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Aylwin aims to do politics differently

Green hopeful takes on Patrick Brown in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte
Green party candidate Keenan Aylwin. Photo provided

Green – the colour implies renewal, starting fresh with a new perspective.

Green Party provincial candidate Keenan Aylwin says next June’s election will be about changing how politics are done in Ontario. He’s had it (and reckons enough like-minded voters have also had it) with Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals and Patrick Brown’s Progressive Conservatives – “two parties of ‘big business’” – and even Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats, “the party of ‘no business."

Instead, he argues, a Green government under leader Mike Schriener would be the party of “small business, favouring a balanced approach that supports a living wage, but also immediate tax relief for small businesses so that they can afford to create more, and better-paying, jobs.”

No longer do Green candidates have to battle the perception that they speak only for the trees; “unlocking” affordable housing is a cornerstone of Aylwin’s campaign.

“Homeless shelters in Barrie are currently at ‘crisis capacity’. This is completely unacceptable. If our elected officials aren’t addressing something as fundamentally basic and necessary as housing, then what are they doing for everyday people?”

One might argue that Aylwin is going straight to the top – seeking the new riding of Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte, and therefore, taking on Brown in his own backyard. While not mentioning the Tory leader specifically, Aylwin reiterates conventional politics are continuing to drive would-be voters away.

“In the last provincial election, less than 50 per cent of people voted in Barrie - that needs to change. The Green Party of Ontario knows that people are hungry for a hopeful, positive vision for the province and right now we’re the only party that’s providing that.”

Aylwin, a political activist aiming his efforts at a variety of causes, recognizes the diversity of folks that make up his riding – folks being excluded by the process.

“The people in this area come from a diverse set of economic backgrounds and face a wide range of issues, from the cost of Hydro to not being able to feed their families.

“I believe it is critical that we include people who are marginalized and young people in this movement in order to change Ontario politics forever.”

And, already, he says, the Green message is taking root.

“We have already had Green victories in Ontario - like our campaign to get big money out of politics, like our efforts to liberate local beer, and like our push to ban pesticides that harm pollinators.”

The message is being heard beyond the riding, beyond provincial borders.

“Greens have been elected from coast-to-coast, most recently in P.E.I. where the Green Party doubled its seats and leader is now the most popular politician on the island. What these Green victories in B.C., in P.E.I., and in New Brunswick have shown is that you can vote for what you believe in and you can vote where your heart is.”

Holding onto his principles rather than saying just anything to get elected is at the core of Aylwin’s candidacy.

“I will never compromise my values to get elected because first and foremost I am an activist who believes people can make a difference. Running for the Green Party makes the most sense to me because the Green Party is not only a political movement, but a social movement as well.”

Once elected as MPP, Keenan Aylwin vows to hold onto that passion that got him politically involved in the first place. “I will relentlessly fight to engage the community in our political system.

“After all, isn’t the job of our leaders to inspire us?”

Those interested in learning more about Keenan and the Green platform in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte are urged to visit his website by clicking here.