Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Green Party's Elizabeth May Interview - 4

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The following is the fourth part of Centrerion Canadian Politics' interview with the Green Party of Canada's leadership candidate, Elizabeth May. It finishes the economics section of the interview displaying May's reasonable grasp of the country's economic affairs, and moves on to May's oft-dissapointing, impractical views on foreign policy. (Paraphrase: "All we need to do to stop Iran is condemn Indian-US nuclear proliferation, and then everything will work out...")

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Green Party of Canada leadership candidate Elizabeth May speaks to Centrerion Canadian Politics on economics, the environment and foreign affairs.

i) How are environmental treaties such as Kyoto, Rio, and others affecting Canada's economy in terms of GDP, the unemployment rate and other standard measures of economic performance?


Not at all. We could, of course, be enhancing our economy by moving faster to meet the targets of various treaties, particularly Kyoto.

j) Have Canada's free trade agreements had an impact on the environment? How can such impacts be proven/disproven?

Yes there have been significant impacts. Some, such as air pollution causing deaths of Mexican children at the US border have been documented by the NAFTA side agreement's North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

Others, such as the chilling effect of investor–state challenges under Chapter 11 of NAFTA have been documented. I wrote this chapter, "Fighting the MAI," in Dismantling Democracy: The Multilateral Agreement on Investment and its Impact. Edited by Andrew Jackson and Matthew Sanger, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, (James Lorimer and Co, Ltd. 1998). The MMT-Ethyl challenge under Chapter 11 did serious damage to Canada's willingness/ability to regulate. I have recently written a chapter in a McGill Queens University Press analysis of ten years of NAFTA, documenting environmental impacts. (Breaking the Free Trade Addiction: An Intervention on Environmental Grounds, co-authored with Sarah Dover, in press)



i) One of the readers who participated in our contest heard that ethanol actually requires just as much energy to create as it produces. What do you know/ think of this theory?

What is your opinion on the Conservatives' support for ethanol?

Not all ethanol is the same. The George W. Bush approach is to turn corn into ethanol as a prop up to farmers, using coal fired plants to run the ethanol plants. No gains for the environment at all.

Even without the coal factor, the energy intensity of modern agricultural practices to grow corn makes the benefit from ethanol very marginal.

On the other hand, cellulose ethanol is brilliant in truly reducing carbon emissions. Canadian technology (Iogen and a few others) has determined ways to convert wood chips, straw and switch grass into ethanol. In Brazil, the use of sugar cane to make ethanol, now replacing gasoline in much of the country is another clear winner.
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9) Foreign Affairs


a) What is your vision for Canada in international politics?


As above, answer 1. Lloyd Axworthy's vision of our use of "soft power," in conflict, poverty and environmental issues.

b) With you as leader, what would the Green Party's goals be for Canada's foreign policy?

Peace-maker, global leader in the transfer of environmentally advanced technologies to reduce pollution and improve energy efficiency, renewables etc.

c) President Ahmadinejad of Iran is developing his country's nuclear energy resources with the help of Russia, China and until recently, France. What is your opinion on this development in foreign affairs?

This is a dangerous development. The potential for nuclear proliferation runs high. The community of nations is undermined in confronting this by Bush's decision to trade in nuclear technology with India in contravention of the treaty. The lifting of trade restrictions on nuclear activity with India was tied to India joining Bush's "alternative" to Kyoto, the fraud known as the Asia Pacific Partnership on Climate Technology...

c) What should Canada do in that respect? Do you think the Francophonie can pressure France, or play a role in some other way? If so, how? If not, why not?

Canada must condemn the failure to abide by the NPT in the case of the US/India deal in order to have any credibility in condemning Iran.

Here are some related articles:

Tangled Bank Science carnival
Elizabeth May Interview Part 3
Creative Taxing Can Save the Environment
Green Debate Video

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