The Green Party of Canada is looking to make new headway in this year’s federal election and its returning candidate for Kootenay-Columbia, Bill Green, says that, if he wins, constituents’ needs will actually be heard in Ottawa.
“(Kootenay-Columbia MP David) Wilks is a spokesperson for the government to this riding,” Green told The Valley Echo. “Not a representative who can speak to our interests.”
Green accuses the Conservative Party of whipping it members to vote as a block, even if it goes against the welfare of a member’s constituents.
“Green MPs can vote to the interests of their electorate, and David clearly can’t do that — he has to vote to the interest of the government, and that’s a profound breakdown of our democracy.”
A recent example of Conservative overbearing is their effort to pass Bill C–51, he said, which is of concern to many Conservative voters.
In regards to Bill C–51, the federal government explains: “The world is a dangerous place and Canada is not immune to the threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks on our own soil demonstrate that our law enforcement and national security agencies require more tools to keep pace with evolving threats, and to better protect Canadians here at home.”
In a letter to the editor (see page 7), Wilks says the legislation was designed to “protect Canadians against jihadi terrorists who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world to live.”
The bill has been met with strong opposition, with demonstrations held in over 50 Canadian cities on Saturday, March 14th.
Green said his party will diagnose the root causes of Canada’s greatest collective risk, and then build plans that effectively address them.
Those who agree with ideals of the Conservative Party will find many common values among the Green Party, he said, adding that a healthy economy is measured by meaningful employment and strong household incomes.
“That is very much the focus of the Green Party, and making sure that those jobs are here for the long term — not just creating short-term fixes. We absolutely believe that the economy is of high priority, but the foundation for that economy, now and into the future, has to be a healthy environment.”
Infrastructure which focuses more heavily on renewable resources will offer long-term employment solutions, Green said, and will lead to a more efficiently run economy.
“Many communities have very leaky water systems; they’re wasting up to 30 or 40 per cent through leakage,” he said. Tightening up the water system “will result in improved flows in our streams and also improved water supplies in our communities.”
The Green Party’s platform for this year’s election has not yet been released, but won’t include any significant changes from their 2011 platform, he said.
One major tweak, however, will be made to the carbon fee, which will be more equitable.
“We’re taking a more comprehensive and finely tuned approach with respect to international affairs and collective security of Canadians.”
Realistically, he admits, the Green Party is still in the phase of building itself as a credible alternative government.
“I can say this with some confidence: I don’t think we’re going to become the majority party in parliament.”
However, in the event of a minority government, the Green Party has the potential to play a very strong role as part of a coalition.
Green finished third in the Kootenay-Columbia riding in the last election, receiving 2,547 votes out of the 42,788 cast. Wilks won with 23,910, and Mark Shmigelski of the NDP placed second with 14,199 votes.
Unless it’s called sooner, the 42nd general election is scheduled for Monday, October 19th.