I apologize for just putting these e-mail responses as posts lately, but this one took a lot of time and I want to get some mileage out of it. This is a blog interview I did for Samantha Burns
: 1. Can you give me an elevator pitch as to why people should vote for you? Please briefly explain your platform to those unaware.
I am running to promote the Green party's values of:
- Ecological Wisdom
- Social Justice
- Participatory Democracy
- Respect for Diversity
If elected, every decision I make will be based on these values and I will be a voice in parliament for accountable and responsible government.
We are at a crossroads in history right now. With our current levels of consumption and pollution, the status quo of government and business is unsustainable. The Green Party is the only party with the courage to acknowledge this issue and develop a road map for us to change this situation.
If you are concerned about how we are affecting future generations by our actions today, a vote for me will represent your concern.
2. Where do you plan on getting the money to fund your government programmes/changes?
I do not believe in in-debting future generations just to find a short term gain. I do believe in proper investment that, over the long term, will provide the most effective method of providing government services to citizens. Most of the programs that I intend to champion will be funded by shifting our tax base to natural resources (including private land) an relieving the tax burden from employment income. I would also support the cessation of the nearly 1.4 billion in yearly subsidies directed to the thriving oil and gas industry. 3. Aren't there more effective ways to solve problems without government?
For every problem there are a myriad of solutions. Some problems can best be solved through government intervention and some are best tackled through other organizations. What is important is that a Canadian governmentsupports the most sustainable solutions in all situations. Stop-gap measures don't help anybody in the long run. 4. When one hears the name the Green Party of Canada, the first thing that comes to mind is a bunch of tree huggers and tree-spiking hippies. Is that a fair and accurate description? If not, why?
I don't see anything wrong with hugging a tree, but spiking a tree and endangering someone's life is irresponsible. The Green Party can more accurately be called the Common Sense Party, as we agree with good ideas and solutions to problems no matter if they come from the political right or left. If anyone takes the time to read our platform, their confusion as to the identity of the Green Party will quickly disapear and I think most people will find that they agree with most of our platform; it's full of common sense. 5. How do you feel about the actions of eco-terrorists? Do you believe they help or hinder your cause?
Terrorism is an unsustainable method to bring about societal change. As a descendant of Mennonite immigrants, I strongly believe that the only way to bring about change is through non-violent methods. To protect the environment, personal sacrifice and education are the tools we must use, not violence. 6. 'Frankenfoods', genetically modified crops, and pesticide-controlled foods tend to yield far more crop per square acre than going organic. With rampant worldwide starvation, doesn't it seem more logical route to take than going organic where crop yields would be greatly reduced?
World hunger is a serious issue. Today, with the current world production of food and our current population, we don't have an issue of food scarcity, we have an issue of not getting the food into the areas where it is needed most. The danger with relying upon pesticides and genetically modified crops to feed the world is two-fold. One, we don't know what the long-term consequences are from ingesting this type of food and two, we cannot continue to think that endless growth and consumption is a good thing. No matter what methods we use to produce food, we live on a planet with limited resources and we will run out of resources if we continue to increase our consumption. The Green Party recognizes this and will implement programs to help us live sustainably within the limits of our resources on this planet. 6. Should First Nations (Indians to our readers to the south) be forced to give up unregulated fishing and hunting in the name of conservation?
First Nations groups have a respect for and a responsibility to the natural resources in their homelands. In many jurisdictions, First Nations have observed the un-abated rape of their land for profit and governments have ecouraged these groups to partake in the abuse. The Green Party, through negotiations with First Nations groups will implement government regulations that support the sustainable harvest of nature while respecting the ancestoral rights of the First Nations. 7. Isn't a little deforestation worth the livelihoods of BCers working in the forestry industry? Same question goes for the oil industry and drilling up north.
Short term gain is not worth long term devastation. There are ways in which we can ecourage environmentally safe harvest of our resources, but we a government with the courage to change. In fact, by ensuring that the forestry industry and the oil industry are environmentally sustainable will help these companies compete globaly and create more jobs. 8. The biggest polluters of CO2 tend to be volcanoes and cow flatulence. What good are our personal conservation efforts when they are being flagrantly violated by nature?
