Amanda Cain, Green Party candidate for Scarborough Southwest, answers four questions from Beach Metro Community News regarding this month’s federal election.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Candidates were instructed to keep their answers to approximately 150 words, and some of the responses have been edited to keep them as close as possible to the agreed word count. Beach Metro News sent these questions to all six candidates running in Scarborough Southwest. The only ones to respond by the stated deadline were Mohsin Bhuiyan, Conservative Party candidate; Amanda Cain, Green Party candidate; and Ramona Pache, People’s Party of Canada.)
QUESTION 1: Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself and why you decided to run in this election?
I was born and raised in Scarborough Southwest and graduated in Corporate Communications which led me to the non-profit sector managing Youth Economic Development Programs. As an active community advocate, I have been addressing issues of education, training and civic engagement in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas of Toronto for the past 22 years.
I believe in building strong communities such as the one I grew up in, that support our most vulnerable citizens, and I have focused much of my attention to building policy on poverty reduction. My activism started early while still a student at R.H. King Academy, where I recognized racial inequity and founded the United Cultures of King. I walked with Native Elder and Water Warrior Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, and promised to protect Lake Ontario for future generations. When I saw the Green Party’s “Mission Possible: Climate Action Plan”, I knew it was time to enter federal politics.
QUESTION 2: What will you and your party do to reach justice with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples regarding the past abuses of the Residential School system, and will you commit to fulfilling the calls to action made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015?
Absolutely, we commit to fulfilling the calls to action made by the TRC in every respect. We would do so with the urgency required. We have all been sadly reminded of past attitudes and government policies that have so devastated First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities – Residential School policies being among the most grievous.
The need to working in harmony with Indigenous peoples permeates all aspects of Green party policy. This includes providing sustainable funding for new and existing Indigenous Healing Centres to address the harms caused by residential schools and increased funding to Friendship Centres across Canada providing critical social services off-reserve. It also includes support for healthcare and judicial services that incorporate traditional practices and recognize the role of extended families as investments in Indigenous-led mental health. And I would strongly advocate for an indigenous-led Land Guardian initiative to protect the biodiversity of our lands and waters.
QUESTION 3: Given the high numbers of seniors who died in long-term care facilities from COVID-19 and the deplorable conditions many of them were found to be living in by Canadian Forces personnel called in to help, what steps will you and your party be taking to help protect seniors in the future?
I’m deeply concerned about the lack of support for seniors in this riding and across Canada. Our elders have not been receiving the action from governments that they deserve and require to flourish. Too many seniors are suffering on incomes insufficient to meet even their basic expenses. Too many have been receiving inadequate attention in long-term care facilities.
To repair the structural flaws that lead to so many deaths in these facilities, we purpose to bring Long-Term Care under the Canada Health Act, set a national standard of four hours of regulated care per day for each resident and provide transformative investment for seniors’ care. Clearly we also need to require better Emergency and Pandemic Preparedness in all seniors’ residences, to protect staff, family caregivers, and residents. And we need to support our front-line health care providers with adequate pay, sick leave and improved working conditions.
QUESTION 4: What do you think is the issue in your riding that you can have the most impact on if you are elected MP?
I am an avid supporter of cooperative housing and am proud to endorse the Vote Housing campaign, to end homelessness and lack of affordable housing in Canada. We need to build back better with deep retrofits of current housing stock and update our national building code standards to incorporate net-zero emission targets.
In the clean energy sector we see local initiatives right next door: the Beaches Community Energy Cooperative produces renewable energy and promotes sustainable living for our future and that of our children. Here in Scarborough Southwest we have numerous developments taking place like in the Quarry Lands, but I don’t see a strong enough commitment to building to net-zero standards and replacing fossil fuel energy with renewables like solar and geothermal systems. These are things we can do on a local level to generate well-paying employment opportunities and the expertise we will need in the economy of the future.