Years ago when I was sworn in as a Canadian citizen, the judge instilled a deep sense of what a privilege it is to vote, she looked each of us in the eye and told us it was our duty. So vote I must. Admittedly I’m slightly less inspired this year by parties as a whole and more motivated to support the individual who I believe will have the most beneficial effect on our city as whole.

Now, what do I mean by that? I support public transit, public housing, more money for hospitals but also I want to vote for the 367 identified bird species that call the Hamilton area home.

The Royal Botanical Garden lands boast 750 native plant species, 37 mammal species, 14 reptile species, 9 amphibian species and 68 species of Lake Ontario fish.  I vote for all these critters, for the insects, for the bees, for clean air, for protected watersheds, for the whole region as a functional ecosystem.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Hamilton wasn’t known just as a steel town but also to new generations as an ecological haven? Wouldn’t it be marvelous if we were known as the city capable of rebuilding an industrial heritage into a conservationists dream town?

I hear you coughing, you may think I’m a dreamer BUT I already know of tourists who come to Hamilton just because of the waterfalls and incredible trails network.

I want a candidate who can openly support a group like Environment Hamilton to ensure far more trees get planted in the core and a lot less paved, sprawling car parks (yes we need parking lots but we can and should stack them and charge appropriately) I would love to see an end to front yard parking pads, a recycling system that actually works, improved sewage treatment facilities for the city and the list goes on.

I’m all for using less plastic, participating in cleanups, eating local and sustainable foods but it takes a political will and pressure from the folks who elected that leader to really make some changes that will affect 100’s of thousands of people vs individuals.

I look at it like a bathtub that we’re trying to bail out with a teaspoon while the taps are fully turned on – we need to turn off the taps and we need leaders that can make changes that will turn off those taps so we can get to fixing the mess we’re all in together.

Protection of the trees we already have, the lands and waterfront restoration, reduced paved surfaces, monitored smokestacks and a cleaner bay all greatly benefit the above listed species as well as humans.

If you think I’m being a little feather brained then take some cold hard numbers off google as to how much more successful beautiful cities with trees, great infrastructure (LRT and bicycle lanes) are for quality of life as well as the economy, job creation and retention in that city.

I’m in, are you?


Candy Venning is a resident of Ward 2, a business owner, a volunteer, a tree hugger and a cancer survivor.