Newcomer to the city Joy Lachica is running as the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate for the Peterborough-Kawartha riding. She replaces previous NDP candidate Candace Shaw. A teacher by training, Lachica has worked with teachers’ unions to support workers, students, and families’ experiences with the Ontario public education system.
Peterborough Currents spoke with Lachica ahead of the September 20 election to discuss how she came into her political career, what her platform is focused on, and why she chose the NDP. Listen to the interview or read the interview transcript below.
Peterborough Currents: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about why you’re running to be MP for Peterborough-Kawartha?
Joy Lachica: I have been an activist and advocate, and a politician for quite some time. And our paths take certain turns and twists, and I’m just so pleased that mine has landed here right now.
So, my background, I started out as a French teacher, and I’ve been an occasional teacher and I’ve been a contract teacher with a couple of school boards. Most recently, my employer is the Toronto District School Board.
I decided in 2015– well, funding formulas have been broken since the [Premier Mike] Harris years. But I started to see things slipping away with Liberal and Conservative governments. We had Bill 115, where we had our collective agreement rights squashed, and the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (EFTO) has been involved in a lot of action around that over the years and up to the present. And so I realized at that time, that there’s a whole lot more to education politics than just being in the classroom.
And I really saw that the labor movement and the rights for education workers are really the rights that our community and our students have. Because, what we fight for in a school environment is what’s best for kids and what’s best for families is what’s best for the community. So, I really got connected to the labor movement.
My heart has shifted from education to what we need to fight for today, which is climate change, fighting for the planet, and also fighting for measures that are safe and healthy as we face a fourth wave with the Delta variant.
PC: Tell me about the most important parts of your platform and what you’re trying to push in this election.
JL: I’ve been fighting for climate action for quite some time… and so that is the piece that is so essential, because with all the things that we’re fighting for in this federal election, if we don’t have a planet, we have nothing left to fight for. So that is my driving motivation for participating and becoming a candidate in this election.
For the NDP, our frustration is that the federal government and Justin Trudeau, for the last six years, has not kept up with The Paris [Agreement] targets. And the mechanisms have not been in place. And what we’re seeing is the fact that we are behind many other places in the world, where they have begun to make a transition to a clean economy, to a green economy. And the Liberal government hasn’t been able to do that. And we know that the NDP has got a coordinated, established, well deciphered set of mechanisms in place to meet the targets for 2030.
When we see the forest fires from sea to sea, and when we know that there’s drought in the west, like we’ve never seen before, we have to move now; and we have to have a plan. The NDP has that plan. And I’m so thrilled to be a candidate to be able to participate in this.
PC: How and when did you first get involved with the NDP and what’s exciting you about the party, the NDP platform and Jagmeet Singh right now?
JL: I’ve been an NDP voter for quite some time before I became more formally involved with the party. I did help out a lot on campaigns and foot canvases as a volunteer and all of that sort of thing.
Back in 2018, a friend and colleague asked, “Joy, would you consider running?” It wasn’t the right time, but I’ve always had it in the back of my head the next time will be the time. I’ve just been talking to my family, talking to good friends, talking to my colleagues where I’ve come from, and also talking to my new family of friends here. This is just the time to be able to bring Peterborough–Kawartha’s voice to Ottawa, so I hope that you’ll look for my name on the ballot and vote Joy Lachica.
This interview was edited for clarity and length. Joy Lachica was interviewed alongside the other five candidates running in Peterborough–Kawartha, listen to all the interviews here.