The Leader’s Debate 2.0

The Old Boys’ Club is at it again. Elizabeth May has been denied entry into the televised leaders’ debates.

What kind of democracy excludes a party with the support of one million of its citizens?

What kind of democracy allows a handful of TV executives to decide that a party that only runs candidates in one province has more right to be in a national leaders’ debate than a party with candidates in every riding?

In the last election, your voices won Elizabeth her rightful place in the debates. We can’t believe that we have to ask you to rally on her behalf yet again. But we do.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Text EMAYIN to 79999;
  • Attend a rally in your area (Toronto April 7, Montreal April 8, Halifax April 9, Hamilton April 10, Vancouver April 11);
  • Send a text message to the Chair of the Media Consortium, Mr. Troy Reeb of Global TV at 647-261-3752;
  • Email the news directors at CBC, CTV, Global, and TVA;
  • Contribute to the legal fund to help the Green Party fight the good fight;
  • Email the party leaders: Stephen Harper, Jack Layton, Michael Ignatieff, and Gilles Duceppe;
  • Tweet your feelings: use hashtag #EMayIn;
  • Post a link to the petition to demand democratic debates on your facebook page;
  • Spread the word any other way you can. 

We did it in 2008 – let’s do it in 2011!

Vote Compass has a few things wrong.

The Vote Compass survey on cbc.ca has a few Green policies very wrong. FOR INSTANCE:

It states that we are not in favour of reducing the federal deficit. We are strongly in favour of reducing the federal deficit and regard the spending of the Harper government as irresponsible.

On daycare, it says we are strongly in favour of a government-funded and determined model. We support a national daycare program that balances state-funded daycares with family-centred programs.

About taxes, it says we think that wealthy people should pay less tax. This is not our policy.

And we are all surprised that the Green Party is positioned more “left” than any other major party. We like to say the GPC is neither left nor right. That putting sustainability — in the environment, in the economy, and in social policy — first is not left or right. It’s just good.

The future is going to be all about LRT not cars.

While acknowledging that LRT is an expensive endeavour it should be noted that all forms of transportation are going to be very expensive.

In 1990, oil cost $24.53 per barrel, in 2005, it was  $66.54 and today it hovers around $77.70 per barrel. World crude oil production has been flat from 2005 to 2010. More vehicles must compete for the same fuel supply. Adding non conventional supply like the tar sands will not make this commodity cheaper, it is very costly to change sticky bitumen into a usable oil product. This is the reality that we all must accept. It is fantasy to think that the average family will have 2 or 3 cars parked in their driveways in the not too distant future.

Responsible politicians will plan for a future where public transportation becomes the main mode for much of the population. People would be far more likely to make the transition from personal transportation to public via the LRT. More buses on the roads are not going to do the job, it may be a short-term solution, but LRT is the best way to meet the future.

There are Serious Implications to Not Voting

Circumstances change quickly today. Politicians are caught off guard. Never in our history has it been more important to vote for competent people who have the listening, organizational, moral and intellectual skills to handle governance in complex times. During campaigns, you can get a sense of whether you would trust their judgment. If you make a mistake you can correct it at the next election. Fortunately, all governments have a limited amount of time to prove they are worthy of the voter’s trust.

Our institutions are strong enough to withstand poor governance for a short period of time; if they weren’t, we would really be in trouble!

By not voting you give more power to those who do vote then they would otherwise have. Do these people deserve that? Do these people represent your views? In the last federal campaign, I learned a lot about why people vote. Sadly, tradition, what one’s spouse tells them, or fear often dictate how one votes.

When you vote, you are affirming democracy and then have the right to make politicians accountable.

Being informed is not a challenge today, but being confident that your decision is a good one is the tricky part. What’s required is the courage to act, but doing nothing has graver consequences.

Welcome to the 41st Federal Election Campaign

What does being Canadian mean to you? What does our government do that makes you proud of who we are?  This federal election campaign is the time to demand that your ideas and your concerns about your country are heard and respected by our leaders and those who wish to represent you.

Democracy is not a spectator sport. Go to an all candidates meeting — there will be many. If you are unsatisfied with the traditional parties — their business-as-usual plans and hyper-partisan politics — consider voting Green. We are THE alternative.

