This week, I interviewed leadership candidate for the Green Party of Manitoba, Andrea Shalay.
Andrea Shalay was recently the deputy leader and chair of communication. She is currently on the governance team. Shalay joined the Green Party of Manitoba five years ago. She mentioned how asking pushed her to be more involved in politics.
S.R: How did James react to you challenging his position as a leader?
A.S: The decision came about largely because James, David (president) and I would have conversations about it. So we have conversations about leadership and moving forward. James was very excited. Him and I both have strong passion bringing fair Democratic process so. I think he felt a lot more comfortable [about] the idea of having an actual leadership race, giving people a real choice rather than just a claiming all the positions on council. So this is sort of also showing I think that the GPM is at a point where it is starting to bridge into a whole other phase of growth.
On the Prairies, it’s always been a little bit tough getting green parties off of the ground. […] I think in the last election we kind of cross the threshold where, even though we didn’t get the seats that we wanted, the fallout from that election as we started getting really amazing volunteers stepping forward and and that is allowed us to kind of grow our capacity. We also have a whole bunch of new regional representatives that are going to be coming on board this AGM and I think that also is going to really expand our capacity.
I think we’re kind of on this this edge of really being able to grow and build our base, which is the part of the process that I’m really passionate about and that is why I felt now is actually a really good time to put my name forward and run because this ties into where my skills are. A lot of it around community development and participant driven processes so I really want to take the opportunity and in foster a bottom up style leadership so that we can demonstrate to the rest of the party that what politics done differently actually looks like.
S.R: If elected, how would see the development of Manitoba?
A.S: If we’d won a seat, I would look to PEI as a model. When they had one person elected, their leader, the things that he was able to do right away demonstrate again how politics could be done differently and he did that with civility, nicety, cooperation […] It inspired a lot of the public to see that politics can be done differently because they realize this is how they wanted their politics to be done and they realized they have an option.
One of the most beautiful things that I think that they’ve been able to accomplish is that they passed legislation particularly around committee structures that encourages inter-party cooperation in creating sound policy that benefits all Islanders. The parties are actually working together! By doing something, even in opposition, they [parties] don’t even have to be in power and yet, that they are already transforming how politics is done so that it is benefiting people better. I think that is a strategy I would want to go with Manitoba because I think we can accomplish a lot more if we can inspire people and parties to work together in developing the best policy is possible.
S.R: How would you come about with the implementation of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action?
A. S: I think the first thing we need to do and, I know that we’re working on this in a very slow proces, that’s been developing for years, we actually need to develop the policies. I know it’s something that I talked about a lot leading into last election last year because we really need to make sure our policies reflect the recommendations for the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, the report on the missing Indigenous Women. The thing is that these reports have so many things that align with green values, we just have to actually show that in policy.
Once we have that in policy we can actually they really press on these issues. The other thing we can set it works right away is just show up. I know for myself I live really close to legislator. So when there are demonstrations at the legislature, I try to make a point showing up. Same with like Black Lives Matter and some of the other core issues that have come up, being present and showing that we are there is a part of being active in solidarity even while we’re still working on getting a policy to reflect power values already line up with these good things.
S.R: How would you with Post-Covid Economy?
A.S: I think the key thing that I would want to push for is the universal basic income. This is something that the Green Party of Manitoba has actually been a leader in Canada for developing our policy. We have a lot of numbers and we really developed it. We’ve seen the CERB and CESB and how that works, I think now it is a good time to push for this at all levels of government because when people have money in their pocket, they will spend it. If we have money moving continually in the economy, it’s going to help a lot of the small businesses. It going to help the economy as a whole to get back going. Things starts opening up. It hasn’t been dormant.
There is still … a little bit of that going on underneath so that is for me the most important thing. In recovering economy, the most important thing is getting money moving through the economy so that it’s not stagnating.
[We dont have a policy yet, but the other thing is to support small businesses. They’re the top employer in Canada. We have and, this is a federal thing, so this is something that provincial level might have some limitations. By recognizing that they are the top employer, we support them, and then there’s going to be more jobs for people to go back to. That is more important than giving bailouts to big companies. I feel very strongly about that. If we support the small businesses, they will support the communities, they will create those jobs and that will get our economy going.
I think if we support the small businesses, this is actually a huge opportunity because small businesses also have the best ability to be innovative. This could be an actual opportunity to shift our economy and create more innovation based economy. If we create the right conditions through having a universal basic income and by supporting small businesses, you can actually create the right conditions or entrepreneurialism. Ee created a lot more value for the economy through entrepreneurialism than resource extraction that sort of been our provincial habit under our current governments. We need to move away from resource extraction and really focus on innovation.
If we create the right conditions. In Canada, we already do have some benefits that could make us an entrepreneurial centre. Entrepreneurs work really hard and don’t get a lot in return for the first time. For instance, having a universal basic income will allow them to live while they get their business off the ground. Then, what they bring back to the economy is even greater than that support that got them started.
The other thing that is really good about Manitoba that I think also creates a lot of opportunity for entrepreneurialism is that, unlike places like Toronto, and I’m originally from Ontario so I’m not speaking out of ignorance, but there is this sense of supporting one zone so a lot of the really larger Manitoba based businesses actually support a lot of the small businesses and help them get off the ground.
I have been involved in entrepreneurial community here and I’m amazed at how in larger businesses get back in building up knew entrepreneurs and new businesses.
S.R: How would Manitoba deal with Climate Change?
Words of Encouragement
Shalay mentions how we need to just keep asking. She says, “we need to ask women at least three times before they step forward most of the time for those filament and so keep asking. Sometimes we overthink it and just realize that asking is most important.”
Andrea Shalay Contact Information