Guest Post: Stephen Rees
There’s a deeply cynical opinion piece in today’s Province that looks at the choice between the NDP and the governing BC Liberals in the current BC provincial election. It does not mention the third choice, which is going to be available (we hope) in every electoral district. The Green Party has yet to secure a seat in the legislature but is now polling at around 12% of decided voters.
As Jon Ferry says “little to choose between the tweedledum Liberals and the tweedledee NDP”. But he does not look at any of the Green policies – which cover the whole range of issues, not just the environment. You can read the whole policy book at the Green Party web site.
For me the environment continues to be my main concern. I have seen a number of economic cycles since I have been in Canada – just over twenty years now. I think that eventually we will indeed pull out of the current reccession. Which really worries me. If we continue with “business as usual” humanity does not really have much of a future on this planet. The earth will survive – by shucking of the nasty viral infection called humanity. We seem to be the only intelligent species that is not intelligent enough to stop destroying the very system that keeps it alive. The economy is a subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around. We cannot keep going the way we are as we currently need three planets to support our consumption of natural resources. And we do not have another habitable planet we can get to before this one runs out.
The reason I decided to run for Green Party is that it is now the only one that opposes the dreadful Gateway program. Carol James and the NDP switched from opposing it to supporting it last year. About the same time she decided to attack the Carbon Tax (she refers to in inaccurately as “the gas tax”) and for exactly the same reason: it was the popular choice. While the carbon tax is not nearly enough to change people’s choices, it is a start – and will slowly get a bit better. Obviously we need to do more – but the building freeways and expansion of ports will more than negate any reduction in greenhouse gas emissions due to the carbon tax.
The thing about transportation is that it is not a single issue on its own. It dramatically alters the landscape – and everything around it. If you build freeways and more roads you get highway oriented development – low density housing, outlet malls, power centres – all the rest. The very thing that we have been trying to avoid. You do not get livable, walkable human scale places until you design your transportation system to be optimised for people, not cars. There will be no transit oriented development until there is some transit!
I have been banging on about this issue on my blog“>my blog for years now. Nancy has very kindly offered me this space to spread the word to others. If you live in BC, please take the time to look at the Green alternative before you vote. If what I am saying has resonance with you please also consider a donation. The NDP has the unions funding them, the Liberals big business. The Green party is funded only by its supporters. And it is really important that this time we get the message out that there is an alternative to the two main parties.
Like most Green Party candidates, my campaign in Richmond East is running on a shoe string. If you would like to make a donation to my campaign specifically, please make your cheque payable to Campaign to Elect Stephen Rees and send it to me at #6 – 10251 Steveston Highway, Richmond BC V7A 1N2. And I will send you a tax receipt. I am sure Nancy will tell you that political donations are an even better way of getting a tax refund than donating to charity.