Not just a one-issue party, according to candidates
Founded in 1983, the Green Party of Canada is one of the newer parties on Parliament Hill. For this election campaign the Greens are focused on building “A Canada that works. Together.” Here is a look at how the party hopes to do just that.
“The Greens really want to bring their ideas forward to the Canadian public. When surveys are done, most people, if not the majority of people, agree with Green party principles and policies. The problem is getting the word out and getting the information out that the Green party candidates are carefully selected and we are competent,” explains Fleetwood-Port Kells candidate and KPU policy student Richard Hosein.
A common misconception about the party is that their platform solely involves policies concerning environmental regulation and protection.
The Green party also has policies concerning poverty reduction, post-secondary funding, healthcare, and much more. “We do care about environmental regulation and protection, there’s no doubt about that. We have very robust policies on that, but we’re not a one-issue party,” Hosein clarifies.
Candidates are not only focused on Canada as a whole, they are focused on improving their communities.
“I specifically would want to bring back more community programs in elementary schools and high schools, get back to community and have kids be kids, and focus on play and mentorship,” explains Surrey-Newton candidate and UVIC political science graduate Pamela Sangha.
Surrey is known for having an increased crime rate, gang violence, and shootings. Sangha realizes, “this is happening for a reason and I think that’s what really needs to be looked at. I think that if we have community heroes, mentorship programs, and have things for kids to do after school and keep busy, I think that would probably leave the community better off.”
As students, we have to deal with the stress of tuition, debt and finding a job after graduation. These issues are impacted by political decisions, and students have a voice which can enact a positive change. Hosein notes, “If you realized what happened in Alberta with the last election, the reason why we were shocked with an NDP win was because the students and young people went out to vote. It was really a revolutionary thing.”
South Surrey-White Rock candidate Larry Colero recognizes students have an important role to play in politics. “I think the most important thing is for students not to just vote, but to do the research beforehand so that they gain a better understanding of why politics is so relevant to their lives and the communities that they live in.”
At the beginning of September, party leader Elizabeth May announced that her party would work to abolish post-secondary tuition by 2020 and forgive any student debt over $10,000.
Colero believes abolishing tuition would “provide an equitable opportunity for qualified students to gain the education that they need without coming out at the end with a gigantic debt to pay off and the difficulty in finding work that could help them pay off that debt.”
Sangha feels Canadians should support this proposal. “If they look at our budget,” he says, “we’ve managed to actually have a transparent budget that is available for anybody to look at and that actually balances.” Several European countries have managed to abolish tuition fees and in turn saw economic growth. Maybe this makes sense for Canada too.