Leeds-Grenville Green Party Candidate Charlie Taylor doesn’t pull any punches.

September 24, 2011

Your leader, Mike Schreiner, has been shut out of the Leaders’ Debate by T.V. Ontario, CBC, Global and Sun TV, even though Manitoba Green Party leader James Beddome debated on CBC this week, and B.C., New Brunswick, and P.E.I. have had Green participation in their televised debates.

Obviously it’s disappointing that Mike was shut out.  We received 8% of the popular vote in the last election.  Over 350,000 Ontarians voted for the Green Party.  These people deserve to see the leader of the party they support matched up against the leaders of the old parties.

The media are corporate entities and they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo because the status quo works quite well for corporations.  They keep getting raising the bar as the Green Party grows and enjoys more success.  This is why I tell people that it’s really important to vote for the Green Party at this point because we have been working for several decades to build support for the Green Party and we’re on the verge of a breakthrough.

What’s the point of preaching proportional representation when the big three do everything they can to keep you away from the table?

Some form of proportional representation is crucial because there is still this idea lingering that a vote for the Green Party is a wasted ballot because we might not win in any particular riding.  This leads to strategic voting whereby people vote against the choice they find the most odious, but not in favour of the one they actually prefer.

When you consider that people who vote for the Green Party are really voting their conscience and not voting strategically, it is remarkable that we got 8% of the popular vote in the last election.   Now if we were to switch to a proportional representation system or a single transferable vote system (which I prefer) I think we would see the Green Party vote double overnight because so many people like the Green Party but choose not to vote for us for strategic reasons.

I’ll bite:  what is a single transferable vote system?

STV is a system they have in Ireland. Basically you get a ballot and you rank your choices.  First, everybody’s first choice is counted.  Then the candidate with the fewest first choices is eliminated, and then all those ballots which had that candidate as a first choice then have the second choice counted, and so on.

In the local by-election in 2010 the PC candidate won with 67% of the vote.  What are you trying to achieve in running against the blue machine?

7.5 to 8% of voters in Leeds-Grenville favour the Green Party and they have the right to express that at the ballot box.  We need to run to ensure we don’t lose the credibility we have built up over the last two decades.

It is frustrating obviously to run in this riding.  There is the feeling that the Conservatives are the legacy party.  I think there is a certain amount of intellectual laziness:  people don’t really bother to inform themselves that the flavour of the PC party has changed since the days of their fathers and grandfathers.  It’s definitely no longer a party which emphasizes fiscal responsibility, wholesome values, and a concern for the common good.

Solar farms are on everyone’s mind in this area.

The green energy act that the Liberals introduced was a great piece of legislation that was horribly implemented.  And it was done so badly that there’s has been a backlash against green energy.  This is very, very dangerous.  It puts us in a position that there is a real danger that Tim Hudak and the Conservatives may get into power and send us back to the dark ages as far as energy is concerned.

What makes green energy work in countries like Germany and Denmark is community ownership.   Green energy projects should be a revenue generator for individuals and communities who are willing participants in the projects.  In Ontario the Green Energy Act has turned into just another corporate cash grab.

Rather than giving billion dollar contracts to Samsung and allowing them to make money at the expense of Ontario residents, we think Ontario residents should be investing in the infrastructure so that they’d be getting cheques from the power company rather than bills.  I think you’ll find that communities are much more accepting of wind and solar projects if they are making money from them.

In 2009 when I asked a friend in high tech about the health-records debacle which had cost taxpayers a billion dollars over ten years, he shrugged and dismissed the mess with: “Sometimes that happens.” 

eHealth was a governance problem created by the Conservatives, but the Liberals didn’t do it any favours.  Once again, poor implementation has soured the public on a good piece of legislation.  Having health records online makes sense, but there’s no reason why it should cost a billion dollars.

One of the problems in Ontario is that there are very limited consequences for mismanagement in the political sphere.  The three old parties take turns misgoverning the province.  And when people get fed up, they rotate in a new flavour of the same old stuff and nothing really changes.   That’s why we need a new party.

And why will the new party not end up just like the others when it has had a turn at the rotation?

To me it is a question of philosophy, and the Green Party has a fundamentally different philosophy from the old parties.  We really feel that the old parties represent big government, big corporations, and big labour.  The Green Party is all about empowering individuals and communities to take ownership of their own destinies.

We don’t offer up easy-sounding, quick-fix solutions to complex problems.  We try to find the right solution, even if it doesn’t seem politically appealing on the surface.  The other parties are promising candy and we say, “Eat your vegetables.”

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