More pressing than climate change are air pollution in our cities and scarcity of input resources for our economy. Nature is much more powerful than the human race and will survive even if we kill ourselves off through overconsumption. Personal conservation merely alows humans to continue to exist on this planet. 9. We've come a long way from the polluting days of the industrial age. Our rivers and lakes are cleaner, sewage is being treated, pollution and smog are down, deforestation is on the decline, yet environmentalists are raising the panic flag higher than ever. Can you justify these actions?
Our rivers and lakes are cleaner? There may be some success cases along these lines, but on the whole the world has much less clean fresh water available. The scarcity is more apparent when you look up how much water if available per person world wide. The real problem is the cancerous growth of humanity throughout the world, we are starting to reach the world's carrying capacity for the human race. 10. Oil and coal are primary energy sources, fuelling our economy and allowing us to enjoy the lifestyle we do. Should we go back to horse and buggy days and deal with horse pollution, because last time I checked, solar panels do not work in Vancouver for at least 6 months out of the year?
Advances in technology can actually help us use less energy than ever. We just have to commit and have proper support to reach energy reduction goals. 11. The Marajuana Party of Canada wants to legalize the drug. In your opinion, should hemp be used for clothing, smoking, or both? Further, what is you opinion on legalising hardcore drugs?
Marajuana should be legalized in order to reduce the amount of money funneled to organized crime and other drug trade. Personally, I don't think smoking is a healthy way to injest anything, but I also don't think that gambling is that effective of a way to make money (especially with my poker skills), but making these things illegal just fuels crime (as seen with 1920's prohibition). As for hardcore drugs, I think we can go a long way to hardcore drug use by ending poverty and build strong healthy communities. If you are happy with yourself, your life and you have a community that supports you, you won't have much need of chemical supplements. 12. [This one's for a little fun for my readers] What do you think of compost toilets such as Envirolets, www.envirolet.com? Do you have one and would you push for this to replace American Standards in every Canadian home? I mean, they are made in Canada afterall.
I don't have one of these toilets, but it looks like a good idea. I do have a low flush (6 litres per flush) toilet that has reduced our water use. I would think that the envirolet may be suitable in some sites, but I don't know if it would work in a condo. I'll have to read up on it. 13. How do you feel about Americans? And, what is your opinion on Paul Martin using attacks against Americans to appear as a strong leader who does not bow down to US wishes?
Most of my wife's family are Americans and I really enjoy all of of their company. The American government and the American people are two very different things. I don't think you have to insult someone in order to stand up to them. 14. How would you respond to Tucker Carlson's characterisation that Canadians live in igloos and ride dogsleds to work? Referring to this
Wouldn't that be fun, riding a dogsled to work. Tucker 's ignorance is his responsibility, not mine. 15. Why should people with more money pay higher taxes? Isn't everyone in Canada equal and shouldn't they contribute equally?
I would like to see Canadians pay taxes based on how much public resources they privately control or use and not on how much money they make. 16. When the government tends to be horribly inefficient and ineffective, why do we continue to tack on social programme after social programme, crippling our population's tax burden further?
Great point. Elect me to government and I'll work to improve government efficiency. 17. Aren't there more effective ways to solve problems without government?
See Above 18. If you have a millionaire willing to pay for his own private medical care, why should Joe-poor be forced to pay for Joe-rich?
If a millionaire wishes to pay for his or her private medical care, what is stopping them from hopping on a plane to US or India? Providing health care to millionaires is not the problem, we have to work to provide health care and not just sick care to all Canadians. Most of which are not millionaires. 19. Everyone born and raised in BC has smoked pot. Have you? And, did you inhale?
I'm not born or raised in BC (Saskatchewan and Alberta respectively), but I have smoked pot and I inhaled. Like I said before though, I don't think smoking is the healthiest way to injest things. 20. Do you have any favourite blogs or websites that you read? http://burnabypolitics.blogspot.com/ 21. How can people contact you if they have questions or would like to aid in your campaign?
Best is by e-mail: email@example.com or check out my blog 22. Is there anything that you would like to add that has not been asked here?