For more than a decade, Sandra O’Connor has been an advocate for Niagara-on-the-Lake on environmental issues, and has now set her sights on the upcoming federal election, representing the Green Party in the Niagara Falls riding, which includes NOTL and Fort Erie.
The vision and platform of the party inspire her, not just on environmental issues, but because the party goals will also strengthen the economy, she says.
When she began researching the party platform, she says she was surprised to learn how well its principles align with her values.
She was impressed by its platform on economic issues as well as environmental policies, and believes they work well together if approached correctly.
“In addition to the environment and the economy, the party looks at social issues, democracy and governing issues. They have positions on all major issues.”
She has researched the party thoroughly, and was amazed and impressed by what she discovered.
“I think they have the most common-sense aproach to address growing our economy, while turning it into a green economy.”
The Green Party would stop subsidies of big corporations, and use the money to improve the economy for everyone, she says.
She thinks the time is right for the Green Party.
“If we don’t do something serious about climate change, it will be too late. For the sake of our children, we have to do something now.”
The Green Party is growing on the provincial and federal level, and in Europe, she says.
She believes the party is the most democratic, because it allows its MPs to represent their constituents, “instead of having to tow the party line,” she says.
And she respects the party leader, Elizabeth May, as “the most ethical and smartest of all the leaders.”
O’Connor says her strong environmental and scientific background make her well-suited to be a Green Party candidate.
After growing up in Niagara, with grandparents who were local farmers, she graduated from Brock University, where she specialized in geography and urban planning.
She has worked for conservation authorities, the Natural Resources Canada University of Victoria, the Canadian Institute of Geomatics and had her own consulting company, retiring from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council before moving back to Niagara.
For more than a decade, she has advocated for protection of agricultural lands and the Greenbelt, and volunteered with the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society, the Smarter Niagara Steering Committee and its Affordable Housing Sub-committee, and for the NOTL Conservancy, promoting the urban tree bylaw.
O’Connor has a daughter and son-in-law who live in Montreal.