Leah Gazan is looking to bring the grassroots to the House of Commons.
Clean air, clean water, food security, affordable housing and basic human rights are all among the issues Gazan has been advocating for her whole life.
The newly elected NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre hopes becoming a federal politician provides a new platform to bring these issues forward.
“We need to elevate the voice of people right now who are on the front lines of many of these issues,” says Gazan, who defeated Liberal incumbent Robert-Falcon Ouellette.
Gazan, who declares herself a “proud socialist” like her mother and father, grew up a supporter of the NDP.
“I think it’s deplorable in a country as rich as Canada that we have issues with homelessness, that Indigenous communities still don’t have drinking water and this current government is on it’s 8th non-compliance order to immediately stop racially discriminating against First Nations kids,” says Gazan who is featured on the Tuesday edition of Face to Face with Host Dennis Ward.
“We need strong voices bringing up these kind of issues and making strong connections with people on the ground and grassroots.”
Gazan was one of the candidates running in the last federal election who was supported by the Our Time campaign.
The movement is pushing for what they call a Green New Deal, a plan they say is the only one bold enough to tackle the “climate emergency and rising inequality.”
The NDP MP elect says young people are on the front lines of the climate crisis that she says has been created by a failure to act.
“We need a movement right now” says Gazan to action on the climate emergency.
On Tuesday, 11,000 scientists worldwide signed an open letter demonstrating their concern over the globe’s emerging climate crisis.
Published in the journal BioScience, the letter includes 11,258 signatures from 153 countries, including 409 from Canada.
“We declare … clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” says the letter’s opening statement.
Gazan, who is a member of Wood Mountain Lakota Nation in Treaty 4 territory wants a government that invests in people rather than corporations.
“We have growing inequality. We see in Winnipeg Centre and I know people are calling it a meth crisis but I’ve been saying I disagree I think it’s a poverty human rights crisis with not enough mental health and trauma supports,” she says.
“And when you don’t look after people you have a crisis.”
Gazan says she is not disappointed it will be a minority government when the House of Commons resumes.
“Strong NDP voices in a minority government are always good,” says Gazan.
“That’s how we got medicare in Canada. That’s how we got C-P-P (Canadian Pension Plan).