Green candidate for Nipissing-Timiskaming makes first foray into politics
Alexander Gomm's interest in environmental protection and climate change made the Green Party a good fit
The Green Party candidate in Nipissing-Timiskaming says he's been interested in politics and international affairs for a long time but was never really politically active, until now.
Alexander Gomm became the federal candidate for the riding when executives with the local Greens gathered in the summer to discuss possible candidates.
"Through the process of elimination I was the candidate," he said.
"It's really putting yourself out there, and not used to speaking with media or anything like that so it's a little overwhelming at first, but I'm getting the swing of things."
Gomm, an English-as-a-Second-Language teacher, has been a member of the Green Party — both federally and provincially — since 2011.
He says he's been interested in environmental protection for a long time.
But he didn't start to advocate for the political party until after he read a report released last year from the international panel on Climate Change.
"And then almost daily news reports about mass extinction and coral bleaching, I just figured I needed to try and do something and I thought that the best way to do that would be to advocate for the Green Party," Gomm said.
He feels that switching from fossil fuels to a greener economy would only create opportunities. The Greens want to end burning of all fossil fuels by 2030.
"It creates so many jobs because it entails doing things fundamentally different from the way that we have been doing them in the past and it requires a large workforce to make the switch — a highly skilled workforce."
Guaranteed Livable Income would help make living in the north more affordable
Gomm says his party also wants to make sure all Canadians can afford to live, and the Guaranteed Livable Income is the answer. That's a no-strings-attached income booster for anyone living under a certain threshold, whether they're employed or not.
Under the Green plan, the universal Guaranteed Livable Income would replace certain other income supports, including disability payments.
Gomm feels the program would address some of the affordability problems in the Nipissing Timiskaming riding.
"A Guaranteed Livable Income would help to revitalize the local economies as well, because it would put a lot of disposable income in the hands of people who traditionally haven't had it."
The Green Party says there would be no claw-backs for earning a bit more, but those making a lot more money would pay back the income support in taxes.
New approach to opioid crisis
Gomm also feels passionately about eliminating the opioid crisis.
"It's everywhere and it's really affecting the health of the downtown economy in North Bay. There's a lot of businesses that are getting broken into and they're moving out or just closing up shop because they can't afford to continually repair their windows or put in insurance claims for lost inventory."
The Green Party is proposing to decriminalize all drug possession, and instead treat the opioid epidemic as a national health crisis.
"The main focus is dealing with it as a health issue and to deal with it compassionately," Gomm said.
"The war on drugs everywhere in the world has been a spectacular failure. It isn't working so we really need to try a new approach."