EDITOR’S NOTE: These are the final profiles of candidates in our series
Kevin Shaw has mixed emotions about the Ontario election.
The Petrolia man is representing the Green Party in Sarnia-Lambton for the second time. In 2014, he garnered 2,106 votes – about 4.6 per cent of voter turnout. And in the hotly contested 2018 election, Shaw knows his chances of becoming the next MPP are not good.
“The odds are stacked against me,” he concedes over coffee at the Petrolia Farmers’ Market one cool Saturday morning. “But I want to win as much, or more, than any of the other candidates.
“I really strongly believe what the Green Party is trying to do.”
When the party first appeared on the scene, many people didn’t want to talk about things like climate change or environmental problems. Now, when Shaw knocks on the doors people understand why the Greens are so passionate about creating a sustainable province.
“Most people, no matter what their political stripe, notice the weather is changing,” he says. And Shaw says many are surprised to see the party isn’t just about the environment but has a plan for every provincial issue. “People are tired of political decisions being made for big business. The Green Party is more supportive of small businesses and local communities.”
Shaw also wants to look at the big picture of job creation. As a teacher, he knows there are fewer students in the classroom and the ones who do graduate aren’t coming back to Sarnia-Lambton because they can’t find a job.
Shaw says the area has done “very well with oil and gas” in the past but the Green Party wants to encourage the creation of green jobs.
“If we want our kids to be around, we need to create jobs and industries for the next generation. We have to look at the big picture.”
Shaw – who has a business creating sports websites for school boards across the province – also understands the frustrations of entrepreneurs. He worked on the program on his off time, often starting when his kids went to bed and working into the wee hours. When he started selling the product and bringing in revenue he was excited. Then he got his income taxes done and found out how much of his revenue was being taken in taxes. “I was thinking, ‘why am I putting in all this work at the end of the day?’”
Shaw says the Green Party doesn’t want to tax ingenuity and plans to shift taxes away from income to consumption taxes.
Shaw’s ardent support of the Green Platform is shared. Pundits are speculating that for the first time, a Green Party member may win a seat – the leader Mike Schierer could take his Guelph riding and has been endorsed by a number of newspapers.
Shaw is realistic, knowing he likely won’t join him which, in at least one way, won’t be a bad thing. Shaw has a young family and admits that was one of the more difficult aspects of running. “It is something I struggle with, but what I’m doing I value; but the kids grow up so fast and I don’t want to miss this…But I wouldn’t be running if I had not thought about what might happen.”
If he is unable to gain the Sarnia-Lambton seat Thursday, Shaw may have some explaining to do to his son, who figured if dad was the MPP he might see a few more Blue Jay games.