Climate change threat is real, says Green Party candidate for Timmins-James Bay
As a math and science high school teacher, Max Kennedy says the topic of climate change comes naturally to him.
Kennedy is the Green Party candidate for the Timmins-James Bay riding.
"The reason that I've put my hat in the ring is I can't face these kids knowing that with global warming that we're really setting them up for disaster without doing something about it," he said.
He says a recent movement in youth speaking up against climate change inaction, such as Greta Thunberg, has inspired other young people to start talking more about the topic.
"That threat is real and it's not that far off in the future," he said.
It's not just a topic Kennedy is discussing in the classroom. He says some voters bring it up to him when he goes campaigning door-to-door.
"I find especially people who are out in the environment a lot, hunters, fishermen, they're noting changes," he said.
"They're seeing species of trees we didn't see here 30 years ago. They're noting that the water temperatures are different and fish are congregating in different areas because where they used to fish, it's now too warm."
However, he says it's not a topic that's on everyone's mind.
"Some others that are more insulated from those changes, people in downtown Timmins [who] don't get out in the bush a lot, it's not as high on their priority list," he said.
The riding is rich in natural resources, including mining, which may not seem like a popular issue in the Green Party. But Kennedy says the party's plan will support the resource sector.
"[For] electric transportation, you need that mineral wealth," he said.
"We can't do without it. The green economy does not threaten [the mining] industry. The only thing it does do is it asks the industry to be responsible in the waste it puts out in the environment."
Kennedy says a lot of voters question whether a vote for the Green Party is a viable option.
"If we keep on doing the same thing over and over … that we've done in the past, we're not going to see any change," he said.
"If we're going to see something different happen, we have to do something different."