Posted by: jmtoriel | April 10, 2009

PowerUP Green Economy Conference Redux

The Green Economy Conference was a real eye opener. Essentially, the NDP platform came out yesterday and it is about as far from a realistic vision for governing the province as I have seen. So many missed opportunities with a negative platform aimed at “axing” the carbon tax (constantly referred as “gas tax”) and mud-slinging the reigning Liberals while advocating for Labour interests.
There is very little common ground with the BC Greens which was made even more apparent given the lack of participation (due to boycott) at the Conference from any NDP candidates, COPE 378, Save Our Rivers and Wilderness Committee. Philip Stone and myself were the only running candidates present.
My take is that if you’re not at the table — you’re on the menu. 
The First Nations leaders and ENGOs present were and are trying vehemently to tackle the economic, social, and environmental problems with genuine solutions that would create green collar jobs, reduce the impacts of Climate Change and refocus on solutions. They genuinely care about the future of the province despite their stance on IPPs (current reality initiated under Glen Clark and the NDP btw). I don’t think anyone can argue that. Yes, the IPPs are private, motivated by profit and growth and passing environmental assessments that don’t take into consideration enough. It is compromising the future of our rivers. No arguments there and our platform outlines this clearly. The dialogue focussed on policies that would encourage more renewable energy in BC and defining what that means.
It was the NDP that first pushed for private power in the 90s as “a means of ensuring affordable energy” and a “source of expertise and innovation to keep BC’s electricity sector efficient and competitive.” Jurisdictions that have enabled private power development have seen vaster change towards greater renewable energy infrastructure and prices going up. Higher prices discourages greater use across the board. While I prefer a pubic monopoly for greater accountability and control, more centralized large hydro (Site C) is not the answer.
Mayor Gregor Robertson, Jane Sterk and the BC Greens seem to agree that the Premier is not all bad and certainly deserves credit with the implementation of a carbon tax (of course it could have been implemented better). Taxing natural gas flaring (greatly exaggerated numbers), removing smart meters and being non-committal to a cap-and-trade system in which business gets to decide the outcome, no ban on raw log exports or protective species legislation is simply heading us in the wrong direction given the realities of climate change. The NDP have an extremely negative stance that will not earn them many gains this election and undoubtedly return to official opposition status. 
Realistically, an 11% margin will be hard to reverse with persistent mud-slinging and a platform that may as well have been written 30 yrs ago. This will only help British Columbians, I hope, realize the importance of changing our electoral system to be less divisive and partisan while sending a strong message to government by voting green.
In the final message, Tzeporah all but endorsed the singled-out BC Greens by stating to the audience to talk to us this election. Her and Chris Hatch both personally thanked me for coming.
Given the mainstream alternatives, there is no doubt that a strong message must be delivered to move us forward whatever your ideological leaningsThat message is “VOTE GREEN”

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