PICTOU: Barry Randle is the voice for the Green Party in Central Nova.
Originally born in England, Randle immigrated to St. Catharines, Ontario in 1982, when he was 12-years-old, becoming a citizen at the age of 16. After living in B.C. for 18 years, he made the move to Pictou County where he fell in love with the area.
For the past eight years, Randle, along with his wife, have been the owner-operators of Stone Soup Cafe and Catering and he also teaches adult education at the local community college for the Pictou County Continuous Learning Association.
“We’re facing some really big decisions around here, in fact globally, because of the climate crisis, and we really need to start putting the environment at the forefront rather than it being second, third, fourth down the list,” he told The Reporter. “Because our ecology is entirely coming apart, and without ecology, you cannot have economy.”
A former NDP member, Randle has been involved with the Green Party of Canada for over 10 years, first volunteering with the campaign to elect Elizabeth May in Central Nova in 2008, and later becoming the CEO of the riding association.
“I’ve been involved with the Green Party since we moved here and I just felt this time was my time to step up and practice what I preach,” he said. “Unfortunately, the problems are more dire today than they were in 2008. If we were listened to more back then, we would be better off now than we are, so we’re kind of scrambling to catch up.”
For Randle, who has a background in environmental activism, the climate crisis is the number one thing that needs to be dealt with and Indigenous reconciliation goes hand-in-hand with that. Also on his agenda is fixing the depleted healthcare system, access to pharmacare, and dealing with social justice issues around equality, including economic equality.
“People need to be able to stop worrying about are they going to pay the rent, or are they going to pay for food, are they going to pay for heat, or are they going to pay for their medications,” he said. “These issues are not the conversations that we need to have every month, we have to make sure that stuff is basically taken care of.”
This time around, Randle believes people are much more willing to actually talk about the possibility of having a Green representative in Ottawa.
“Certainly, we moved from being a fringe element to basically being the third party here in Atlantic Canada. Our voices are being heard, our policies are being adopted by other parties, it seems like everything we put forward gets picked up by the other parties and ran with – which is great, it’s exactly what we want,” he said. “People are more willing to talk about change and maybe doing things a little bit differently this time because we’ve been back-and-forth and back-and-forth and nothing seems to get better.”
Having the Greens form the official opposition on P.E.I. has been a huge boom to the federal campaigns as well, Randle added.
“The only way to break out of a rut it try going in a different direction.”