Candidate understands plight of middle class 0
Green Party candidate Jace Metheral has been busy since graduating from university last May.
"I'm getting my feet wet pretty quick," said the 22-year-old.
The youngest candidate in the Simcoe-Grey race ran for Ward three councillor in Clearview last fall, works during the day making deliveries for Creemore Springs Brewery, in the evening is on call as a volunteer firefighter, and is the volunteer director for Ray's Place, a youth centre in Creemore which helps adolescents achieve their career goals.
He also got engaged last month to Jessica Claire, his high school sweetheart.
Metheral studied political science and history at Laurentian University through the Georgian College bridge program. He said he almost did not attend university and wished something like Ray's Place had existed when he was finishing high school.
Metheral said he wanted to go to Carlton University, but he could not afford to move to Ottawa for school.
"I understand the plight of the lower and middle class, that's for sure, because I'm one of them," he said.
Metheral grew up on a farm outside of Dunedin. When asked what he was going to be when he grew up, the answer was a sure one: he was going to be Prime Minister.
"I've always had an interest in politics," said Metheral, adding he remembers excitedly watching the news on election night before he even knew what was going on.
"It really affirmed itself when I went on my Grade 8 trip to Ottawa - I walked into the House of Commons and my eyes lit up," he said.
"Everybody, I think, wants to do something great with their lives, they want to leave a legacy," he said, adding he wants to do something better for Canada.
Metheral said he originally intended on running as an independent candidate and thought of the Green Party as a one-issue party and "a bunch of tree-huggers," until he met with Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schriener.
"He just opened my eyes to all these things that they stand for," said Metheral. He said it was an epiphany when he realized he fit into the Green Party.
Metheral said every paper he wrote in university related in some way to Canadian democratic reform.
"Whether that be electoral reform or moving away from an appointed senate and non-elected individuals influencing legislature," he said. "That's immediately what drew me to the Green Party."
Metheral said he also supports the party's stance on building strong local economies.
"I've had to live through a situation where I sat on the tractor with my dad when I was 10 or 12 years old and he had to look at me and say, 'This isn't for you, you can do so much better. Don't be a farmer - it has no future.'"
Metheral's father has a degree in animal science.
"He's good at what he does and loves what he does, but for him to not want to take pride in what he does, that needs to be reversed."
The Green Party's stance on building strong local economies begins with small business and family farms.
"We need to start supporting these businesses that are essentially the backbone of our economy," said Metheral.
"With farmers it starts with fair trade deals that actually support our local businesses," he said. "Local farms are stuck in these, what I call, one-size-fits-all regulations that really put a damper on them and don't let them move forward."
He said the government should be rewarding farmers for stewardship instead of punishing them for what they do not do.
Metheral points out more than 60% of his generation, people between 18 and 24, did not vote in the 2008 federal election.
"A lot of my time has been spent between 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. going into pubs and bars and trying to get these kids to vote and saying 'Hey, here's your chance - you don't have to vote for me, but actually get out there and vote'."
He said he would like to think they are going to vote for him. "I'm actually taking the initiative to listen to what they want done."
He said another draw of the Green Party is having freedom and not being expected to "toe the party line."
He said his main goal is electoral reform.
"Then we can start seeing these great green ideas coming to fruition within the House of Commons and influencing legislature."
Metheral quoted John Stuart Mill: "The majority shall never tyrannize the minority. And right now the Green party is being tyrannized in that they have no representation in the House of Commons."