Green Party candidate Ralph McLean, running for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski Member of Parliament for the second time in less than two years, says climate change is the number one issue in this riding and the rest of the world right now.
“We only have to look at the news from the past summer here to see that it’s literally on our doorstep,” he said during an interview with the Nickel Belt News. “It’s code red for humanity. If we don’t act on the climate crisis and start moving more to living sustainable life and dealing with the shocking amounts of carbon, everything else is secondary. No other policy or action that we do in the next five, 10 years is going to be as significant as our challenges as we deal with climate change. I’ve got a niece and she’s 14 and she needs a planet to live on. There’s people out there with children and grandchildren and, if they love their children and grandkids, they should be really considering voting for the Green Party
McLean says the Greens are the only party truly committed to addressing climate change.
“I have zero faith that the Conservatives are going to do anything,” he said. “The Liberals have had six years to do something.They’ve bought $23 billion worth of pipeline. They’re clearly not going to do anything. A lot of people still vote NDP and I get it but watching them try to tackle climate change is like watching a Yorkshire terrier try to play with a soccer ball. It’s kind of fun to watch. There’s no other party out there that’s going to outflank the Greens on climate change.”
The candidate, who works as a newspaper editor in The Pas and also ran in Manitoba’s provincial election in 2019 and federally in Alberta in 2015, says the Green’s party structure sets them apart from the other parties.
“As a Green, I’m not responsible to a party. I’m responsible to the constituents within the riding.”
Being answerable to the people who live in the riding would be a marked change from the current situation, McLean says.
“I’m a historian and I literally think Niki Ashton is the worst MP this riding has ever seen. She comes out at election time and then if she gets in she disappears again and we never see her. I think we need a stronger voice in Ottawa. I just want things to improve in the north. I think we’ve had 30 years of neglect and I want things to change. Nothing gets fixed overnight but there should be some effort put into getting something done and there’s lots of things you can get done as an MP that you don’t necessarily have to take direction for from a party.”
As for the inherent conflict between his job as a journalist and his concurrent role as a news subject during the election camapign, McLean said he offered every candidate an equal amount of space in the Opasquia Times to pitch themselves to voters and that a colleague will help out as needed.
“Our office manager has indicated that if there’s any other events or interviews to do, she’s going to go out and do it,” he explains.