At a nomination meeting last week, Art Green received the Green Party nomination for the provincial riding of Fraser-Nicola.
Green, who ran as the federal Green Party candidate in the 2014 election, is a resident of Hope who has spent 30 years as a film technician. “I’m trying to retire,” he tells The Journal with a laugh, adding that he mostly works in Vancouver and Burnaby.
His background in the film industry is one reason he is proposing the construction of more soundstages in the region. “There’s so much filming in our area, because we have beautiful locations, but we’re limited to how much filming we can do. Filmmakers can shoot nice broad masters of the scenery, but then they need to film actors in the more controlled environment of a soundstage. a
“It would attract so much more filming if we had a soundstage in the area.”
He also sees a real opportunity to increase tourism to the region. “We need to attract more visitors away from the Coquihalla and back to the Fraser Canyon corridor. This is a great area to hunt, fish, camp, and pan for gold.” He also feels that the area’s very attractive property values should be used to attract more business.
Protecting our water resources is high on his agenda. Green notes that Nestlé has a huge water bottling plant near Hope. “They take 2 million litres of water a day for almost nothing. If they were charged what the water is worth, we could afford to subsidize areas that need new water systems.”
He has proposed giving domestic and business water users a certain amount of water each year for free, with those not using their full quota able to sell what they do not use. “If I knew I would be getting a cheque back, I would be using a rain barrel, and not watering so much. We could conserve water incredibly well that way.”
Green says that he has met incumbent MLA Jackie Tegart several times, and likes her a lot, but he is not keen on the current government’s method of governing.
“They claim a balanced budget, but are dependent on the property transfer fee. And we have the lowest taxes in Canada, but have very high fees for things like medical services plan (MSP) premiums and ICBC.”
He notes that the Liberals have been taking money out of ICBC for years while rates continue to go up.
“Then, just before the provincial election, after everyone has been saying ‘Why are you taking this money?’ they stop.”
Green would also like to see the MSP premiums tied in with provincial income tax, rather than as a separate fee.
“Your premium is tied to your previous year’s income; so if you get laid off, you’re still paying the previous fee. And once your income level is over $30,000 a year, you’re paying the same premiums as someone making $250,000 a year. If it was tied in with the income tax system you would pay a fee based on your income; and it would save millions in accounting fees.”
He also feels that the Liberals have been foolish to pin so many hopes on the development and export of liquid natural gas, particularly in light of its effect on the environment. “They keep talking about LNG as a transitional fuel; but it produces methane, and contributes huge amounts of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.”
Green speaks of the real problem we have in B.C. with homelessness and poverty. “I think we have to design a better system to deal with this. It costs more to keep people homeless than it does to give them a guaranteed income, and that’s just not right.
“It’s costly, and totally the wrong thing to do. The Green Party wants a guaranteed livable income, which would tie all social services into one service. Everyone would be guaranteed an income, or the benefits of one, to get rid of homelessness and poverty.”