A woman from southeastern Manitoba is hoping to become the next leader of the Green Party of Manitoba.

Janine Gibson lives on a solar-powered co-op farm south of Steinbach. Her name will be on the ballot in the online vote taking place between March 13th and 23rd.

Gibson is no stranger to elections, having run in seven federal elections and three provincial elections.

Gibson grew up in Springfield and after stops in Toronto and Los Angeles, she came back to rural Manitoba and has been living on her farm for the last 30 years. Through her business, Creative Health Consulting, Gibson works with organic farmers across Manitoba and Canada.

"Not a lot of people understand agriculture and my whole life has been involved in agriculture," she says. "So, I want to bring that front and centre to holding government and businesses accountable to ensuring that we have the water and the soil necessary to feed future generations."

Gibson admits that one of the main reasons she is running is to use the opportunity to get people out to the Clean Environment Commission public hearings on the silica sand extraction project being proposed near Vivian.

"The threat they are putting to our drinking water," says Gibson. "All the livestock operations, all our rural communities in southeast Manitoba need clean drinking water and we just can't afford to risk that on some out-of-province company that wants to make money on our beautiful pristine sand and water."

Gibson says another one of her priorities is to get more young people voting and involved in the democratic process, letting them know they do have a voice.

"We need to have diversity," she says. "So many people are jaded about what's happening in politics. And I think that is because so many politicians follow the dollars, not following what's best for the greater good and what's best for future generations."

Gibson says the Green Party of Manitoba talks about fiscal responsibility. She adds there is not enough activism protecting a form of agriculture that respects our soil and water system. 

The Green Party of Manitoba has never had a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). Gibson says in order for that to happen, it is going to take more and more people being active and knowing they can make a difference by getting involved in local concerns. She notes a lot of good education work can still take place, even if the party does not have an MLA.

"But we are going to do our very best to get those concerned about the quality of life, quality of water, quality of soil, quality of income, guaranteed minimum income," she says. "Different ways that we can look at making sure that we can lessen some of the suffering that poverty is causing in our communities."

Gibson, who lives in La Verendrye, says her plan is to run for the seat in that constituency in the next provincial election.

Also entered in the March vote are Dennis Bayomi, Donovan McIntosh, and Nicolas Geddert. Visit www.greenparty.mb.ca for more details.