Environmental activist and artist Susanne Lawson is the Green Party of Canada’s candidate for the Courtenay-Alberni riding in the 2021 federal election.
She has spent the past 40 years working on environmental issues. Together with her late partner, Steve Lawson, she worked with the First Nations Environmental Network on issues across the country. She was the co-chair of the Canadian Environmental Network and has been a member of the B.C. Environmental Network for many years. Lawson was also active in campaigns to end trophy hunting of bears and prevent further mining in Strathcona Provincial Park.
The tumultuous events of the past year and a half were part of what made Lawson decide to run in this election, she said.
“It was after a challenging year and a half we’ve had, with extremes of climate, disease and lockdowns and fires, floods, protests and just a general societal chaos that seemed to demand a new perspective on things,” Lawson said.
So far on the campaign, Lawson said she has heard from voters concerned about issues like housing, businesses struggling because of a lack of housing for workers and young people trying to find an affordable home in their community.
“I think that we have to legislate and establish properties in municipalities and areas for the future well-being of not only just the upcoming young people, but seniors and workers,” said Lawson.
She said she would like to see a housing commission that examines and supports local initiatives and municipalities to protect land and establish it for long-term prospects like affordable housing and seniors housing.
Lawson has also been active in campaigns to end fish farming in the region.
“We have to care for our wild salmon and all the marine resources that have sustained us for so long and now they’re extremely at risk from the diseases and chemicals that are being used in the farms,” Lawson said.
She said she would like to see federal laws apply to resources across the country, including old-growth forest logging and at-risk species.
“I would like to see more cooperation with provinces and the federal government regarding that, ensuring that First Nations and people who are downstream of different corporate projects are cared for and not harmed.”
Lawson is an accomplished artist who has owned and operated several galleries on the West Coast. She has participated in art shows in B.C. and New York.
Election Day is set for Sept. 20.