Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Monday, June 05, 2006

Green Party Contest Update

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Following the exceptional participation in our Green Party Interview Contest, I asked Elizabeth May and David Chernushenko if we could postpone our interviews slightly. Both have responded in the affirmative. The point is that the contest is ongoing, and submissions are still welcome. I've also heard that a third candidate has since joined the race, and will attempt to get an interview with them as well. (Before I forget, much thanks to Alberta's last Liberal, Calgary Grit, for helping promote this.)

For those of you who missed the initial post, CCP is holding a contest asking for suggestions as to questions you'd like to have asked of the Green Party leadership candidates. We've been granted interviews, and want your input on what questions and topics should be addressed.

Here are the submissions (including email from friends and family) that have been received so far. Feel free to skim them and just read a few at random. More suggestions in the comments section of this post are welcome, of course.

From the comments section of the original post:

indievoter commented:

Congratulations, I look forward to reading the interviews. One thing I'd like to find out is how the candidates would address comments by Stephane Dion that he isn't a single-issue candidate based on his environmental concerns but that the Green party is limted in that regard. What I'd like to see illustrated would be how a seemingly non-related issue could have an innovative solution rooted in a green-based approach. Any real life examples would be great.
11:39 AM
604 Plonker commented:

Excellent idea, I'll definitely be submitting questions in the days to come.

Any particular deadline? When do you plan to send the questions to the candidates, and post the answers?
11:48 AM

The Special Joint Committee of the House of Commons and the Senate on Custody and Access Report recommended that a child have equal access rights to both parents.

Would you [the candidate] endorse as first principle that "a child must have equal access rights to both parents after a divorce unless and excepting there are extenuating circumstances," and amend existing legislation to reflect this right?
12:19 PM
berlynn commented:

What, specifically, do we as a country need to do locally and globally to curb the devastation of our planet and how will you go about implementing it?
12:29 PM
lecentre commented:

Indievoter: Thanks for good words. I'm not sure I understand what you want me to ask them in regards to Stephane Dion, though. I appreciate your point about solving unrelated issues with a green approach, though.
604: I'm looking to carry out the interviews this Thursday, though if participation is high enough, I'll obviously look at extending it. For now, the deadline is Wednesday May 31st, 11:59 pm.
1:30 PM
lecentre commented:

Herbinator: good question, very professionally phrased. Much appreciated.

Berlynn, I appreciate your point, but could you be more specific about what you're referring to as 'the devastation of our planet'. There are many things that could be 'devastating' it, obviously, so naming a few of the more important ones would be great.
1:32 PM
calgarygrit commented:

I'd be very curious to hear what concrete ideas they have to get a Green MP elected in Canada. Besides the usual "lobby to be included in the debates".

Because this party really won't be taken seriously until they elect an MP, I think the main focus of the next leader should be to try and win a seat for the party somewhere.
3:18 PM
berlynn commented:

I guess I could narrow it to the devastation of our air, our land, our peoples.
3:26 PM
indievoter commented:

To help clarify my question I'd like to reference a quote by Elizabeth May:

"In searching for solutions, reorienting that mindset, we go back to where this conversation started: life versus money. If we got that orientation right. If we reversed it. If we stopped playing Russian roulette with the planet’s atmosphere. If, between life and money, we chose life. If that was how we organized society, if that were the way governments functioned, if the precautionary principle was considered more important than the profit motive, then we might get all these things right."

When I read this my brain suddenly unlocked and I thought, hey, what if...!

To put this revelation in context, I've only ever voted NDP or Liberal in my life. In the past I just accepted what I was told by those parties - that the Green Party is a one issue party. That's the mindset the Green party has an opportunity to address and I think the more specific examples we have, the more people will debate and discuss and hopefully think differently than in the past.
3:50 PM
Keller commented:

Will the Green Party continue it's current, and in my opinion very smart, path of fiscal conservatism combined with a socially liberal agenda with the focus on the environment?

Or will it, under your leadership, follow the European Green Party path? Which essentially is an NDP style socialist party, with a focus on the environment.

