Liberal candidate Jennifer Grenz says her goal is to get the concerns of the North Island-Powell River riding heard in Ottawa, so government efforts on the economic recovery from COVID-19 and climate change issues, especially the recovery of wild salmon on the West Coast, meet voters' needs.

Grenz, an Indigenous scholar and business owner who has worked on ecological restoration and invasive species management in communities across the Vancouver Island riding for the past five years, says she has witnessed coastal communities struggling with big issues that need more attention.

“With the direct impacts of things like climate change, COVID-19, and reduced salmon stocks, I’ve been watching ways of life slipping from friends' hands,” Grenz said.

“And if I have an opportunity to serve, I want to help bring solutions home and get people a seat at the table in government.”

A scientist with public policy experience, Grenz said she’s a bridge-builder who can help stakeholders on tough issues agree on a shared course of action.

“The environment and climate change can actually be super contentious, and shouldn’t be,” she said.

“I’ve worked with people of all political stripes extensively on important issues, and have a reputation for being able to bring together unsuspecting allies (who) are actually united by values that they never realized they share.”

The Liberal Party’s proposed climate change plan builds on its reputation for prioritizing global warming and the environment, and is the most accountable, comprehensive proposal pitched by all the parties this election, Grenz said.

And while in Ottawa, the Liberals made a historical $647-million investment to recover Pacific salmon, she said.

A Liberal government will want feedback from coastal communities on every aspect of the Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative, such as developing jobs in hatcheries or fish habitat restoration, added Grenz, who said her overarching goal is to build resilient communities by addressing intertwined economic, social, and climate issues.

“In politics, it seems to me there’s this siloing of issues like the climate from housing and jobs,” she said.

“With the direct impacts of things like #ClimateChange, #COVID19, and reduced #salmon stocks, I’ve been watching ways of life slipping from friends' hands,” says Liberal candidate Jennifer Grenz. #elxn44 #NorthIsland #BC

“I’m looking from an ecologist's worldview at the relationships between all of those things and … where can they be strengthened.”

The Liberal Party is committed to combatting climate change while fostering a green economy and sustainable jobs, Grenz said.

And applying an Indigenous lens and traditional knowledge to tackling big-picture problems like climate change, adaptation strategies, and sustainable resource development is a priority for the Liberals, said Grenz, whose family is from the Lytton First Nation.

“My life’s work has been dedicated to healing our lands and waters … and our fish and animal relations can’t keep up with the changes,” she said.

“The Indigenous worldview that I apply has a lot to offer in coming up with solutions for all sorts of things that are important to our communities and how we weave those things together.”

Rochelle Baker / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada's National Observer

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