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Candidate Profile TB-Atikokan: Eric Arner (Green)

Arner says he's in it, not for himself, but for the people of the riding.
Eric Arner
Eric Arner Green Party of Ontario candidate for Thunder Bay-Atikokan

THUNDER BAY – Eric Arner is running for the Green Party of Ontario in Thunder Bay-Atikokan, his first foray into provincial politics.

Arner originally reached out to find out ways he could help the party in the election when he was offered the candidacy.

“I had looked into becoming a volunteer and just taking part and I’ve always voted, sometimes signed petitions, and I’ve sent letters to MPs and MPPs. I feel like there’s a lot we can do to take part and make a difference. And so I was contacting the Green party and they said, sure you can help out, do you want to be a candidate?” said Arner.

“And after thinking about it for a bit, there are a lot of reasons that I really wanted to get involved and take part and be able to spread the Green Party message.”

Arner, a high school teacher says that his experience has shown him firsthand the effects of mental health issues and learning gaps made only worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and that’s why mental health and education are important issues to him.

“The Green Party is known for environmental issues but they’re also making a really big push to have mental health including in OHIP coverage so that it’s available to everyone and we know that with the pandemic, that anxiety and stress and all kinds of other mental health issues have really been exacerbated lately,” said Arner.

“I actually went through some very stressful times myself recently being a teacher and a dad, seeing my kids struggling with online learning and I just thought, well that would be great if more people had the means and were able to get medical attention without having to pay for it out of pocket because even if you have coverage, it's really hard to get an appointment to get in somewhere. The system is overwhelmed.”

Arner also says that, like many Northwestern Ontario residents, he too feels as if his issues are going unnoticed at Queen’s Park.

“That is one of the reasons I got involved as well because I know myself and other people I’ve been talking to when we’ve been out canvassing, it’s just so true that once all those people meet down in Toronto, they seem to forget about how big and how far away we are up here and our issues are different,” said Arner.

“We need people up here who are a strong voice. So, I think our incumbent has been a strong voice and has done a good job, I just wanted to get involved and get out there and listen to people and hear what they wanted me to say on behalf of them.

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