Personally one of the main reasons I voted for the Green Party in two federal, and one provincial, elections is because of the current ideological focus. Although I heartily disagree with your stance on nuclear power.
5:31 PM
Herbinator commented:

The US Green Party passed this resolution in November of last year:
"The Green Party of the United States (GPUS) publicly calls for divestment from and boycott of the State of Israel until such time as the full individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people are realized."
Is solidarity with the American Greens important, and do you support Resolution 190?
6:02 PM
KO commented:

How about you ask, as green leader would you support increased nuclear power, or increased hydro power to meet our power needs (and don't let them off saying we can conserve or solar/wind to meet all our energy needs, the sun doesn't shine all the time, and sometimes the wind doesn't blow)

and how about this:
Do you believe a product should have to be proven safe before being introduced, even if it has met all other government regulations on that product?
6:48 PM
Jason Cherniak commented:

I have often heard that ethanol actually requires just as much energy to create as it produces. I would like to know what the candidates think of this theory.
8:25 PM
lecentre commented:

Great questions all!

C-Grit: Excellent point. I'd like to have you manage my campaign strategy if ever I went into politics, you know that? I keep noticing that you have a sharp eye for federal politics... Anyways, I hope that becomes one of the more popular questions.

Jason/KO: The ethanol theory and the nuclear question are obviously quite relevant. Alternative energy sources, if current trends continue, will be given attention.

KO - What do you mean it has to be proven safe? Aren't the re government regulations requiring that? Why wouldn't something need to be proven safe?

Keller - Your question is what their fiscal policy will be? What they would do as Finance Minister, kind of thing?
And are you referring to my stance on nuclear power or the Green Party's?

Berlynn - Again, that's vague. For instance, when you say 'the air', do you mean there's nuclear radiation, smog, chemicals giving off dangerous fumes, other stuff?

Indie - You're saying that you want to hear their approach to changing public perception of the Greens as being only, well, Green?

Herbinator - I have no intention of promoting ridiculous questions on issues that only exist in the minds of the uninformed. People say divest from Caterpillar to hurt Israel, for example. Well, the irony is that Cats are key to the Arabs' economy too. Do you support divestment now?

I'm open to questions on the Israeli-Arab conflict, but not on whether the Greens will support inanities (and I would be terribly shocked and dissapointed if they did).
12:05 AM
e commented:

Ooo! Ooo! I have a question:

The Green Party positions itself as a party of the grass roots. But over the past few years, the grass roots portions of organization (namely policy development and internal governence) have been withering due to neglect.

How do we correct that, and see that it doesn't happen again?
1:03 AM
Keller commented:

Fiscal ideology rather. Their current position is basically Red Tory with green overtones. They support a welfare state of some sort, and businesses are free to make money but must do so in an environmentally responsible manner. As opposed to the NDP (and European Green Parties) who espouse a traditional socialist ideology on finance.

And I was referring to the Green Party's stance on nuclear power (I don't actually know what yours is) especially given the number of environmentalists that have come out in favour of it over the last few years, notably including a co-founder of Greenpeace.
11:14 PM
lecentre commented:

E and keller, good quality stuff.

I've really appreciated how popular this has gotten, and think it can go further, so I'm going to ask the two candidates if we can delay the interviews a little.

From email

Fellow Centrerion Ilya wrote:
I think it's important to also address
the fact that the two candidates are competing with each other and thus have different views. An example of the type of questions I would suggest is "What are some of your policies that would distinguish the Green Party under your leadership from the Green Party under the leadership of your opponent, May (or Chernushenko)?"

This will lead to a healthy discussion by well-informed Green Party activists about the merits and weaknesses of various "Green" policies.

From a friend in BC:
I guess most people wonder about how well they would govern based
on two things: their lack of experience and the heavy
environmental focus of their platform. I would
probably ask questions regarding those two issues.
However, I would particularly focus on their
environmental leanings, since a government is supposed
to primarily concern itself with people and society,
not plants and animals.

The name of their party somewhat insinuates that
people come second to environment. I believe they
have been trying to change this image for awhile now,
but without much success. Most people still see them
as "tree-huggers."

