The Green Party of Canada recently announced that Lacombe resident Les Parsons has been nominated and will represent the riding of Wetaskiwin in the upcoming federal election to be held on Tuesday, Oct. 14.
A veteran of five federal political campaigns including a run at the Vegreville-Lloydminster riding under Joe Clark’s Progressive Conservatives (PC), Parsons has also thrown is hat into the ring as a candidate for the Green Party in a Quebec riding in the previous two elections and is currently the party’s Fitness and Sport critic.
“After leaving the PCs following their merger with the Reform Alliance – a move that resulted in near-sighted economic fixes over policies for long-term, sustainable development, I joined the Green Party in 2004,” Parsons said of switching political colours adding that the feedback he has received from riding voters indicates the time is now for real and lasting changes and to make history by electing the first-ever federal Green Party candidate.
Parsons has also gained notoriety in another ring – that being the sporting world and is well known as the personal trainer for cross-country skier and Olympic gold medalist Becky Scott.
Born and raised on his family farm just outside of Lacombe, Parsons still resides there and continues to farm and raise cattle. After graduating from the University of Alberta where he was a leader in student government, Parsons spent 15 years as a teacher and coach at Lakeland College in Vermilion. For the past six years he has resided in rural Quebec where he learned the French language while coaching many of Canada’s top cross-country skiers.
“My greatest concern is for the state of the world that we will leave to our children and our grandchildren. The Green Party is the only political party that offers real hope through real change for a better tomorrow for all Canadians,” he said when asked why he is running for the Green Party. “I am running for Canada’s future, to offer my political leadership to provide a long-term sustainable alternative to the Conservative Party, who offer only short-term economic-profit politics, that have resulted in the reality of our economic crises. The Conservative and Liberal policies over the past 30 years have continued to erode the quality of life and well-being of all middle class Canadians, while widening the gap between our rich and the poor.”
A seasoned worldwide traveler and devote humanitarian, Parsons has toured developing nations extensively and has worked with a number of charitable organizations including one operated by the late Mother Teresa which, he said, has given him a firsthand understanding of global issues and international development.
He has also worked as a wilderness river canoe guide during the summer months over the past 20 years leading expeditions across the Canadian Arctic and continues to lend his leadership skills to several community volunteer organizations.
“My passion and motivation to be elected is driven by three main causes: to help provide a better balance and quality of life for the Canadian family; to help ease the suffering of poor people, and; to help protect the environment,” Parsons said. “My experiences across Canada and living around the world have resulted in my decision to become a Member of Parliament who will make a difference in Canada and our country’s role in our world.”
As for his party’s policies, Parsons said it revolves around five key points including changing the status quo and bringing real change through the Green Party; bringing an understanding of the practical and real importance of protecting the environment to Parliament Hill while balancing the prosperity of the people who live, work and raise their family in this riding; the leadership of Elizabeth May, who Parsons said, “offers a realistic message of hope with her clear vision for Canada’s future”; the prospects of real change to ensure the protection of the quality of life of voters in rural Alberta and across the country, and bringing a different prospective – one of a resident of rural Canada, to the table.
“Ottawa is far removed from the reality of rural Albertans, who feel neglected by the federal government,” Parsons concluded. “Rural citizens feel that their concerns are not an important priority, compared to Ottawa’s big business focus on the Bay Street corporations in Toronto. There is no acceptable reason why the 20 smaller communities throughout the Wetaskiwin riding shouldn’t be thriving.”