Dr Jennifer Grenz seeks siege on North Island-Powell River
Dr. Jennifer Grenz well versed in environment, housing, indigenous issues
In the last two federal elections, the Liberal Party of Canada has never finished higher than third place in the riding of North Island-Powell River. This year, however, liberal candidate Jennifer Grenz hopes to change the fate of her party.
Grenz completed his PhD in Integrated Studies and Land Systems at UBC last year, examining the application of indigenous worldviews to ecology and what indigenous ecology might offer in terms of solutions to the climate crisis. .
While completing his studies, Grenz ran his own eco-catering business. Her job has taken her to travel regions all over the riding, which she said she knows like the back of her hand.
“When you stay somewhere you get to know all the people,” Grenz said. “When you work on environmental issues, you work with many different people, whether they are from industry or other environmental non-profit organizations, or just concerned citizens. “
Grenz is Nlaka’pamux and his family is from the Lytton First Nation, located in the village of the same name that burned down last June amid record high temperatures due to climate change.
“So obviously the climate crisis is very much on my mind,” Grenz added.
However, Grenz stressed that she is not a single issue candidate and sees the climate emergency as linked to other major issues such as housing, jobs and food security.
“When I think of the goal of serving in government, it’s more about: how can we build prosperous and resilient communities? Said Grenz.
Climate priorities attract candidates
Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has come under heavy criticism for its track record in the fight against climate change, with Canada being the only G7 country whose greenhouse gas emissions increased between 2015 and 2019.
However, Grenz said she worked for environmental nonprofits during the tenure of former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which she described as a difficult and stressful time.
“What attracted me to the Liberal Party at the time was the hope that investments would be made and priorities made to deal with the climate,” she explained. “[The Liberals] follow their rhetoric in terms of investing in climate, valuing science, funding science on the climate crisis, and recognizing that the climate crisis is part of so many of these major issues.
“This is the party that is following the right trajectory in terms of climate,” she added. “Is there room to always improve and do better? Absoutely.”
Housing is another issue the Liberals criticized. Despite the Trudeau government’s National Housing Strategy, rents and house prices in the qathet area have continued to soar amid an ongoing crisis, a trend that has only worsened for the next three months. the pandemic.
Grenz said she believed housing was primarily the responsibility of provincial governments, but the federal government had an important role to play in bringing together the skills and leading the design of communities.
“This is where I see the void, and Ottawa’s voice is missing from our region,” said Grenz. “The purchase of housing by people who come to our area for recreation is a huge problem.
“That’s why it’s so important that we have someone with a seat at the table in Ottawa, to point out these very regional issues that are causing housing insecurity,” she added.
Grenz said a related issue with housing affordability is job stability, noting that many people in the riding have to work multiple jobs.
“COVID has really shown how vulnerable many of these jobs are,” Grenz said. “I see the shortcomings of this government so far. I think the housing strategy has done a good job, but again I think these region specific issues need a voice and action.
In recent months, unmarked burials of more than 1,300 Indigenous children have been discovered at ancient sites of Canada’s genocidal residential school system. Grenz said indigenous people have known about these atrocities for a long time and non-indigenous people are finally listening to the matter.
“It is a revival in our country; even though it took too long, I’m so glad we got to this, ”said Grenz. “We tried to work on reconciliation in so many different parts of our colonial existence, but we were always going to fail until we got the truth part. I think we are there.
Grenz said she believes the math that has taken place over the past few months would not have happened without a federal government that she says recognizes the need to hear the stories about residential schools.
“It was an important step in the healing process, and I wish there was no physical proof needed for people to really recognize it,” Grenz said. “I wish our communities didn’t have to be traumatized again by what’s going on right now for everyone to get it.
“But at the same time, it’s part of the healing, and I’m so proud that we have a government that invests in this process, that allows it to be led by Indigenous communities.”
Grenz added that the reconciliation process is not just one thing, it has many parts.
“I see a demonstration of this, and so many of the areas I work in, Indigenous-led stewardship and Indigenous-led fisheries, appreciate the feeling that our knowledge and worldview has value in guiding policy. and natural resource management, ”said Grenz. “These are things we didn’t have before.
“I hope this will continue and be built, and I don’t have that kind of certainty with the other parties.”
North Island-Powell River Federal Election Candidates for 2021:
Rachel Blaney (NDP)
Shelley Downey (curator)
Stacey Gastis (Maverick)
Jennifer Grenz (Liberal)
Paul Macnight (PPC)
Carla Neal (Marxist-Leninist)
Jessica Wegg (Green)