I’m actually on their website right now glancing at
their 2006 platform. I have a personal interest in
immigration policy and on the impact that immigrants
have on Canadian identity and unity. I believe that
immigration can have a positive impact on Canada.
However, it can also negatively impact Canadian social
cohesion if immigrants are not properly integrated and
socialized into Canadian society. I do not see the
Canadian government taking the necessary steps to
integrate immigrants into our country.

If immigrants remain too "foreign" (for lack of a
better word), national unity is weakened and core
Canadian values and beliefs are not upheld by all
citizens. You see people emigrating from countries
with values that are actually opposed to Canadian
values. Take, for instance, immigrants from North
Africa. In countries such as Algeria women and people
of other religious orientations (Jews and Christians)
are not only ascribed less respect and value, but are
also treated unequally.

Just because Canada is a multicultural country does
not mean that we can invite people with harmful values
and beliefs into our nation, especially without proper
social integration. Multiculturalism in Canada means
intercultural appreciation, tolerance, and sharing,
within a bilingual framework and with respect to core
Canadian values, such as tolerance, anti-racism,
anti-sexism, etc. Therefore, this multiculturalism
should only embrace those elements of a culture which
are not discriminatory, harmful, or in someway
damaging to Canadian citizens or to Canadian values.

Given the Green party's desire to welcome all
newcomers and to embrace their social and ethnic
differences, I am curious to know how they
simultaneously plan on protecting Canadian values,
identity and national solidarity.

The Green party loosely says that they wish to "work
with municipalities and provinces to improve the
integration of new Canadians into the multicultural
fabric of our country."

What does this mean? In what capacity do they want to
work with municipalities and provinces? In what way
do they want to improve the integration of immigrants
into Canada's society? Do they have any social
integration programs or ideas in the works?

Those would be my questions since this is my area of
interest. They also mentioned some interesting things
on their website regarding the Anti-Terrorism Act and
the Public Safety Act with regards to immigrants.

From a professor of mine who teaches a course entitled War, Peace and the World Order:
One question I would ask the leadership candidates is whether they agree with the criticism that the Green Party has shifted away from its roots. I would also ask them what they believe we need to do to confront global warning and their opinion on the Conservative Party's support for ethanol as a solution.

Perhaps you could also ask them about GMOs and their views on the probelms facing our health care system would be interesting. I am waiting to see some more attention paid to the environmental causes of disease (perhaps you could ask them about the epidemic of cancer that we are facing) and the need to focus more on prevention than treatment. Why not ask them about their views on economic globalization as well.

I replied to her to make sure I understood her suggestions, which she said I did. They boiled down to this:

1) If they agree it's shifted away from its progressive roots;
2) What can be done to confront global warming?
3) Their opinion for the Conservatives support for ethanol;
GMOs, problems facing health care? What specifically?
4) Views on environmental causes for disease, specifically cancer;
5) What can be done to shift emphasis to prevention?
6) Opinion on economic globalization is a key issue.


From fellow Centrerion Kerry:

What changes in direction do you have planned for the Green Party, if any?

What new arguments do you plan to use to convince the Broadcasters Consortium to let the Green Party into the leadership debates?

How important is it to continue to attract supporters from all ends of the political spectrum?

If a Green candidate other than the leader wins a seat, will he or she be expected to step aside in favour of the leader?

What makes your approach different from that of your opponent?

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At 6:25 p.m., Canadian Politico Blogger Mark Francis said:

As of today, Jim Fannon is still shy two nomination signatures (98 out of 100). He submitted 115.

There's controvery over this. It seems people get to be members when they use an intermediary's credit card to purchase the membership, but get disqualified when they nominate people. So far, there seems to be no constitutional support for this position.

Jim found out that you can't nominate yourself. Once again, no supporting documentation on that claim.

Some members were, to their surprise, expired very recently.

And so it goes...

At 1:57 a.m., Canadian Politico Blogger lecentre said:

That's really interesting; I didn't know there were such devious things going on in Green Party affairs. I don't understand though, whether he is or isn't officially accepted into the race now?
Anyways, if he can't get 100 people to back him, what impact would he make on the race?


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