Why are you the most qualified person to represent this region?
Hailing from Val-d’Or, Patrick Benoît says that he has led a diverse life with a career history that covers health-care work as a paramedic to 10 years in the military dealing with everything from environmental disasters to combat zones. So when it comes to helping those in need, the 44-year-old is worldly, hard-working and experienced.
While this is his first foray into politics, Benoît said his inexperience could actually be an advantage because he is without the bad habits of seasoned politicians.
“I am honest, I am hard-working and I am really there to help the people,” said Benoît.
“They come before me.”
What could your party do for the region? And why is it the best choice?
“I would be very present as an MP, going into all of the communities to visit each Band Council Office to discuss what is important to them. I am the kind of person who likes being close to people and I want like to help,” said Benoît.
Benoît said the Green Party is the only party that will ensure that there is a balance between the economy and the environment when it comes to northern development and this is important. He said he would do everything by the book to ensure that the rights of First Nations are recognized and that mining and other natural resource development does not destroy all of the land and that the land that does get developed is restored once the development is over.
“We want to make sure that First Nations are given their fair share of employment in those natural resource development industry jobs,” said Benoît.
“Speaking of First Nations, we would also ensure that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is honoured and ensure that a full inquiry is launched regarding Canada’s high rate of missing and murdered Indigenous women.”
In terms of education, Benoît said the Greens would make sure that all of Canada’s Indigenous people would have access to quality education that would be culturally appropriate.
What specifically could you do for the Cree?
“I acknowledge the vital importance of the mining industry. We support mining where it does no lasting harm to the environment and the ecosystems that living things rely on. Mining is necessary and mining can be destructive, but greener mining is possible.
“The Green Party of Canada believes it is possible to extract minerals for human use with minimal harm to the environment and other species. But I will vigorously oppose the permitting of any new uranium mines and notify current uranium-permit holders of plans to phase out this industry in Canada, including exports,” said Benoît.
Is there anything else?
“I will have to learn about the people in this region. Meet them and greet them.
There is a difference between knowing what to do and then actually taking the initiative to do what needs to be done. I want to be the one who will do what needs to be done to help them. Of course, I will need to know what has to be done first and while Canada has done a lot of research on this, I don’t feel that it has really taken the necessary steps to do this or to help them.
“While we have spent a lot money and pay a lot of attention to what goes on in Africa and the Middle East, we have forgotten that in Canada’s north there are people in need. So we need to place as much effort as possible on helping them. I don’t think that it is normal to have people in the north who are in need,” said Benoît.