A woman who lives south of Steinbach has been named as the Green Party candidate in a provincial by-election next month in Winnipeg.

Janine Gibson is Leader of the Green Party of Manitoba. On June 18th, she will be looking to claim the Tuxedo seat, left vacant after Progressive Conservative MLA Heather Stefanson resigned earlier this month.

Gibson says her primary reason for running as a parachute candidate is to offer the people of Tuxedo some diversity on the ballot. In fact, she says that is always her goal when running in provincial and federal elections. Gibson says she is hoping to be a voice in dealing with our climate emergency.

Further to that, Gibson says our "two-party system" in Manitoba does not promote discussion, does not promote debate, and does not promote an attempt to solve the problems of today together. 

"I'm happy to serve in what ways I can and encourage young people," she adds, noting it is a challenge to find young people who have the time to do this sort of community service. 

According to Gibson, the Green Party of Manitoba does not have much of a track record of running candidates in Tuxedo. She suggests this is more of an opportunity to discuss the issues in that constituency.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity of talking to folks about what's on their minds," she adds. "I know some folks in touch with me are saying the Green Party does reflect some of their concerns about what life in 2024 means to them."

Gibson adds Tuxedo has historically been a very Conservative riding and she thinks voters will find it refreshing to hear some of her party's responsible approaches to finances and to the way the Green Party feels it should manage our resources. 

As for what she thinks might be the biggest issues facing Tuxedo residents, Gibson admits that she will need to listen more to what voters have to say. Gibson says Manitoba needs more supports to make sure our homes and businesses are environmentally sustainable. She adds her primary platform is to address the climate emergency that we are in and says more needs to be done to be more proactive in preventing healthcare issues.

"I know we have an older population in many areas of Tuxedo," Gibson points out. "And they want more information on how to be protective of their health and prevent health issues as we age."

With regards to the way elections are run in Manitoba, Gibson says there appears to be a lot of support to go away from the first-past-the-post system, which is the way elections are held in Manitoba. She thinks a more truly representative democracy is needed where we have proportional representation, making every vote count. 

"So, there is definitely some interest from folks in that and what it takes to truly transform and update our democracy," she adds. "Those are the basic issues that I'll be bringing forward in the campaign and I hope that they resound and strike a note for quite a few folks in the Tuxedo area."

Gibson says democracy requires active engagement and she is running in this by-election in order to encourage young people to be active and get more voters to the polls.