Bridget Doherty: making poverty history

Introducing the candidates for Kingston and the Islands

Doherty says climate change is the most pressing issue.
Doherty says climate change is the most pressing issue.

To Bridget Doherty, Green Party candidate for Kingston and the Islands, being a member of the provincial parliament (MPP) would mean more than an office in Queen’s Park.

“I consider this a community position,” she said.

Her first task, if elected, would be to develop a relationship with other organizations and institutions in Kingston. Strong working relationships are necessary for improving the quality of life in Kingston for adults, seniors and kids, she said.

“The first thing I want to do is get together with all the stakeholders in the community, the mayor and the federal leader,” she said.

Although working with those stakeholders to create green, sustainable jobs in Kingston is on the top of her to-do list, Doherty said health care funding is the most important issue in the city right now.

“I have to say I was aware of this issue, but not aware of just how critical this issue is,” she said. “The number one issue is to get funding for our Kingston General Hospital, to get the same funding that other teaching hospitals get.” In addition to funds for the hospital itself, Doherty said Kingston faces funding shortages for paying doctors and nurses—something she would make it a priority to address if elected.

Health care, however, is just one of many issues facing Kingston at the moment.

“There are long-term issues like climate change and the shortage of funding in our education system,” she said, adding that local poverty is also a crucial issue to be addressed.

As a stay-at-home mother for three young children, Doherty said she recognizes that climate change, education and poverty really matter not only for today but for future generations of Kingstonians and Ontarians.

“We need to start to really act on these issues,” she said. “We’ve known, for example, about climate change for the past 20 years and so little has been done.” Climate change is the most pressing issue at the broader provincial and federal level, Doherty said.

“Climate change is the issue we need to act on now,” she said.

“The first thing we need to do, we need to give the financial support that’s needed to the Ministry of the Environment,” she said, adding that without proper funding, the ministry can’t check on industries throughout the province to ensure they are being environmentally friendly.

“We need to conserve through innovation and through better practices in industries and at home,” she said. “We need to get renewable energy.” Although making the changes would be costly, she said, those changes are very much necessary.

“The costs of not dealing with it far, far outnumber the costs associated with dealing with it,” Doherty said.

Doherty has been a member of the Green Party for four years, working on the Kingston Greens executive for the past two. She has also been active in the fight against the Lafarge rubber-tire incinerator in Bath.

Before that, Doherty was an advocate for funding for the long-term unemployed to assist them in training and job-finding, something she would like to return to if elected.

“I want to get together with … the Make Poverty History task force and other poverty NGOs to discuss how we can really seriously make poverty history here in Kingston,” she said. “I want to get involved with the other organizations and institutions that need a strong and dedicated leadership.”

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