Green Party leader faces Environment minister in October election

Wayne Thibodeau
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Sharon Labchuk will run against Richard Brown for a seat in the P.E.I. legislature

Green Party Leader Sharon Labchuk to take on Environment Minister Richard Brown in provincial election.

P.E.I. Green Party Leader Sharon Labchuk is challenging Environment Minister Richard Brown in District 12 (Charlottetown-Victoria Park) in an election fight the outspoken environmentalist hopes will spotlight the Liberal minister’s failure to protect the environment.

Labchuk may live in Millvale, in rural Queens County, but she’s decided to take her next election fight to one of the Island’s most urban riding.

“This is Richard Brown’s riding, our minister of Environment, Energy and Forestry. I actually had hope he might do something useful when he was elected, as he’d worked with me on a couple of environmental issues when he was a city councillor,” said Labchuk.

“But he’s been one of the worst Environment ministers in all the years I’ve been involved. The devastating fish kills last weekend clinched it for me. This province desperately needs Green MLAs in the legislature.”

The environmentalist is no stranger to politics. She ran unsuccessfully provincially in her home riding of Rustico-Emerald and has also offered twice as a federal candidate for the Green Party of Canada.

Labchuk, who lives in a solar house and grows much of her own vegetables and fruits, is employed by the Green Party of Canada as the party’s national director of organizing.

Brown said he’s looking forward to the fight.

He points to his government’s record, including banning lawn care pesticides, increased buffer zones and increased funding to watershed and agricultural groups to help protect the environment.

“I’ll put my record against Sharon Labchuk’s record anytime,” said Brown.

“We’ve met our environmental targets eight years earlier than planned.”

In the last provincial election in 2007, the Green Party took less than six per cent of the total vote in District 12, Charlottetown-Victoria Park.

That put the party in fourth place.

Brown received 53.6 per cent of the vote.

So far, neither the Progressive Conservative Party nor the NDP have announced a candidate in the district

Labchuk laughs when she hears that Brown says he’ll put his record up against hers.

“The lawn pesticide legislation was a massive betrayal of Islanders,” she said, adding that Brown banned only one of the 80 lawn and garden pesticides banned in Ontario.

“I don’t think that’s a very good record if he wants to put that up against mine.”

But Brown said the P.E.I. government banned one chemical, 2,4-D, but that effectively banned hundreds of products. 

He said he prefers to work with the agriculture community, rather than passing legislation that would effectively shut down an industry that is the backbone of the Island’s economy.”

“So therefore we banned hundreds of products with that active ingredient.”

Organizations: Green Party, Progressive Conservative Party, NDP

Geographic location: P.E.I., Millvale, Queens Canada Ontario

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Recent comments

  • Vonlevander
    July 29, 2011 - 11:32

    Sometimes comments on sites like these are absolutely staggering. The Guardian’s standard of what constitutes “polite” is very low. Making personal attacks on someone you don’t know, under the cloak of anonymity, is the lowest level of debate, and the height of cowardice. I hope the media is going to cut through this rubbish and focus on what matters: this government has no understanding of environmental issues, or how ignoring them affects just about everything. Sharon Labchuk does, and she knows what she’s talking about. Richard Brown should have to show that he does as well – and I think we can predict the outcome. Good for Sharon. If more people were willing to stand up and do what she does, we’d all be a lot better off. But judging from comments here, they’re too busy spouting a lot of defensive, xenophobic nonsense about issues they don’t understand.

  • just another troll on here
    July 29, 2011 - 08:20

    While Minister Brown's record as environment minister is far from stellar he does, at any rate, have a record. Ms. Lapchuck, on the other hand, has no record. She is the leader of the provincial Greens, which seems to be a life long appointment. She is the Federal Organizer of the Greens, or at least until the per vote subsidy runs out. She grabs at any headline she can find. Her credibility as a political figure is at best suspect. Running in Charlottetown against Richard Brown does two things. Weakens the very legitimate voice about environmental issues and further convinces Islanders, without an axe to grind, that she is a tireless self promoter. The issue is too important to have it turned into a Sharon Lapchuck circus. And that is what she is successfully achieving. Hopefully when she finishes last, in what might be a four or five contestant field, the media will realize she is roundly rejected as a spokesperson for environmental issues on PEI. There are many more credible voices on the subject of pesticides, organic farming and the environment, let's ensure that these voices are given an opportunity to be heard through the media and not just the Island Green Party Leader.

