Interview with Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry Green candidate Jacqueline Milner

·3 min read

Jacqueline Milner

Green Party of Ontario

SUMMERSTOWN STATION – A lack of progress and local environmental concerns are what moved Green Party of Ontario candidate Jacqueline Milner to seek office as member of provincial Parliament.

“Because now is the time, now is the right time,” she told The Leader. “All of us, regardless of where we live in this riding, can see what is going on around us.”

Milner – an artist, photographer, and part-time school bus driver – said seeing the clear cutting of forested areas of the riding and filling in marshes is a wake up call for her of the environmental concerns in the riding.

“I vetted the party and decided that the Green Party was the right choice for me,” she said of the process that led to her nomination as candidate in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.

Environment is not the only concern for her though in the riding, health care and education are as well.

“We have to improve the health care system,” Milner explained. “Especially with pandemic, the wait times have been crazy for people. For example, having to wait 16 months for a mental health consultation. That’s unacceptable. ”

She said more money must be put into health care to improve access in the communities in which people live, and also to improve the health of those who work in the field.

Affordability issues in the riding concern Milner as well with the high cost of housing, to rent or to buy, being at the top of the list.

“Some of the rents out there today are just out of reach,” she said. “This is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately and requires an all-hands-on-deck effort to get something done.”

Building new housing she said needs to be as environmentally sustainable as possible to lower the carbon footprint. She supported having programs to retrofit existing housing to be more energy efficient as well.

Education, specifically rural schools, is also important for her saying that people are concerned in SDSG about schools that could close if the government decides to look at that again.

“It’s very important to keep those schools in the neighbourhoods where families live,” “That might require some pivoting, supporting the school building with community groups or others.”

When discussing any issue in the election – health care, education, housing – Milner tied it back to the environment, which is the foundation of her running for office. For her, local environmental issues include agriculture and tree canopy cover.

“Having farmers grow food for all the people in Ontario is very important,” she said. “I understand farmers wish to expand their operations and cutting down forests on their property is what is necessary to do that – however there are ways to do that sustainablely. Having an agriculture operation doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to support each other.”

She explained that planting fence rows to provide room for wildlife and pollinators should be required. Buffer zones along waterways should be planted and maintained to prevent erosion and excess run-off. Both actions would improve water quality in the riding.

“What is more important than water,” she asked. “Without water, we’re dead. We need to protect these resources.”

Milner’s pitch to voters on why she is the best candidate for the MPP position focused on communication and advocating for the riding.

“I’m courageous. I’m not afraid to speak my mind, honestly and respectfully. I’m ready and want to get out there to help our community,” she explained. “Now is the time. Right now. I believe our community wants representation, with care for the planet.”

Ontario voters have only ever elected one Green Party MPP, current party leader Mike Schreiner, who was elected in Guelph in 2018. Milner said now is the time to elect a Green Party MPP in SDSG.

“I am prepared to look out for their interests, and represent their concerns at Queen’s Park. I’m ready to work for the people in my riding for all these issues, with respect for the planet.”

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader

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