Posted by: jmtoriel | March 30, 2009

Each day I wait for better representation…

I’m tired of waiting and being disappointed. I’m taking a stand. I’m running for office.

I decided to run last week for Langara — a diverse and vibrant part of Vancouver. With the departure of Carole Taylor there is a seemingly gaping void of representation for the area. While Dr. Moira Stillwell has replaced her Liberal candidacy spot, she is a much weaker candidate and there is still no NDP candidate!

I won’t dwell on the other 2 parties’ record or their candidates– I think that speaks for itself.

I will say that I was shocked at the remarks of Carole James speaking to the BC Business Council last Thursday. As a value-driven business person, myself, I was surprised to hear the pro-big business rhetoric supporting neo-liberal economics coming from her mouth. Her plan for a rebound in the economy is to “axe the gas tax” and further open trade to magically “create wealth and drive innovation”. Looking around at the economic situation today does not indicate this to be any solution. In fact, this could easily be a Liberal talking. So, “better leadership for everyone” (NDP campaign tagline) is what will drive the economy of the future? All signs point to no.

James is adamantly opposed to the most progressive carbon tax in North America. Cutting it would generate a mere $2 billion to the dwindling coffers of an already overflowing deficit during the worst economic situation any of us have faced in this province. Her solution is more infrastructure spending than the Liberals have proposed, which would further increase the debt and benefit big business contractors, who could emit at will (with no carbon tax and a flaky cap-and trade scheme without any clear indications as to how this would be done).

This is old-school thinking in short-term with absolutely NO vision for how to turn things around for the future. Where is the “new” in the “New Democratic Party”? And given the lack of support for the proposed BC STV, not too  “democratic” either.

The BC Liberals, on the other hand, while bold in their implementation of the carbon tax, should be criticized for continuing to increase subsidies to the very industry that is creating the most amount of carbon emissions (oil and gas), and relying on revenues from natural resources and real estate too heavily.

The dreadfully over-budget Convention Centre and Gateway initiatives are short-sighted, and continue down a dangerous path of speculating  unceasing growth – which is what got us in this mess in the first place. With the current economic conditions as they are, there are virtually no industries that have been unaffected by the sharp downturn. Indications of a turn-around in any of these sectors relies more on Wall Street speculation and the finite supply of resources than Colin Hansen’s weak budget (read my earlier blog).

We have become too reliant on growth and exports of these finite resources to our detriment. Worst of all, the lack of leadership has shown a lack of understanding of the true nature of the problems we face. Namely, the connection to our reliance on unhealthy, unfettered economic growth to bring us greater prosperity, and the lack of connection to the planet as a whole. More stuff does not equal better livelihood.

The solutions are as complex as the problems, but there are many suggestions proposed in the BC Greens’ Green Book platform, that I hope my readers and constituents would agree are much more visionary and focus on the long term.

This is the reason I’m running: the future of my 6 month old daughter. I cannot bear to sit aside and watch mismanagement of the “best place on Earth” while partisan politics reigns supreme.

Our house is burning —

  • Record high jobless rates without proper investment into arts, culture and innovative green stimulus;
  • Collapse of the commodity markets affecting forestry, oil and gas, energy, mining, fishing, ports;
  • Addiction and homelessness stemming from poverty related issues spinning out of control with increased violent gang violence and gun use, neglecting First Nations communities;
  • Privatizing and lack of transparency of our crown corporations and lands which creates tension from regional and municipal representatives who are left powerless from centralized decision-making in Victoria or IPP (independent power producers) who lease public land without proper accountability and environmental assessments;
  • Plummeting real estate prices and value;
  • Huge public infrastructure spending on unGreen infrastructure projects like Gateway to nowhere, the unnecessary and over-budget Convention Centre 
  • Lack of comprehensive Climate Change legislation with support for truly green technologies and incentives;
  • Lack of food security— we need more protection of our agricultural lands and better incentives to localize our food distribution, and Olympic security spending beyond comprehension;
  • Lack of laws protecting wildlife and public land.

— and this is “keeping BC strong”? (tagline for BC Liberals).

I may not be favoured to win on May 12th, but I do not want to tell the good people of Vancouver Langara what is right for them.  I wish to hear your concerns and represent us — the citizens of BC (families, small businesses, youth, immigrants and refugees, homeowners and renters alike). That’s the way the system is supposed to work, and it has shown to not to be working now. Instead of taking the traditional politician’s stance of promising, without the intention of fulfilling those promises, with a system that clearly needs fixing, I will listen intently to what and how the voters would like me to represent them in Victoria — if I get there. I will bring up the issues and solutions that our leader, Jane Sterk and the BC Greens have documented in our platform:GREEN BOOK

So many important issues that will affect our future well-being are being neglected by the status quo bickering parties (‘propose without input Liberals’ and ‘oppose without question NDP’). Luckily, there is another party that is ready to make a real difference in the Legislative Assembly and that is clearly and decisively GREEN.

My focus will be to boost our local economy through clean, green investments in innovation creating green collar jobs, small business and renewable energy that is determined regionally — not from Victoria. We want better education, quality homes for those with low income, safe and healthier living conditions and a better future. I also strongly encourage citizens to VOTE YES to STV for a more representative system that will deter the rhetoric and the bickering.

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