    • Eco Troll
      July 29, 2011 - 09:54

      Yeah I just love reading these classic two-faced PEI political messages on the environment. So calm. So reasonable. So properly middle class and deferential. Yeah let's say we want action and yes say we want discussion on environmental issues and then attackor smear the people who are effectively using the media to advance these issues.Backrroom deals, gentleman's agreements, and social niceties will not save the environment on PEI.That is how we got into this mess. Electing some Greens will help.Richard Brown will not help. He and Ghiz and Webster have buried the four year old nitrates report so deep that only a few people even remember it any more, for example. It is way past time to be nice and oh so PEI politically conventional. There will be no change without major awareness building.Go Sharon!

  • Conroy
    July 29, 2011 - 07:35

    Really, whether you intend so or not, you use the standard decades old pro-chemical and pro-agribusiness line that there are not alternatives to chemical agriculture. There are alternatives. There are jurisdictions that do not destroy their local eco systems for supposed economic purposes. Greens have been elected in many jurisdictions including the Canadian parliament. I would compare electing Sharon Labchuk to the PEI Legislature to Elizabeth May's election. It does not change the world. It is a small step in the right direction and by that I mean at least these serious issues must be debated soon and debated thoroughly. This campaign will be high profile and, Really, if you are patient enough you will hear about alternatives, options, re-directions, etc.On PEI we are way past the status quo. Despite the cancers and the fish kills Richard Brown is clearly status quo, and even worse, he pretends to be progressive, relying on ignorance, prejudice and impatience to carry him through. He is the worst kind of old fashioned politician. He has to go and the best way to replace him is to elect Sharon Labchuk. Automatically a whole lot of very arrogant fellows would become much more careful about environmental destruction. In a flash they would be a little more afraid than they are right now. This is a chance to do something very good for the Island.Vote Green in District 12.

    July 29, 2011 - 07:17

    these two "BASKET CASES"-----will both lose if there is a real choice offered by another party

  • Head in Hands....
    July 29, 2011 - 07:05

    Wake up everyone!! Environmental issues need to be at the forefront right now. This is a toxic Island. Ever wonder why the rates of cancer and respiratory related illness is so high here? Do you notice how the rivers are dying? Do you enjoy toxins on your dinner plate? I don't agree that Ms. Labchuk is a "headline hunter" at all. Sharon is well spoken, knowledgeable and has her priorities in the right order.

  • Larry
    July 29, 2011 - 07:04

    At least Sharon has courage to put her name on a ballot unlike the trolls on here who criticize her and are too gutless to leave their real name.

  • Head in Hands....
    July 29, 2011 - 06:49

    Wake up everyone!! Environmental issues need to be at the forefront right now. This is a toxic Island. Ever wonder why the rates of cancer and respiratory related illness is so high here? Do you notice how the rivers are dying? Do you enjoy toxins on your dinner plate? I don't agree that Ms. Labchuk is a "headline hunter" at all. Sharon is well spoken, knowledgeable and has her priorities in the right order.

    July 29, 2011 - 06:16

    Brown Said "I’ll put my record against Sharon Labchuk’s record anytime,” “We’ve met our environmental targets eight years earlier than planned.” Dear Mr. Brown, shredding your obligations is not the same as Manning up, and doing the right thing. You just tossed out responsibility and changed it with denial. If by doing that, you feel like you no longer have problems to worry about, then fine. I guess in your convoluted mind you can sleep at night thinking that. However most Islanders are loosing sleep because the state of our environment is much much worse BECAUSE of you. You failed to step in when you should and you seem to allow the sewage to flow and fish to die without any real commitments since you stepped in. So if this was your target, Congrats!! Take your Communities in Bloom Award and go back to LA LA land.

