Press Statements

Vaccine Passport Protests

September 3, 2021


Candidate for the Green Party of Canada, South Okanagan – West Kootenay


Vote for affordability, resilient local economies, and bold climate action

We have seen an increasing amount of animosity directed towards healthcare workers as a result of the impending vaccine passport (beginning Sept. 13). This can be seen by the recent protests that took place outside of hospitals throughout the province, including one in Trail attended by around one hundred protesters. Healthcare workers endured hatred, acts of violence, and threats of harm by these protests that took place throughout BC. 

The verbal abuse, spitting, and near acts of violence towards healthcare staff will not be tolerated, “While canvassing, I heard first hand accounts from health workers that protesters yelled, spat, and made rude gestures directed towards staff that were leaving for active calls or for the end of their shift.” These were far from peaceful protests, which is why it is important that we condemn the aggressive actions committed by the protesters. 

    We must stand in solidarity with our healthcare workers, these are extremely tough times for those in this sector. They have dealt with COVID-19 for the past 18 months and there has been little respite, as staffing shortages, 12+ hour shifts, and a never-ending stream of patients has drastically affected healthcare workers mental health. 

    It is crucial that we condemn those that feel it is necessary to blame healthcare workers for decisions that have been issued by the provincial government in regards to vaccine passports. Tara Howse stands with the healthcare workers throughout the South Okanagan and West Kootenay riding for the work that they do for the betterment of all constituents. 

    “I ask for my fellow candidates to stand with me in condemning the actions of the protesters, healthcare workers do not deserve this treatment especially after enduring the past 18 months of this pandemic.” 

    We must empower those that continue to put their own mental and physical health on the line to care for our children, seniors, and vulnerable population.  

Healthcare Press Statement

August 30, 2021


Candidate for the Green Party of Canada, South Okanagan – West Kootenay


Vote for affordability, resilient local economies, and bold climate action

Crisis can feel like an overused word these days, but it’s hard to describe the current situation in our healthcare system with anything else. 

The pandemic tore through our vulnerable seniors’ population and exposed weaknesses in our system that have been ignored for way too long. 

In conversations with representatives from the BC Nurses Union, Candi DeSousa in the Okanagan-Similkameen and Shalane Wenoski in the West Kootenay region explained just how dire the situation is. 

The nurses’ union has been vocal about the chronic staffing shortage for over 25 years. Combined with deteriorating working conditions as individual nurses struggle to pick up the slack, retention rates have never been worse. Throw in a pandemic and a climate emergency, and the strain nurses have been feeling for years has reached crisis levels. 

But there are things we can do at a federal level to help. 

Create a national nursing strategy that focuses on staff retention

Steps to improve staff retention must start at the top with changes to the federal-provincial funding model. Currently, it is based on population, not need. This is especially dangerous for rural communities. In places like Nakusp, for example, there is only one RPN. What happens when they get sick or need a vacation day? Service shuts down and there are no other options.

Decriminalize opioids and fund local community outreach programs 

Pathways Addiction Resources Centre in Penticton is an excellent example of a community-based service that actually works and gets results. If not for an outpouring of support from locals, this essential service would have been shut down earlier this year due to a withdrawal of government funding. 

Local community outreach programs like Pathways can help in ways the formal health authority cannot. Limited hours of service and the continued disregard for the systemic discrimination that exists against marginalized groups make the existing health authority largely ineffective. 

Update whistleblower protection legislation to cover our healthcare workers

Remember those videos we saw with nurses speaking out about COVID conditions? They were quickly taken down and the nurses very likely faced disciplinary action. In the face of extreme understaffing, increasingly difficult working conditions, and an unprecedented influx of people needing care, healthcare workers are not allowed to speak out. 

Candidate Tara Howse wants to make clear that this affects ALL of us. 

“At the federal level, we can ensure that healthcare workers are covered by whistleblower protection, rather than opening them up to employer reprimands and criminal charges when they cry for help.” 

Greens believe in a strong leadership role for the federal government in healthcare. Although it is a provincial jurisdiction, health is funded according to transfer payments set at the federal level. We will renew the intergovernmental agreement that governs this financial relationship to better reflect Canadians’ changing health needs in relation to mental health and our aging population. We will work for accessible patient-centred primary care for all

Canadian History, Response to O’Toole Statement

August 27, 2021


Candidate for the Green Party of Canada, South Okanagan – West Kootenay


Vote for affordability, resilient local economies, and bold climate action

On Wednesday, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole made a statement stating ‘it’s time to raise the flag’ reflecting on the Parliament Hill flags that have been at half mast due to ongoing awareness of mass burial sites on residential school sites. Mr. O’Toole doubled down by saying, “I think to recommit to Canada we have to be proud of Canada.” 

This simplistic view completely ignores the fact that the process and effects of colonization continue to this day. This is not ancient history. This is very real for many people. 

Being proud to be Canadian and recognizing the ugly side of our past are not mutually exclusive. The ability to do this is what makes Canada so extraordinary. To quote Chief Ian Campbell of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, “Our history is your history…until Canada accepts that…this society will never flourish to its full potential.”

To address real systemic issues that continue to impact Indigenous peoples, we have to acknowledge the impact of decisions such as residential schools and how they continue to affect Indigenous peoples and communities to this day. 

The Green Party of Canada and Candidate Tara Howse are committed to advancing reconciliation by working with Indigenous peoples and communities throughout this riding. Erin O’Toole is saying that it’s time to look past this and move on. Green Party Candidate, Tara Howse, says “To think we have devoted enough attention to unmarked graves recovered at residential school sites ignores that these are children whose lives were taken through explicit government orders.”

Tara Howse, Candidate

August 16, 2021


Candidate for the Green Party of Canada, South Okanagan – West Kootenay


Vote for affordability, resilient local economies, and bold climate action

Many of you have expressed frustration at the Liberals for calling this election, echoing anger from the provincial election the NDP held in 2020. However, it means the time to elect a Green MP to South Okanagan-West Kootenay is now. There is a shift happening. The climate emergency is impossible to ignore. The affordability crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic, has rocked communities. Local businesses and economies are suffering. People want to see action. 

The climate emergency is raging in British Columbia as we experience another devastating wildfire season, and extreme heat events. Without a change in policy and legislation this will be our new normal. Can the federal government do more? Tara Howse, Green Party candidate, says yes. 

Ms. Howse emphasizes that these disaster events are not “natural” but caused by human activities, like industrial logging. While she acknowledges that resource management falls under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, there are actions the federal government can take. “There is ample evidence showing that industrial logging is a contributing factor to both increased flooding events, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and larger, hotter wildfires. And yet, there has been no moratorium on old growth logging, which should be a no-brainer. Old-growth stands are a carbon sink, a fire suppressant, and support incredible biodiversity.”

The Green Party Caucus has been advocating for greater involvement from the federal government. Through the national climate emergency declaration, the federal government could take steps to curb forestry as part of an action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Green Party MP, Paul Manly, developed a petition for federal intervention to immediately halt old-growth logging but not a single NDP MP signed.  

Howse further notes that “Forestry is not just a provincial issue. Local communities’ watersheds and jobs are impacted. International trade agreements are involved. We need to be working across federal, local, and First Nations government jurisdictions to identify solutions that work best for us now, and the future.” 

Tara Howse is willing to do just that, to work for the betterment of the people of the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding by addressing the climate emergency and making sure that our region is better protected in the present and future.

Contact Me

South Okanagan–West Kootenay Riding

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