By: Lindsay MacGregor
[Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of our electoral guide series. To make sure everything is released prior to the Election on Monday, the Cadre will publishing periodically over the weekend. Stay tuned to make sure you see our interviews with several of the candidates!]
The Green Party of Canada was the first out of the gate this election season in launching their election platform. On September 9th, the Greens released their 44 page platform, focusing on four key issue areas: economy, communities, government, and of course, climate. Elizabeth May, party leader, opens with a letter to all citizens of Canada. In it, she addresses some common misperceptions of the party, stating:
â€œI know many may think of the Green Party as a single issue party â€“ yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Granted, you know me as someone who for the past forty years has stood firm to protect the air we all breathe, the water we drink, and the land that sustains us. But you also know me as a staunch defender of democracy, of economic policies that make sense, of fairness and openness, of justice and equity.â€
After giving their platform a once over, I have summarized some of the main points of the platform, highlighting the ones I thought to be especially important to student voters. I encourage anyone interested in some further education to check it out in full. (http://www.greenparty.ca/en/platform)
And donâ€™t forget, VOTE. Cast your ballot, make your opinion known. We all know itâ€™s important, and we all know that we should feel blessed to have the opportunity to do so.
Also, remember that it is trendy and cool to vote, and bragging via all forms of social media that you have is important. Donâ€™t let your friends and frienemies down, get out there October 19th and cast your vote.
- When it comes to the economy, the Greens are looking to secure Canadaâ€™s economic leadership by creating the Canadian Sustainable Generations Fund to invest money into skills-training, education, energy efficiency, renewables, and emerging technologies. In doing this they are also investing in well-paying, local, and sustainable jobs.
- Probably one of the most important to students across the country, the Greens will abolish tuition and fees for post-secondary education and skills training for Canadians by 2020. Yes, they are phasing in this program a little late for current post-secondary students, but donâ€™t worry, they plan on implementing a debt-forgiveness program which will eliminate any existing or future debt above $10,000. They will also abolish charging interest on new student loans, and will increase the available funding for bursaries.
- Another important issue they touched on that affects many students today is the difficulties for graduates to get hired and gain experience without having any previous experience. To counteract this, they plan on creating a national Community and Environment Service Corps, which will provide $1 billion/year to municipalities to hire Canadian youth to do work that needs to be done, providing youth with the experience they need to gain jobs in their field.
- Emphasized throughout all of their platform is their dedication to partnering with the First Nations on projects that affect all, not solely on indigenous issues.
- Their platform also plans on putting small Canadian business owners first to create local jobs and revitalize local economies, as well as supporting local food and small scale producers in the shift towards more organic and sustainable food production.
- The Green Party wants to defend Canadaâ€™s Public Health Care, and wants to revise and expand this health care to cover prescription medication for all Canadians and public dental coverage for low income youth (under the age of 18). They also want to increase the emphasis on preventative health care.
- Another key part was the support of Canadian seniors, with initiatives such as housing plans, guaranteed livable income, pharmacare, among many others.
- Their plans to eliminate poverty and challenge inequality include initiatives such as: implementing a Guaranteed Liveable Income, providing equal pay for equal work, ensuring that high quality child care is available for everyone who wants/needs it, and funding school nutrition programs.
- Again, working on building stronger relationships with First Nations and Indigenous Communities is important to the Greens. They want to address the on the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women immediately.
- Other community initiatives include: reversing the funding cuts to CBC-Radio Canada, renewing door to door mail service by Canada Post, and keeping our communities safe by re-investing in disaster preparedness, training, and equipment for frontline services.
- The Green Party is very proud of having no â€œcareer politiciansâ€. Instead, they offer politicians with impressive resumes in science, law, academia, small business, etc. In this, they want to ensure that members of parliament will be honest, ethical, hard working.
- Another priority is â€œunmuzzlingâ€ Canadian scientists, providing more transparency on findings to the media and the public. They also will provide 75 million to Environment Canada, Health Canada, Parks Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans, for research and innovation.
- They emphasize their goal of working together as a country, and with our allies, to counter threats from climate change to terrorism
- They also plan on reversing changes to Canadian citizenship (no longer the two tiered system) and they oppose Bill C-51 with the promise that the green party will continue to fight to repeal this bill.
- In the last part, the Greens focus on is replacing the â€œfirst-past-the-post voting systemâ€ we have today with a form of proportional representation that is best suited to Canada. They plan on taking into account the publicâ€™s opinion as well as an all-party committee in making these decisions.
Of course, the part of the platform we have been expecting. The Greens promise to:
- Defend coastal waters from pipelines and oil-tankers.
- Arrest growth in oil sands expansion, but protect existing jobs in the industry and create new jobs by upgrading and refining existing production. They also want to provide skill training for employees who have been laid off or who want to transition to more stable long term jobs.
- Place fees on Carbon to create the shift away from burning fossil fuels. They plan on using this money to invest back into Canadians over the age of 18 in the form of an annual carbon dividend.
- Their overall goal, that encompasses every part of their stance on climate, seems to be to demonstrate climate leadership at the united nations climate summit in Paris, happening only 40 days after the election. In their words, â€œCOP21 (The United Nations 21st Conference of the Parties) represents the last, best, and only chance for humanity to avert and intensified climate crisis and to prevent runaway global warming.â€