  • Yep
    July 28, 2011 - 21:03

    Why anyone listens to labchuk anymore is beyond me. Ban all pesticides? Doom every farmer and golf course on the island and ruin the economy. It would be nice if pesticides were unnessesary but they aren't.

  • Thomas Trappenberg
    July 28, 2011 - 20:34

    While Richard Brown said he’s looking forward to the fight, I am sure that Sharon Labchuk is a true Green and despises fights. We also don't need to fight since Greens have better arguments. Also, Sharon lives for the environment and is not only talking about it. I so much hope that people wake up and don't give these old-type politicians blindly their vote. Greens have been elected in several provinces in Germany and have created new sustainable industries for which many benefit and not just make a few richer by exploiting our environment. Wake up folks.

    • Yep
      July 28, 2011 - 21:36

      LMAO Been elected in several provinces in germany huh? That has alot to do with whats going on here. Labchuk relies of sheeple like you.

  • scott
    July 28, 2011 - 19:49

    Will Labchuk's campaign pictures feature her naked? God I hope not. The woman needs to give up, she has zero credibility.

    • bolezhinkov
      July 29, 2011 - 22:09

      its more likely that you just disagree with the evidence she presents.

    July 28, 2011 - 19:24

    This riding will require a new ballot form with a column marked NONE OF THE ABOVE. A stuffed Teddy Bear could beat Richard and is probably more capable and Sharon appears to not notice that the Hippie Generation has not been around for 40 years.

  • Green
    July 28, 2011 - 19:19

    I would love to see Sharon give that Richard Brown a real run for his money. But I also wish Sharon would work behind the scenes and let some pretty face be out there running. People just don't see her as credible even though she has a wealth of knowledge and a sincere concern for people and the environment. Best of luck, Sharon.

  • Grabbing the headline again
    July 28, 2011 - 16:29

    This lady seems more interested in grabbing headlines than actually doing anything credible. Why should I, a resident of the 12th district, vote for a one issue person from way out in the country. If you are not willing to run where you live why bother us with your egoism and headline hunting. She'll be lucky to get a 100 votes! hopefully the guardian will not turn this campaign into a side show. She is a fringe candidate!

  • Rob Mac
    July 28, 2011 - 16:24

    As dismal as Brown's environmental track record is. There is no way a CFA will get more votes than one of the good ole boys. This is PEI remember.

  • Sandra Boswell
    July 28, 2011 - 15:11

    I believe Sharon is a very smart lady. Like myself she has spent decades trying to create an awareness of toxic pesticides. I have been lobbying, across Canada against pesticides, and how sick these toxic chemicals are making our people. Media need to focus more on what local environmentals are doing to try to bring attention to this toxic devasation. Richard and Sharon are politicians now. I believe Sharon has a lot of support behind her. She may give Richard Brown a run for a seat. What really does a seat in the Legislature mean any more? Government always quit listening after they've become elected. We haven't had a caring minister of the environment since Chester Gillian and Jamie Ballem. They at least included the public and their opinions. This government is so insecure and arrogrant they don't even take phone calls. And they sure don't want any opinions on anything. Good luck getting reelected guys. Where is Jamie Ballem?

  • fitzroyneighbor
    July 28, 2011 - 15:01

    we i hope little richard YOU put some of his friends pnp money away.. i voted for mr.pnp everytime he ran and this time I WILL NO VOTE FOR HIM.RICHARD you became as ARROGANT AS YOUR LEADER ROBERT GHIZ. it is hard to belive you came from kings square. i hope you get defeated by a landslide.

  • Bruce Mac Isaac
    July 28, 2011 - 14:35

    I think that if Sharon wants to show that she is serious about running for this position , that she should be able to show what she has done and what her abilities are. I think that it would be very interesting to see what she has ever done in any official level or capacity. It is easy to complain and whine , you can get that at any coffee shop, So if Sharon please provide us with some information of your abilities that would be useful as an MLA in District 12.

