Green Party candidate for Sault Ste. Marie says party not opposed to economic development
McLean studied a number of social justice issues while attending Quest University Canada in BC
The Green Party is fielding three candidates in northern Ontario under the age of 30. One of them, 24-year-old Geo McLean, hopes to be Sault Ste. Marie's next Member of Parliament.
After growing up in the riding, McLean spent some time overseas and in British Columbia attending Quest University Canada.
McLean says he wants to focus his efforts on the protection of the environment. But, that doesn't mean that he or the Green Party is opposed to industries that may be at odds with that.
"The Green Party is not against development. We realize that we need resources, however, we should reduce what we need, we should reuse what we have, recycle what we have, before prospecting excessively." he said.
This is a particularly timely issue as Noront Resources announced it had selected Sault Ste. Marie as the site for their ferrochrome smelter. Chromium can be "acutely toxic" at high levels of exposure, according to a 2015 Public Health Ontario report.
Other interesting proposals from McLean and the Green Party include a national railway initiative which would provide rural communities across the country with transport infrastructure.
There's also a proposal for the implementation of a 'guaranteed livable income'.
"So that is, pretty much, a top-up for people who live below the poverty line. This is great for seniors if pensions aren't sufficient, and also their adult children would be able to take time off work to take care of them."
Ontario's Conservative government scrapped a universal basic income pilot project in March of this year.