Nipissing Green candidate Sean McClocklin, 26, is an addictions counsellor and sees his fair share of hardship and suffering.
That's why he's so keen to tackle the housing affordability crisis, something prioritized by the Green Party.
"I believe strongly in a housing-first approach which means helping people get into supportive housing units where they have the support they need to deal with mental health issues as well as an addictions crisis.
As Ontario voters begin heading to the advanced polls, housing affordability remains a top priority for all provincial political parties. A recent poll conducted by Abacus Data on behalf of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) shows that 73 per cent of Ontarians agree that making housing more affordable should be a priority for the Ontario government, with 84 per cent saying that a party’s ideas on solving the housing affordability crisis could be an important factor when deciding who to vote for on June 2.
"Along with that is the mental health issue. We're seeing that even before the pandemic we are disproportionately affected in the north by the opioid overdose crisis. Part of our platform is the housing first approach with 60,000 supportive housing units with wrap-around mental health and other services, 10,000 of which have been allotted right here in the north and I'm super-proud of that."
McClocklin would like to see more investment in mental health care.
"We have to increase the mental health care budget by 10 per cent. It's super important. We want to declare it a mental health crisis and divert the funding from the justice system into the health care system."
He also advocates the decriminalization of drug use.
"We want to make it the government's responsibility for safe consumption and safe supply."
It's been done in eastern Europe, notably Portugal.
"We want to take the stigma out of it and the justice system out of it so instead of getting arrested and sent to jail, it would be catch and release. It's different if someone is trying to sell opioids on the street, obviously, that's not going to become legal, but for people who are suffering with an addiction issue it's going to make it not a criminal act but instead will be offered support."
McClocklin has lived in North Bay since 2015 He was born in Orillia but raised in Huntsville.
"I moved because I used to come and visit my sister every summer. I made friends and connections in the city and fell in love with it and one day decided to move up."
He loves the outdoors.
"I love the beaches and green space we have here. I love the outdoors and being connected with nature.It's great for camping or getting away for a walk in the evening along our waterfront."
He's been involved in politics since age seven when he joined his parents watching the Legislature, the House of Commons, and hearing what the people representing us have to say. I've always been taught it's not only our right but our civic duty to vote and vote for the leadership we want.
"I thought about it for a long time and became eligible at 18 but it wasn't the right time. Now with my experience in the addictions field I really feel like, especially in Nipissing, this is the right time for me. to step forward."
Other Green Policies include: Increasing funding for children’s mental health services to reduce wait times to less than 30 days. Establishing a transparent annual carbon budget to reach net-zero by 2045. Repealing Bill 124, paying PSWs, Nurses, and ECEs fair wages - and hiring 33,000 new nurses. Help people age in place with $1.6B investments in-home care. Permanently protect prime farmlands, making infrastructure climate-ready - with an investment in an adaptation fund for municipalities. Phasing in Basic Income, with the first step being to double ODSP and OW rates. Making education more affordable and accessible by immediately reversing cuts to OSAP, converting loans to grants for low and middle-income families, and eliminating interest charges on student debt.
“The Ontario Green’s plan makes fiscally responsible investments that will result in a better range of public services and chart a path towards a balanced budget. If you want a real plan for a Green future, vote for the REAL thing. It’s never a wasted vote to vote for the Ontario YOU want and the Leadership WE need.” added McClocklin.