Tuesday, 20 February 2018 00:23

Lewans represents Saskatchewan Green Party in Swift Current by-election

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Swift Current resident and small business owner Maria Lewans is the Saskatchewan Green Party candidate in the March 1 by-election in Swift Current.

“I pay attention a lot to what’s going on in the world, and it’s getting really hard to just sit back and say nothing and do nothing when you see a lot of injustice going on,” she said.
The Saskatchewan Green Party will have candidates in all three by-elections on March 1. Voters will also be going to the polls in Kindersley and Melfort. The party’s leader Shawn Setyo is standing in Melfort, and Yvonne Potter Pihach is the candidate in Kindersley.
The party wants to present an alternative, positive position to voters that is based on the creation of a more sustainable province. A key party principle is the link between social and environmental justice.
“I see a lot of injustice in the world and how it’s linked to the environment and our disconnect from it,” Lewans said.
She believes it is possible to achieve social and environmental justice if one is open to that idea.
“The important thing is we have to reduce our consumption and re-use what we can,” she said. ““It’s ridiculous how much we’re consuming and how much we’re wasting.”
Lewans grew up on a mixed farm north of Shaunavon and she served as the SRC president at high school. She studied kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan and thereafter completed a plumbing course at SIAST.
She has been a Swift Current resident since 2006. She was employed at two local construction companies before she started her own plumbing business. In October 2016 she was a mayoral candidate in the municipal election in Swift Current. This by-election is her first foray into provincial politics.
“It is very scary to just put yourself out and say this is what I think and I believe, because these bigger issues affect everybody,” she said “I think it’s time to step back and look at the big picture and think about why we do the things we do and what’s driving it.”
Although this is just a provincial by-election, she feels it is still important to consider how Swift Current fits into the broader world and to look at the wider issues that effect the city and the province.
“These big issues happen at grassroots level,” she said. “We have to be discussing these things and it’s kind of appalling that we aren’t discussing them. … What happens around the world does impact us, whether we like it or not. We can’t live in a little bubble and think our actions don’t affect the world and think what goes on in the world doesn’t affect us.”
She decided to stand for the Saskatchewan Green Party because the party’s principles are closest to her own view of the world.
“I’m a pretty big environmentalist, and so I’ve been drawn to the Green Party,” she said. “I realized I really fit in with this group. They’re firm believers that environmental justice and social justice are linked and that’s something I strongly believe in.”
She believes it is possible to make changes on a personal level towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
“I never really thought about the environment and I took it for granted,” she said. “Through my own growth and just learning things I got concerned and I started making changes in my life and reducing my consumption as much as I can. … I still have progress to make, but I’m working towards it and it’s not really that hard to do. Once you get rolling and realizing small changes you could make, that really adds up, even refusing a disposable cup.”
The key is to have a will and desire to change your lifestyle, and to admit that there is a problem. On a political level it is important to have people who have a questioning mind.
“I don’t think it’s about having all the answers,” she said. “It’s about having an open mind and being able to pull pieces together.”
Four parties are contesting the by-election in Swift Current.
The Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce is hosting an all-candidates forum to give residents an opportunity to hear from the candidates.
The forum will take place at the Living Sky Casino event centre on Feb. 26. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the forum starts at 7 p.m.

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Matthew Liebenberg


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