Posted by: jmtoriel | November 5, 2007

The Green future is golden

From The Star of Toronto, each Canadian political party leader was invited to respond to the Conservative Speech from the Throne (which opened the parliamentary session in October). Green party Leader, Elizabeth May, outlines her vision for the country:

The Green party holds a positive vision of Canada, now and into the future.

We will strive to support a society where the pressure to make a living does not crowd out having a life; where having more does not supplant being more.

In our Green Vision, Canadians enjoy a higher quality of life, experiencing health and wellness, education and meaningful work, prosperity and economic success supported by ecological health.

In our vision of Canada, economic, ability or disability, racial, or cultural backgrounds do not preclude individuals from contributing to and benefiting from a prosperous Canada.

Canadian communities – urban and rural – thrive, including communities dependent on fisheries, forestry and agriculture.

Canada plays a positive role in the world, working co-operatively with governments, North and South, to ensure equity, global security and peace.

Real policies in the real world can lead us to a better future.

Poor policies, badly conceived, imperfectly imagined and poorly implemented could leave our children and their children in an unliveable world.

The Green government will begin immediately with a long-term vision to enhance our communities, our nation and our planet.

Our agenda for government action is placed in the context of our intact, coherent and achievable vision.

Each policy has been examined through the following lenses:

Does it advance the common good?

Does it advance global security, in environmental and geo-political terms?

Does it address the needs of children?

Does it ensure Canada’s continued quality of life and economic health?

Does it make families more secure?

Does it protect, enhance and restore the life support systems of the planet?

Does it promote systems – cultural, institutional and technological – that are resilient and capable of adapting to shocks in a more unpredictable world?

The Green government will jettison the baggage of current political stagnant thinking, leaving the old-line parties to fight for turf at the cutting edge of the status quo.

Ideas whose time has come:

The Green government will advance bold solutions.

We will work toward a national program for guaranteed annual income, not just treating the symptoms of poverty but eliminating poverty.

We will reduce the tax burden on the middle class through income splitting, allowing spouses to make very different choices about income without being penalized. We will fight for women’s rights, from pay equity to equality rights. We will enhance community and family life through policies designed to give Canadians more time for what really matters – parents, children, partners, and friends – through increased vacation time and reduced payroll taxes, allowing employers to bring more staff into smaller firms without penalty.

We will act decisively to live up to our commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

It is, tragically, no longer possible for Canada to achieve our target of 6 per cent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. But it is essential that we strive to get as close as possible to that target, beginning serious emission reductions immediately to be better prepared for the next round of cuts. The Green government will implement a wide range of measures, including a Green tax shift, moving taxes off income and onto carbon, enhanced regulations for energy efficiency, fuel economy, cap and trade systems between and among the large polluters, an ambitious retrofit program for residential, commercial and institutional buildings, meaningful investments in municipal infrastructure, including mass transit, and investments in renewable energy. The Green government will invest in a new national dream, of efficient modern rail connections, for goods and people across Canada. We will end perverse subsidies to oil, gas and nuclear energy.

We will restore Canada’s place as a nation on the “good guy” team in global climate negotiations. We will work with the European Union and other responsible nations to distance ourselves from the sabotage efforts of the current U.S. administration. Our policy on the climate crisis will be driven by the best scientific advice, not by industrial lobby groups.

The carbon tax will be largely revenue neutral, allowing the income splitting measure and significant reductions on both employer and employee deductions for EI and CPP, boosting supplements to low income Canadians, as well as fulfilling commitments under the Kelowna Accord to First Nations, creating a universal child care program focusing on early education opportunities, while supporting families who choose to take time out from their careers to raise children at home.

The Green government will safeguard the health of Canadians by ensuring that not-for-profit, universal health care is protected and enhanced, while also focusing on prevention. We must confront the growing cancer epidemic by reducing exposure to cancer-causing chemicals – in our food, consumer products, workplaces and environment. Globally, we will be a peacekeeping nation again.

We believe Canada has a role in helping rebuild Afghanistan, but the current NATO-led mission is misguided and counter-productive. A renewed UN-led mission with greater engagement from Islamic nations, a commitment to allow the growing of poppies while diverting the crop to legal medicinal use, and a far greater focus on development and diplomacy is urgently needed.

The Green government will take the lead globally in pressing for nuclear disarmament, strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and working for a verifiable fissile material cut-off treaty. We will stop the steady advance of the hands on the Doomsday Clock toward midnight. We are committed to giving our children a future.

The Green government will live up to the Lester B. Pearson target of spending 0.7 per cent of GDP on overseas aid. We will make poverty history at home and globally.

We are committed to making Parliament work, to changing the climate in Parliament so that children who see it on television can be inspired by democracy at work. We have a long way to go in rebuilding mutual respect within our democratic institutions, but Canadians expect nothing less.

(For full details, go to http://www.greenparty.ca and read Vision Green.)
——

The Green vision is golden. Ensuring a prosperous future requires the understanding that we are all connected (to eachother, to the planet). The environment IS the economy and the two are intrinsically linked. They cannot be seperated as political ideologies have attempted in traditional politics. We need a fresh start to adopt this realistic and positive vision. Knowing what we know of the scientific data at our disposal in this “globalized” world as well as the economic and political shortcomings we face in our society, it is irresponsible to continue with the status quo.

It’s time to adopt a greener path and go for the gold.

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