us here in the southeast.”

In fact, she sees this as an international issue.

“There will be highly toxic water from an unconventional mining method which would be returned to the aquifer that provides potable drinking water to all of southeastern Manitoba,” says Gibson. “Issues like logging and ensuring our soil quality are also important. We need to move toward a form of agriculture that is resilient, that will get us through these intense weather pattern changes that affect and support our ability to produce a stable food source.”

Gibson is glad that environmentalism and climate change have been highlighted in society and in global politics recently.

“We are glad that the other parties listen to our concerns and speak to environmentalism as well, because our issues are fundamental,” she says. “Likewise, the Green Party ensures they are fiscally and economically minded. I’m pro-business. I’ve run my own business for 32 years. I’m a businesswoman. I know that it’s not just about saying we should stop subsidies to destructive industries; it’s about a sound plan to create green jobs. Doing business with environmental best practice is not going to result in job loss. We wouldn’t abandon workers. We need to shift how we work to regenerate the damages done. In sectors that would slowly shut down, we would ensure there is employment and income for workers who would join in the jobs that would be created in sectors that support nature.”

In both her environmental and economic focus, Gibson spoke of diversity being the way forward for sustainable living and job creation.

“Firstly, the importance of diversity means there needs to be more women voices,” says Gibson. “Diversity is also important for our communities and our economies. The Green Party supports diversity. The concept of diversity is a principle of everything we’ve built on. We respect cultural and religious diversity… When we put our heads together, I have great faith in human ability, to come up with realistic, easily implemented solutions.”

One of the federal solutions Gibson would be in favour of is universal basic income. She says that the initiative has been shown to target social issues like poverty, mental health, and crime, which Gibson says is on the rise in Provencher.

“If we used this social financial tool, we could overcome poverty,” she says. “Overcoming poverty is shown to overcome addiction, improve crime rates, improve focus on education, and further enable all the contributions our citizens are able to make.”

The Vaccination Question

Gibson is upfront about her vaccination status and is fully vaccinated. She also spoke about vaccination and the need for an effective public health strategy.

“I know vaccines work and we’ve seen them work,” she says. “Vaccines are allowed in organic agriculture because they prevent disease and death. It’s the same with people… We need to come up with a system that reflects the needs of everyone while also addressing the individual concerns that people have, encouraging vaccines as broadly as possible.”

Gibson says she knows the pressure on the Manitoba healthcare system from hearing directly from friends and family who are nurses and doctors. She would talk to anyone who is hesitant about vaccines.

“I want to work with my friends and neighbours who are vaccine-hesitant to address their concerns. We need to talk to those who are hesitant about vaccines so they know more about vaccines and know what happens when they make the effort to wear masks and get vaccinated, and that is we can all protect healthcare workers and the most vulnerable, and we should. We need to ensure they are protected.”

Passion

What really makes Gibson come alive is working to keep environmental issues at the forefront for Canadians.

“The lack of proper government oversight in the areas that are affecting Provencher is inexcusable. Companies say one thing—and when we look a little deeper, we know the checks and balances aren’t there. What they say they’re doing, it’s not what they are doing. It’s my job to verify that what they say they’re doing is what they are doing. I also have a moral responsibility to point out when neighbours aren’t being so thoughtful, and this means holding corporate neighbours responsible for the community costs that we pay for as a group while they profit as individuals. We can and should be holding each other responsible to ensure our children and grandchildren will have a future.”

Even though the Conservatives have held the Provencher riding for so long, Gibson has excitedly represented the Greens in seven federal elections and she feels she is very much up to the job of representing the area.

“Some newspapers have said we have the most conservative riding in all of Canada,” says Gibson. “But when I look at the voter turnout and percentage who are voting Green, I also see Provencher has the national average of voters voting Green, so that encourages me to continue to run. Democracy doesn’t work if we are all complacent citizens. People with diverse opinions should be able to exercise their political voices. People who come from different perspectives are valuable. Yes, we all want to love our neighbours as ourselves, and to me that means participating in discussion about our drinking water, safe injection sites, vaccinations, and more.”

She says that the Conservatives have an outright out-of-touch attitude regarding health issues, criminal issues, and environmental issues.

“We are and will continue to be leaders in raising awareness of these issues, which are all about how we treat each other,” Gibson adds. “We are all part of each other’s world and we can’t pretend that we’re not. The Green Party has always put forward solutions and will continue to do so.”

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