Islander seeks federal Toronto seat in byelection

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The results of a federal byelection in the Toronto riding of Trinity-Spadina June 30 will be closely monitored by a number of people in P.E.I.
That's due in part to the fact the Green Party of Canada has pinned its hopes on a candidate with strong ties to the Island.

Camille Labchuk

Camille Labchuk, daughter of prominent Island environmentalist Sharon Labchuk, is seeking to claim the seat vacated by NDP MP Olivia Chow in March to enter the 2014 Toronto mayoral election.

A criminal defence and animal rights lawyer, Labchuk is motivated by a life-long commitment to making her community a better place to live and protecting the planet for future generations.

On her website, Labchuk identifies stopping climate change, improving rail safety, providing better legal protection for animals, the development of a national transit strategy, affordable housing and protecting sex workers as being among her key issues.

In a brief interview from her campaign office, Labchuk said while the campaign is just beginning to ramp up now.

She said people are only just starting to pay attention.

"Their attention was focused, up until now, on the Ontario provincial election," Labchuk said.

She said the response she's been receiving on the street has been positive and encouraging. At least until the topic of conversation turns to mainstream politicians.

Labchuk says the impression she gets from many people on the street is that what people tell their politicians they want them to do, and what those same politicians choose to do, are two different things.

When she hears that from people on the street Labchuk tells them the Green Party is different.

"We say send a Green Party MP to the House of Commons," Labchuk said.

"We can provide the antidote. We create policies based not on polls but on the evidence, on what we believe will move us to a greener, cleaner, more peaceful society."

Labchuk said people are telling her that the mainstream parties are not taking issues like the climate crisis seriously.

She believes there are people running in these byelections who are good people.

But she says that all to often people who land in the House of Commons with the belief they are going to make a difference find themselves in a position where they can't speak out on issues of policy because they must follow the party line.

"They're told when to cheer, when to jeer and when to sit down and shut up. As a Green Party MP I would be free to vote the way I believe I should vote on issues I think are important."

She said on a number of key issues the Green Party is the only party with real answers.

Organizations: Green Party, House of Commons

Geographic location: Toronto, Ontario

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