During this campaign I will be writing and speaking about the Green Vision for Canada. We will be presenting a fully-costed platform. You can find it at greenparty.ca. You will find information on the Kitchener-Waterloo Green Party and our election events here, on social networking sites, Twitter, You Tube and at your door.

To learn more about my core values and convictions, please watch the seven-minute video below, made when I became a Green Party candidate for the first time. I look forward to hearing from you during this election campaign.

I want my Canada Back

At each all-candidates’ meetings since the election began, Peter Braid has said that the Conservative government has introduced “the toughest regulations in the industrialized world” to deal with climate change and atmospheric pollution. Most recently, he said this in front of a crowd of senior citizens at Luther Village. In the audience, I (and all the candidates, from what I can tell) didn’t know what he’s talking about. I would like Peter Braid, on behalf of the Conservative Party and Stephen Harper, to explain what he means by this statement. I am not able to imagine a framework in which what he has said — repeatedly — could be truthful, although I have tried. Last I heard, Canada — Stephen Harper’s Canada — was at the top of the list in everything we don’t want as far as climate change goes.

If I am wrong, and Peter Braid is right, I will be overjoyed. I so want a Canada to be proud of, a Canada in which climate change is taken seriously and emissions levels are tackled and reduced. I want my Canada back. And the Canada I want will not led by a government that lies to me and my community about what it is doing about climate change — or anything else, for that matter. 

Voting Strategically

A lot of people think that a Green vote could split the opposition and make it more likely that we end up with something they really don’t want: a Conservative majority in Parliament. But I don’t think that makes all that much sense. Here are some reasons why I think it’s “strategic” to vote Green.

  1. Green voters have had a great influence on the development of policy and options in Canada — two of the other major parties now sport imitation Green climate change policies (as much like the real one as that Gucci bag at the flea market, but still, better than nothing). So our votes count, even when they don’t produce seats.
  2. We have a real chance to elect MPs this time around, and think about it: wouldn’t you rather have 20 Green MPs sitting in opposition, than no Greens? Why would we sacrifice the opportunity to vote for who we want to just to ensure another Parliament like the last one?
  3. Canadians have been voting “strategically” (that is, for their least-feared, instead of best-loved, option) for years. Look what it’s got us. The last Parliament was, by all accounts, dysfunctional. That’s not good for Green values, and it’s not good for Canada.
  4. Our votes should make us feel good. We should vote according to our consciences. Second-guessing 20 million other voters and the system isn’t a great gamble. We should vote Green because we want to.
  5. Voting Green shows support for reform of the voting and representation system in Canada that would make all this worry about “strategy” at the polling booth evaporate. Mixed-Member Proportional Representation would ensure that every vote counted for what it is: an expression of people’s beliefs, values, and ideas.

More Than Voting

I began volunteering with the Green Party because I felt compelled to do more than vote. This election, if you’d like to have a greater impact, here are some ways you can help Cathy’s Green campaign.

Listed in order of greatest need (i.e. we need lots of canvassers!):

  1. Want exercise and good with people? We’re sending out foot canvassers to knock on doors to identify Green supporters and those who would like to talk to Cathy. Come by our office (405 King St. North, just south of Weber) with at least two hours availability at one of the following times: Weekdays at 2, 6 or 7 pm, Saturdays at 11 am or 2 pm and Sundays at 2 pm.
  2. Prefer to work from home? Join our effort to reach people by phone canvassing to identify Green supporters. You’ll need an internet connection you can use while calling. (You can come into the office to do phone canvassing, too.)
  3. Good at offering hospitality? Join our office managers, welcoming volunteers and visiters to our campaign office. Daytime and evening hours available, and we’ll do our best to pair people up to keep things fun.
  4. Love to cook? We’d like to make sure we can offer our volunteers refreshment after canvassing a poll or putting up signs. Bring a pot of vegetarian soup or a tin of cookies by the office, or sign up to do it regularly.
  5. Want to experience the momentum? On election day, Oct. 14, we will have a coordinated effort to Get Out the Vote (GOTV). Let us know if you can help make calls or drive people with limited mobility to their polls.
  6. Have a couple hours and a vehicle Oct. 15-16? Help us take down all our lawn signs.
  7. Enjoy getting about and have a vehicle? Help put up lawn signs.
  8. Like interacting with voters? Help staff our St. Jacob’s Farmers Market table on Thursday mornings or afternoons.