Nickel Belt’s federal Green party candidate is Craig Gravelle, a food service professional from Hanmer. While he is new to politics – he became a member of the Green party earlier this year – he says he’s taken the time to learn about the issues and how politics work.
“I’ve spent a lot of time over the last six years in my free time, trying to understand how government works, how policies can negatively impact people, especially working-class people. I’ve been spending time staying caught up with news. I want to use that knowledge that I’ve gained in this campaign and hopefully things work out and I’ll be in Ottawa and fight for people,” says an eager Gravelle.
He touts himself as the “GLI candidate” for Nickel Belt, as a devout advocate for a guaranteed livable income. Often referred to as universal basic income, GLI would provide an unconditional regular cash payment to all qualifying adults, which Gravelle feels would level out the playing field.
As for funding such a program, he says “you don’t want to implement it in a way that it is paid for by the people who are benefiting; if they have to pay a lot into it, it becomes a counterbalance. With GLI the goal is to try and find a way to pay for it without having to raise taxes or putting a burden on working-class citizens. We want this to be a benefit, not a trade-off.”
As his party is known for their environmental advocacy, if elected the Greens would work to create a ‘sustainable green economy’. Gravelle says “it comes down a lot to a GLI actually.” He explains that a GLI would provide people the ability to manoeuvre away from jobs in industries that contribute to climate change, like oil and gas fields and pipelines as they would have a guaranteed income to fall back on while they transition. “The main priority is that we need to stop fossil fuel subsidies to the oil industry – we gotta stop the fossil fuel industry – full stop,” he declares.
“We want to reduce emissions by 60% versus the 40% (by 2030) proposed by other parties,” adds Gravelle. He also supports Landback, an initiative that aims to “reclaim everything stolen from Indigenous peoples,” including their lands. “If you want to be serious about fighting climate change, you have to be able to work alongside Indigenous peoples; I believe they are at least in a much better position to determine what’s right and what’s not.”