Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock Green Party candidate Elizabeth Fraser is doing a lot more while studying than your average university student.
Fraser is pursuing a degree in environmental studies at Carleton University in Ottawa and is in her third year. She became involved in student politics, kick-starting the Green Party club at her school.
She said she did not imagine running at the age of 21. But after being approached to run by the party, it made sense to her.
“This election is really important just because of the issues we’re facing in society in general, especially with climate change,” Fraser said. “If you’re at all concerned about climate change, you really need to take action, and getting involved in politics is one of the best ways you can do that.”
Fraser hails from Bethany, a village in the City of Kawartha Lakes west of Peterborough, where she has lived for 20 years. She said she has kept herself involved in both political and environmental groups during her schooling.
“I have a really good sense of the important issues that need to be tackled.”
The three biggest issues she said she wants to address as an MP are affordable housing,
health care accessibility and improving the job market through investing in small businesses as well as the green sector.
“Jobs definitely are the number one issue for most people,” Fraser said. “Small businesses are the backbone of Canadian economies and so ensuring small businesses have the funding they need, for the investments that they need, to grow.”
Climate change is making headlines as student-led protests are taking place around the world. Fraser said she supports the initiative.
“It’s bringing a topic to light. This is something we should be concerned about. As someone that falls into that younger generation, I know for myself and for people my age, it’s a huge concern,” she said. “These kinds of protests on a huge level are so important to raising awareness to people already in Ottawa and the people who will be in Ottawa after the election.”
The riding is historically Conservative, but Fraser said she remains optimistic and wants to ensure people know what the Green Party is about.
“I really just want to make sure the Green Party is a feasible and realistic option for them,” Fraser said. “There are quite a few areas where the Green Party and the Conservative Party kind of agree, especially on issues of supporting small businesses.”
The campaign trail has been positive, Fraser said. But she added as a candidate from a smaller party, her campaign may be shorter.
“It’s a lot harder to run a very full-scale campaign,” Fraser said. “I’m making an effort to get out into the communities and talk to as many people as I possibly can and kind of understand their pain points.”
Fraser is the youngest candidate in the riding. She said she understands her age could be a challenge for some voters but said she would be driven as an MP.
“I’m very passionate about improving people’s lives,” Fraser said. “I decided to run because I really do care about improving people’s quality of life and strongly believe the Green Party’s policies can do that.
“I hope people can see I would work really hard for them if I were elected.”