The industrial sector of Perth-Wellington’s economy has definitely taken it on the chin in the past four years. And that’s something Chris Desjardins would like to see addressed by the next Ontario government.
“You look around Stratford, and St. Marys too, and you see the empty factories. And it makes you concerned,” says the candidate for the Green Party in the Oct. 6 election.
Desjardins, who previously served as the provincial Green riding association’s chief financial officer, decided this year to make the jump into representing the party as its candidate. And he admits he’s got big shoes to fill, taking over from the extremely well-spoken and affable John Cowling — who ran federally earlier this year but left the provincial nomination up for grabs.
But, as a long-time Green volunteer who has worked on past campaigns, Desjardins is aware of the need to inform the voting public that the party has a well-rounded platform. And its alternative plan for boosting the province’s involvement in the production of electricity from renewable sources is one aspect that showcases that range.
“I recognize that the (Ontario government) deal with Samsung is a done deal,” Desjardins said, referring to a multi-billion dollar agreement for the Korean industrial giant to establish manufacturing facilities in Ontario for wind turbines and solar electricity generation components.
The Green Party “would back that with smaller-scale solar and (hydro-electric)” generation, and provide incentives to Ontario-based companies to build the components and build the systems.
“I’m pro-wind,” the Stratford resident offers, when asked about the controversial proposals for large-scale wind farms in Perth-Wellington. “I’m just not in favour of the size of projects (being proposed). I would like to see them smaller, and closer to the point of use (for the electricity).”
Another key element of the Green Party’s provincial platform is its goal of decreasing healthcare costs through the promotion of healthy diets and lifestyles. Methods for building awareness include providing information about preparing healthy foods, and more effective labelling of products grown and processed in Ontario.