Greens link climate action with social, economic health

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Simcoe-Grey Green Party of Canada candidate Nick Clayton launched his campaign in Collingwood Sunday with support from Green Party provincial leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner.
The Greens are focussing on a growing housing crisis and how the unsustainable housing market is contributing to poverty, homelessness, an overall decline in health and emissions.
They link the climate crisis with affordable housing, claiming that creating sustainable and affordable housing would be better for the planet and people, helping to reduce poverty and improving health.
“We have an unsustainable housing stock here in Simcoe-Grey,” said Clayton, “and it’s getting worse as people move out of urban centres – because of the pandemic they’re working from home – that’s an issue that needs to be addressed through strong coordination between the municipalities, the province and federally.”
As someone who is passionate about progressive social and environmental issues, Clayton said he recognized a great opportunity when he was asked to run for the local Greens.
“The last year-and-a-half has really exposed a lot of cracks and opens up perhaps a new way forward and I’d like to think… that there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” said Clayton, a music teacher at Collingwood Collegiate Institute. “The Green Party is home to some of the most progressive, proven and studied ideas that can effectively address the crisis that we face now. I do believe those ideas have been lying in wait for this moment. We face a climate crisis, a pandemic, mental health crisis and more and I do believe these are all related.”
He said the pandemic has demonstrated how connected people are and progressive social policies are the way to protect the community as a whole.
He said climate action is also good social, environmental and economic policy.
“There is a green transition underway, Canada can be a leader or it can be left behind… and I know the Green Party has a plan to make Canada a leader in the new economy,” said Clayton.
He said locally, extreme weather is already affecting farmers, and tourism operators that depend on snow.
Schreiner said he knows a science based approach to innovation and policy changes can be successful, it just needs the political will.
“That is exactly why we need to elect people like Nick because we need more Greens in parliament and we need more Greens at the provincial level,” said Schreiner.
He says the housing affordability crisis and the climate crisis should be addressed at the same time.
He said one-third of climate pollution is linked to transportation due to urban sprawl, and the third largest source of climate pollution is buildings.
“It’s also about changing our planning laws to provide people innovative solutions,” said Schreiner naming tiny homes, granny suites, basement apartments, multiplexes. “Let’s end the exclusionary zoning that prevents all the innovation from happening. Let’s eliminate parking minimums and let’s start building communities where you can access the services you need and support the local businesses you want to support.”

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