When Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich‑Gulf Islands) announced that Lorraine Rekmans was to be the Green Party of Canada candidate in the Leeds‑Grenville‑Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes by‑election on December 3, here was response from all those who know here that the Party had picked the right person for the job.
A tireless advocate for Canada’s First Nations peoples, Lorraine has been the party’s Indigenous Affairs critic since 2008. She is an expert on natural resources issues, having served as Executive Director of the National Aboriginal Forestry Association. She also co‑chaired an international dialogue on forestry at the United Nations Forum on Forests, and helped organize the World Forestry Congress in Quebec City. She helped write a number of international declarations including the Indigenous Peoples Declaration on Forestry, which was submitted at the World Forestry Congress in 2003. Lorraine is newly elected (in October) to the Board of Directors for Forest Stewardship Council of Canada.
“I believe that we have to live within our means,” said Lorraine. “We can’t take more from the planet than the planet can sustain. We must be stewards of the earth. I joined the Greens because the party’s principles align with my personal principles and ethics and because we need climate action now.”
Lorraine’s background as a member of the Serpent River First nation has also given her a great deal of experience in activism on ecological issues. Her home community was seriously impacted by the mining of uranium in the Elliott Lake region, upstream from the Serpent River community. And a factory producing sulphuric acid, which was located on the reserve lands, and was later demolished by the Canadian military using explosives, contaminated even more of the lands and led to a long campaign, in which Lorraine was heavily involved, to publicise and try to reverse the effects of the mining and factory.
Lorraine ran as Green Party of Canada candidate in the local riding in which Serpent River is located, Algoma‑Manitoulin‑Kapuskasing, in 2008 and 2011 and in Leeds‑Grenville‑Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes in 2015. She is the recipient of The Rosalie Bertell Award for outstanding service in the field of environmental health, from the International Institute of Concern for Public Health.
The Leader of the Green Party of Canada, Elizabeth May, commented: “I have worked with Lorraine since I first met her as Executive Director of National Aboriginal Forestry Association and have admired her devotion ever since to her family, her people and the party,” said Ms. May. “She has been an inspiration to everyone at the Green Party of Canada.”
Lorraine and her husband, Gerry, own Rekmans Automotive just outside Kemptville, operating it with their sons as a family-friendly business. Her involvement in the North Grenville community was underlined in 2015, when Lorraine also represented the Green Party in that year’s federal election.
As issues such as climate change become more and more of a crisis, and no longer blindly denied by governments around the world, and as the need for sustainable, equitable, and realistic measures to enable us to continue to live on this planet, the Green Party is, once again, speaking out. With a long record of activism and campaigning for environmental and social change, the Greens have earned your trust and support. Lorraine Rekmans has the experience, skills and energy needed to represent the people of this riding in the House of Commons.