East St. Paul’s Graham Hnatiuk is the Green Party candidate for Red River North in the upcoming provincial election.
Hnatiuk is a 33-year-old musician who has performed across Canada with his band Hearing Trees. He said he was inspired to run for office after seeing federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May speak when she was in town earlier this summer.
"My ideals aligned with the Green Party," Hnatiuk, who runs a family farm in the area with his father, told The Herald. "They didn’t have a candidate out here, so I thought I’d put my name out there. I feel like a bit of a fish out of water. But if this is the least I can do, I can do that."
Climate change is a major motivator for Hnatiuk, though he believes that neither the PCs nor the NDP are serious about tackling the root causes of the issue.
"Pallister and Kinew are both going to talk about health care and the economy, and I get that," he said. "That’s what big parties do. But these are all important issues that should be talked about."
Addressing transportation issues and consumption of carbon are both things Hnatiuk would like to see discussed in the run-up to both the provincial and federal elections.
"There is a lot of traffic down Henderson Highway every day," he said. "Single occupancy vehicles are a big driver of carbon emissions. I’d like to look at transit options. That’s not as tenable in Grand Beach, but in East St. Paul there are a lot of people and a lot of students."
Single-use plastics are another issue that hits close to home for Hnatiuk.
"In East St. Paul, we ship all our garbage to another town. How much of that is single-use plastic? Probably a lot of it," he said. "On our farm, we’re all compostable products. It wasn’t that difficult, though it does cost us a little bit more money."
If elected, Hnatiuk said that along with bringing up the issues around climate change, he would push for more compostable products to be manufactured and used locally.
"Having one green seat would matter a lot, just to have those issues in the conversation," he said. "Because right now they’re not."
Regardless of the outcome on Sept. 9, Hnatiuk feels like the Green Party is building momentum in Manitoba, and wants to be part of the change.
"I’d like to achieve some awareness of issues, and I’m happy to give people the choice in Red River North to vote Green," Hnatiuk said.
Community journalist — The Herald
Sheldon Birnie is the community journalist for The Herald Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7112