The new leader of the Green Party of Manitoba admits she has taken on a big responsibility. Janine Gibson, who lives south of Steinbach, was elected the party's new leader on Sunday.

"I am excited and humbled at the confidence expressed in my leadership during these challenging times," says Gibson, who is the party's first newly elected leader since 2008, replacing James Beddome. "I have much gratitude to James for his dedication and perseverance as a model for us all."

Through her business, Creative Health Consulting, Gibson works with organic farmers across Manitoba and Canada. She admits that for her, political work is both anger management and pain management. Gibson says she has endured serious pain issues most of her adult life, which only motivates her that much more. 

"(To) work hard for the kind of responsibility that I think we really need to be fulfilling for each other and for this miraculous creation that we find ourselves part of," adds Gibson.

Gibson says she likes to challenge government and industry to truly love their neighbour.

"I see too much abuse of our environment, too many people putting profits before people and the wonderful aspects of life," she adds.

Gibson says there is a Bible verse in Matthew that she holds close to her heart, which is 'whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' Gibson says she thinks that can include taking care of the soil, land and water. In fact, Gibson admits that one of the main reasons she ran for the position of leader, 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.

"I don't see government making good decisions that benefit communities in the long run," she adds. "I see Manitobans suffering and I want to do everything I can to help people stand up and demand the change that we need."

Gibson says she wants to encourage people to stand up for what they believe in and one of her goals is for a higher voter turnout and to have a Green Party candidate in all 57 electoral districts in Manitoba. 

She is no stranger to elections, having run in seven federal elections and three provincial elections. Gibson, who lives in La Verendrye, says her plan is to run for the seat in that constituency in the next provincial election.

In accepting her position, Gibson announced her intent to appoint all three of her competitors to offices as deputy leaders and shadow ministers. They are Dennis Bayomi, Donovan McIntosh and Nicolas Geddert. 

With files from Michelle Sawatzky