On September 20, Canada goes to the polls to elect the next government of Canada. The Mission Record contacted all five candidates in the Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding and asked them to answer the following three questions:
1. Dire warnings about the future of the planet continue to be made by environmental scientists. Canada currently ranks 58th in the world in the Climate Change Performance Index – and is far behind its obligations set in the Paris Accords.
What is your position on these obligations? How do you feel your party’s platform is best equipped to address climate change?
2. Young Canadians often view home ownership as a pipe dream. According to monthly data released by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, the average July sale price of a property increased over 20 per cent since July prices last year. The national parties have made promises to help ease the cost of housing, what solutions does your party offer that the others don’t?
3. Economic priorities – and where to funnel federal monies – often provides the clearest picture of what divides Canada’s national parties. Where should Canada be focused when it comes to the economy? What are your biggest fears about the current, or alternative, economic trajectories, should another party win the election?
Read the answers below:
1. The Greens are clear. We can’t have new fossil fuel projects. We oppose the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. We oppose the LNG Canada. We must stop giving money to the fossil fuel industry ($18 billion this year alone). Instead use it to retrain workers.
We are committed to the carbon pricing at home and at the border (tariff) so our industries can compete with international players. We propose a building retrofits plan that would launch a massive program to retrofit residential, industrial, and commercial buildings and employ skilled workers. We want to ramp-up renewable energy and not resort to nuclear options. We want to invest in a national electricity corridor.
2. Earlier this year the Green Party called on the government to recognize housing unaffordability and homelessness as twin national crises and asked the government to update the formula for the “affordable” Canada Housing Benefit. The current strategy is very timid and has left a gap for people who are on low income.
There are very few affordable housing options. The Greens would tackle the root causes of housing unaffordability by doing the following.
n Re-invest in Social and Co-op housing. The federal government cut the funding for Social Housing in the 1980s which left very few affordable housing options.
n Strengthen regulation on foreign investment and create an empty home tax for foreign and corporate residential property owners: Housing is a human right not an investment.
n Work with the provincial government to support programs that ensure far fewer people are left unable to pay their mortgages and rents.
n Create national standards to establish rent vacancy controls.
Update the formula for the “affordable” at Canada Housing benefits.
3. We have entered a season of consequences on the climate emergency, and we must work together to meet the challenges. Many of the problems we face such as the growing gap between rich and poor, the failing social safety net, the housing crisis, the opioid crisis, and widespread anxiety and depression are the result of a growth economy that is out of sync with nature and people.
The Green Party of Canada proposes the development of a green economy that respects nature’s limits, provides everyone with a dignified, high quality of life, embraces diversity, and responsibly stewards public finances. This means creating industry and jobs based on a healthy and robust renewable energy, zero waste systems, local food security, and a national electricity corridor.
The Greens would ensure fair taxation, establish a green fund to make investments in trades, apprenticeships and education required for a green economy, enhance the federal Youth Employment and Skills Strategy by creating a Community and Environment Service Corps, and eliminate post-secondary education tuition to help workers train for new employment.