Windsor Star

Greens pick 2 candidates for Windsor

- STAR STAFF REPORTER

BY SONJA PUZIC

Two young Green party candidates will be vying for local votes in the coming federal election, hoping to raise the party’s profile in the region and convince disenchant­ed voters that there is an alternativ­e to Canada’s mainstream political parties.

John Esposito, 24, was named the Green party’s Windsor West candidate and Kyle Prestanski, 23, will run in the Windsor-Tecumseh riding. The candidates were officially selected at a Sunday afternoon nomination meeting in Windsor.

Andrew McAvoy was originally named the Windsor-Tecumseh candidate, but recently stepped down for personal reasons.

Richard Bachynsky is the Green candidate in Essex.

Esposito and Prestanski said Sunday they were excited to run in the Oct. 14 election, especially as the Green party seems to be emerging on the national scene, with the inclusion of Leader Elizabeth May in the televised debate of federal party leaders and more media coverage.

“We’re in a prime position to win a few seats across the country,” said Prestanski, a graduate of the University of Windsor’s environmen­tal studies program who is now pursuing a masters degree at the university.

Prestanski, whose community volunteer work has focused on promoting environmen­talism, said there was “no doubt” in his mind about running in this election.

“It’s an opportunit­y for us to change the (Green party) stereotype and show people that our policy extends beyond environmen­talism,” he said. “A lot of people are disgruntle­d ... and my message is that there is an alternativ­e.”

Esposito, who recently graduated from the U of W and is a member of the Young Greens Council, spoke about the need to diversify the local economy so that companies can focus on green technologi­es, such as solar panels and wind turbines, and laid off skilled workers can be re-employed in more environmen­tally friendly industries.

“Windsor’s manufactur­ing sector needs to move toward a green future,” he said.

However, the Green party is not a one-issue party, Esposito said, and it will also work to improve the country’s health care system and the struggling economy.

Both Prestanski and Esposito said the local economy will be a main discussion topic as they round up their volunteers, put up election signs and canvass neighbourh­oods over the next four weeks.

They also said their ages give them an edge with young voters — and a new approach to older ones.

“I think a lot of younger voters are asking ‘What is out there for me in this election?’ and I can relate to that,” said Prestanski. “But I think I can also reach out to older voters. I want to be a fresh face out there.”

Esposito said he’s encouraged by the support the Greens have been getting locally.

“There are Green signs all across the city ... and a lot of people are telling me ‘I voted Green in the last election and I’ll vote for you.’”

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