Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Monday, June 26, 2006

Interview: Green Party Leadership Candidate May - Conclusion Segment

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Here's the final part of my interview with Elizabeth May, a candidate in the Green Party of Canada's leadership race. If this appeals to you, consider our free newsletter. It's sent out twice a month.

This is part 7 of my interview with Elizabeth May, the interview's concluding segment, which covers the Green leadership candidate's views on Health (in addition to what was published yesterday), and various miscellaneous questions.


d) Much of our current health care focuses on treating illness. How do we shift emphasis to prevention?

Improve the quality of food eaten by Canadians by supporting local organic agriculture. Label food to warn of GMO contamination. Educate Canadians to avoid pre-packaged foods and restaurant meals. Emphasize the ecological, spiritual, educational and community values embedded in a home cooked meal.

Ban or severely restrict any chemicals shown to promote or cause cancer, birth defects, immune-suppression, neurotoxicity.

e) A think tank recently published an article suggesting that if we better managed waiting lines, we could solve our wait-times problem. Health care traffic lights and turnstiles, as it were. What is causing the wait-time crisis? How would you solve the problem?

It is a management issue. Get the back-log dealt with, increase the number of hospital beds (noting that 20% of all hospital beds in Canada were shut down in 1994-5), and stay on top of the issue to avoid backlog.

f)To what extent do you consider over-consumption responsible for obesity? Will the Green Party, under your leadership, make this a priority? (why)

As above in d. It is not just that Canadians eat too much food; it is that we eat the wrong kinds of food -- over-packaged, cheap calories, impoverished of nutritional value. We do not eat enough fruit and vegetables in our diet. We also need to walk and bike more, and drive less, watch less television and spend less time on video games and other sedentary activities...

g) GMOs (Genetically modified organisms) have been touted as being the way to feed the starving people in many countries, since GMOs can produce more crops than non-GMOs. What do you think of that? What are the bioethical implications? Now, what are the policy implications?

Oxfam, Christian Aid and many other groups devoted to alleviating poverty have thoroughly debunked the notion that GMOs "help" the poor. GMOs are produced at huge research costs by companies like Monsanto without a single altruistic motivation. The GMO industry requires full control of seeds, and would ban traditional practices of seed saving. GMOS are about as much to do with helping the poor as a gambling casino does with low income housing.
[Editor's note: Monsanto is a company that sells seeds for crops that don't regenerate or generate seeds, so that farmers need to buy seeds year after year. This is what may is referring to in regards to seed saving. My question was more interested in the massive fruits that were the next big thing to feed more people, but I suppose that isn't where development is going.]

h) (Contest participant question) 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?

No government regulations in any area require proof of safety. The burden of proof to demonstrate a reasonable level of confidence that a new product does not carry unacceptable risks must shift to the proponent/manufacturer, with regulators applying the precautionary principle prior to regulating for use.


How is it you see such big differrences between the CPC and the old PC party?
I've read that Harper's being mentored by Mulroney as it happens.

The differences are enormous. Ask Flora MacDonald or Joe Clark why they are not members of the Harper Conservatives. Mulroney is clearly attempting to help Harper. Nevertheless, Harper completely ignored Mulroney’s clear message to Harper in his Earth Day Gala speech (April 20,2006) that climate change is a real and current threat, "second only to global nuclear war."

[Editor's note: Global nuclear war with who? Al-Qaeda's destroyed camps? The URSS?]

The old Progressive Conservative Party shared key values with Canadians that the Alliance take-over version does not.

Kyoto question (not originally in interview, but correspondence May thought was important):
Since our emissions are up over 25% since Kyoto's ratification, what difference does it make if we stick to it or not? The Americans dropped it and have reduced their emissions!

Actually US emissions have risen by more than one billion tonnes since 1990. Contrary to Harper myth-making, they have not reduced at all. The myth is based on distorting the fact that emissions in the US are up by 16% (which is enormous when one considers that the US is the world's largest polluter, producing 25% of global greenhouse gases), while Canada (with three per cent of world emissions in 1990) has increased by about 24.9%. The escalation in emissions in Canada is primarily due to the boom in the Athabasca tar sands.

Canada can still reach its Kyoto target. Nearly every other Annex 1 country under Kyoto is confident of reaching targets and many have already well over-shot that goal.
Kyoto matters (even if we try to reach our target and fall short) because it is the world's only hope of finding a global solution to a global problem. Negotiations are underway now, having been launched in December 2005 at the UN Climate Conference in Montreal for a second commitment period to begin as soon as the first one (2008-2012) is concluded. Without global action to bring down emissions sharply, on the order of 30% below 1990 levels by 2020, humanity could face unmanageable levels of climate chaos through increasing storms, sea level rise and weather of mass destruction. This is the real global security threat.

[Editor's note: I made a mistake here; as May notes, the US increased emissions. However, they increased less than we did, which was the result of specific efforts. Oh, and it isn't Harper or the CPC that convinced me of that, it's the mediocre mainstream media (when will I ever learn?).]

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At 5:14 p.m., Canadian Politico Blogger HisHighness said:


At 6:00 p.m., Canadian Politico Blogger lecentre said:

Haha lol.

Not sure what you're referring to? I want to protect the environment, and wanted to prior to interviewing May. lol

Otherwise, if you saw part one of the interview, you'd realize we don't agree on nearly anything in foreign affairs, and are so-so on economics. My positions haven't changed really since conducting the interview, if that reassures you. Actually, one thing has changed: I've come to reall respect May and appreciate her intellect.


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