WC Online Kanata-Carleton election survey: Dr. Jen Purdy

The following are Green Party candidate Dr. Jen Purdy’s responses to the West Carleton Online election survey. To read West Carleton Online’s original profile on Purdy, click here:

Question 1

In order of importance, list your Top 3 priorities and what your plan is to address each priority (Each priority has a 150-word limit):

Climate crisis: Stop fossil fuel subsidies ($1,650 per Canadian). Protect green space and farmland as these are carbon sinks. Provide federal funding for LRT to Kanata. We need to adapt to the impact of climate change: provide federal funding as needed for infrastructure that will help protect Kanata-Carleton residents against future flooding, as well as funding as required to buy out residents whose homes are in floodplains. Finally, the federal government got us into this mess so, work with the provinces to mandate a way forward for insurance companies regarding coverage for natural disasters. The status quo is that people who buy insurance are paying the premiums and then often having to battle their insurance companies. Either the companies collect premiums and stop denying appropriate coverage, or they get out of natural disaster insurance business and if so, then the federal government should be providing appropriate compensation.

Agriculture: Farmers are a vital part of the solution to climate crisis, because healthy soil can sequester carbon. However, farmers are crucial too because we all eat food! Produce has gone up an average of 17 per cent between last August and this August. It is therefore important that the federal government support farmers in their efforts to address climate change, but also as they experience more risk and decreased crop yields due to this issue. We will provide support to manage the risk for farmers farming conventionally to transition to organic and regenerative farming. We will invest $2.5 million per year into a land and quota trust program, and farming apprenticeship program, in order to help new farmers get started. We will restructure Canada’s Business Risk Management Programs to help farmers cope with the increased risk due to climate change; there will be a focus on disaster assistance.

Health care: The Green Party will increase care provided for mental health issues. Currently the biggest gap in mental health parity is that psychotherapy is not covered by provincial health care plans. The federal government must increase spending to address this critical issue. We will introduce Pharmacare for all, and this is fully costed in our platform (it is expensive! We will have deficits for five years and then return to a balanced budget, because we are a fiscally conservative party). We will decriminalize all drugs. The current strategy of treating people with a health condition like criminals is clearly not working, but worse, people are dying every day due to our current misguided approach to addiction. Finally, the Greens will provide funding for more long-term care beds, because currently too much money is being wasted keeping people in hospital beds because LTC beds are not available.

Question 2

Please provide us with a favourite photo from your campaign so far. A photo that sparks a fond memory of the rare experience of being a candidate in a federal election. Share with us in words a bit of info about the photo and the memory (100-word limit and a photo):

Green Party Kanata-Carleton candidate Dr. Jennifer Purdy attends the global climate strike on Friday, Sept. 27.
Green Party Kanata-Carleton candidate Dr. Jennifer Purdy attends the global climate strike on Friday, Sept. 27.

The Global Strike was a fantastic day. I have been supporting Fridays For Future since mid-July, and it was so heart-warming to see so many people protesting for a safe and healthy future. There were so many people there, including many people from Kanata-Carleton. It was a wonderful day and gave me hope for the future! My sign reads ‘Climate Crisis is a Public Health Crisis – This MD.’ Ultimately, this is why I got into politics, so the sign, the day, and this picture are meaningful to me.

Question 3

West Carleton Online will list three local concerns. Please provide your thoughts on current barriers and your plan for the path forward (150-word limit per subject):

  • The agriculture industry
  • Seniors
  • Infrastructure

The agriculture industry: Current barriers include increased risk due to climate change, along with decreased yields. Climate change is resulting in increased precipitation, increased droughts, change in pests’ and insect patterns, all of which affect yields. Other barriers include trade wars with other countries, especially China. Finally, land prices in Kanata-Carleton are expensive and thus a barrier for young and new farmers. The federal government must provide financial assurances to cover the increased risk for farmers, when crop failures and significant yield decreases occur. Also, to provide financial support so that farmers farming conventionally feel financially confident in transitioning to organic. Finally, in accordance with the IPCC report on land use, and the role that farmland has to play to sequester carbon, farmland must be protected from development and/or estate use and reserved for agriculture only.

Seniors: Current barriers include the fact that there are funding shortages and staffing shortages for home care, which is the least expensive and usually preferred way for seniors to stay in their own residences, even if they need a bit of assistance. Retirement homes can be a nice but very expensive option, and because of cost are not an option for many. There is a significant shortage of long-term care beds for seniors who need more care. Most of these issues fall under provincial mandate, therefore the largest role that the federal government can play is in providing funding for the provinces. In addition, Pharmacare is part of our platform, and is part of the solution. Also, a Guaranteed Living Income (GLI) is essential as it will ensure that seniors are not living in poverty, which is by itself a significant stressor and has harmful effects on health.

Infrastructure: Jurisdiction is the primary barrier. Much of the infrastructure in Kanata-Carleton falls under municipal jurisdiction, but the City of Ottawa may not always have sufficient funding for large infrastructure upgrades and repairs, due to current strains on its budget and the fact that municipalities get 10 per cent only of each tax dollar. It is the inaction or insufficient action of federal governments past and present that has landed us in this climate change mess. Therefore, the federal government is responsible to provide funding to climate-proof essential infrastructure such as drinking water and wastewater systems. We also want to make changes to the Canada Infrastructure Bank so that municipalities can get low-interest loans for infrastructure projects. Finally, the Greens will allocate one per cent of GST to housing and other municipal infrastructure on an ongoing basis so that Ottawa and other municipalities have a consistent baseline of funding.