The Hamilton Spectator
Green party hopeful sees ‘urgency of the moment’
‘Frustration’ over lack of action on climate and Bill 23 motivated environmental organizer to run
She grew up catching frogs in a wetland near her cottage country home. At age seven, she watched as it was filled in with concrete for development.
Now, Lucia Iannantuono is running for office to protect other green spaces from the same fate.
“It was always very, very, very apparent to me growing up there how important it is to take care of things because you can lose them,” said the 26-year-old from Bracebridge. “It’s not for the benefit of everyone that land gets taken.”
Before she was nominated as the Green Party of Ontario’s candidate in Hamilton Centre late last year, Iannantuono was heavily involved with several environmental groups, including local organization Hamilton 350, fighting climate change and urban sprawl.
Though it’s her first foray into leadership, she has for years been politically active, working behind the scenes on several campaigns, including for the Greens in the last provincial election and Cameron Kroetsch in the municipal election in the fall.
An avid hiker and climber, Iannantuono moved to Hamilton in 2014 to study electrical engineering at McMaster University, and currently lives downtown, working as a hardware developer.
She considers herself a “technical person” and never imagined a career in politics. But, recognizing the “urgency of the moment” — and with some encouragement from peers — she embraced the challenge.
Mounting frustration, including over a controversial Tory government plan to remove 2,994 hectares of land from the Greenbelt, including about 770 in rural Hamilton, for fast-tracked homebuilding, pushed her to get involved at the political level.
But the Greens are not a “singleissue” party as some claim, she said.
“Climate impacts every single part of our society,” she said, giving the example of extreme summer heat’s effects on health and infrastructure, and role in deepening inequity.
“This is a foreseeable disaster and something that we’re not planning for right now.”
On March 16, Hamilton Centre residents will vote for their new MPP, a seat vacated by Mayor Andrea Horwath last year. Other candidates vying for the provincial seat are New Democrat Sarah Jama, Liberal Deirdre Pike, Progressive Conservative Pete Wiesner and independent candidate Nathalie Xian Yi Yan.