Q. What is your prediction on voter turnout? Do you think people are sick of going to the polls?
A: No one has a definitive answer on why voter turnout has been so low in recent years. Many suggest it’s because voters feel alienated from a government that simply does not respond to their concerns about health care, education or an economy that is designed for family interests rather than the profit of mega-corporations. People are frustrated. If the Harper government had been honest with Canadians about the cost of its proposals in the House, there would have been no embarrassing issue about their contempt of Parliament.
Q: We’ve heard a lot from the Conservatives about the dangers of coalition governments. What do you think of forming a coalition with the other parties?
A: Coalitions are common across Europe, New Zealand and Australia. They are common in countries that rank higher than Canada on scales of economic competitiveness, innovation and social spending. Coalitions form to represent the majority, which is what democracy is all about. It is extremely reckless to try to run a country with only 37 per cent of the popular support. That builds tremendous pressures of discontent.
Q: What is it like running in a riding with such a long history of voting Conservative or Reform?
A: I have found that people want to consider alternatives. There is significant realization that the Reform/Conservative agenda has not brought what they were expecting in terms of fiscal policy.
Q: Do you think you have a chance to win?
A: Greens have a very good chance to win. Greens have the momentum in this riding, with a 320 per cent increase in voter share in the last election.
We went way up, while the Liberals and NDP went down.
If Canada had proportional representation, Greens would have had almost as many seats in the last parliament as the Bloc.
Q: How would this riding specifically benefit from going Green?
A: Voters would gain a voice for their concerns.
Imagine the amount of press and political attention the first Green MP will attract. Instead of having the voice of Okanagan-Shuswap overpowered by the PM’s office, it would receive national attention.
Q: Should you be elected, what would be your personal commitment to this riding?
A: I would be committed to engaging with people; with individual voters and with community organizations, including municipal and regional councils and First Nations.
I would give fair representation to the water and food security groups, to local farmers wanting a larger share of local markets, to community resource centres, to local business, to the forest sector and tourism.
Q: If elected, what specific infrastructure goals would you have for the Shuswap?
A: As part of a nation-wide energy restructuring and conservation program, I would encourage incentives for a shift to making renewables such a geothermal and solar more affordable, as well as encourage the manufacture of components here in the valley.
The situation with source water capacity and protection around developments and with septic systems needs attention.
Shuswap tourism could be enhanced, with an expansion of local and interlinking trails, parks and facilities throughout the region. The potential for eco-tourism – farm, horse and wilderness experiences is quite substantial.
I’d also like to review transportation throughout the Shuswap-Okanagan, to look at improvements for regional rail, bus and community-adapted shuttle services.