    • Hey Bruce
      July 28, 2011 - 20:33

      I agree with Bruce. Ms. Labchuk spends a lot of time publically banging her environmental drum, but there is more to running a province than just the environment. What knowledge and skills does she have surrounding health, education, industry, finance, and making or revising law? I can't think of a single accomplishment to show she is worthy of my vote. On the other hand, I could say the same of Richard Brown.

  • dm
    July 28, 2011 - 14:19

    everyone in that district is looking for a hand out, they don't care about the environment, just like the rest of pei and the world

  • Vonlevander
    July 28, 2011 - 14:12

    It’ll be very interesting to hear Brown explain this record he’s so proud of, which seems to include poisoning soil, water and food with chemicals, killing off wildlife, habitat destruction, blowing up dams, sewage spill-over, groundwater contamination, being at the back of the bus on public transit, and negligible support for local and organic farming or sustainable energy. I’m looking forward to hearing how this government’s 1950s-era notion of environmental issues even remotely matches his own department’s stated mission and vision of PEI being a “green” province. If Brown is looking forward to debating Labchuk, I can’t wait. He’s WAY out of his league. But at least he might tell us which industries are lobbying and funding his government.

  • haha
    July 28, 2011 - 14:09

    Labchuk says she's all for the environment but it was her that used a banned pesticide to "see if she would get fined"...some morals...

    • bolezhinkov
      July 29, 2011 - 22:07

      it was corn gluten. a natural product with no hazardous effects. you do not understand what was happening.

  • just for laughs
    July 28, 2011 - 14:08

    really... this should be on national TV - Only Richard Brown could make Lapchuck credible

  • Tops
    July 28, 2011 - 14:02

    She'll be lucky to get 300 votes-only thing is maybe a strong tory candidate might give him a run if she can take enough votes

    • Debby Hennessey
      July 28, 2011 - 17:37

      Does anyone know how a huge pit is allowed to be dug in a sand dune at West St.Peters???There is a cottage being built where the dune once stood in its' majestic glory !!!!!!! This is not a good thing :(

  • Conroy
    July 28, 2011 - 12:50

    I sincerely hope Sharon Labchuk defeats Richard Brown in the election. The people of the downtown Charlottetown riding of District 12 have a chance to do a great thing in October. They can give the Greens a chance to show their stuff in the Legislature and they can throw out Richard Brown, a man richly deserving of defeat for turning his back on his own voters and becoming a patsy for the pro-elite manipulations- PNP, Energy Accord, etc.- of the Ghiz Fifth Floor. Carrying on with Richard Brown as MLA does three unfortunate things- adds a Liberal seat to the Ghiz total, rewards an undeserving MLA who serves Brightonites over downtowners and less wealthy Islanders, and skips a chance to actually do something about the environment esp. stopping the poisoning of fish. people, pets, etc. Let's give Labchuk a chance. Let's do something Islanders. Let's stop being so destructively traditional in our politics. BTW Donnie--- Imported " radical ' environmentalists is a backward and xenophobic phrase to use. Follow world events much? Anyhow I guess your point typifies the central problem of PEI politics- a fierce resistance to change combined with a preference for local fools over people who actually make sense with what they are saying.

    • Really
      July 28, 2011 - 21:30

      Make sense with what they're saying? Have you heard labchuk say she wants to ban all pesticides but hasn't mentioned anything about how they would carry on preventing disease and weeds. Nobody wants to spray that stuff but until a better option is available it's not reasonable.

  • Noname
    July 28, 2011 - 12:31

    I'm going to stock up on popcorn, the antics that will come out of this during the election should be very entertaining.

  • Donnie
    July 28, 2011 - 12:13

    I think Red Sands should allow betting on the outcome of this money's on the candidate running against Labchuk, or even better his equivilent Tory clone....Imported "radical" envioromentalists don't seem to be the strong candidate...