Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why I'm Starting to Turn Green

This federal election has been tough for me. I mean, I know what I don't want - that's a Harper government of any stripe but particularly not a majority. As for the government I want, that's a little harder to define. The Liberals have never really excited me. The NDP have irked me since the Alexa McDonough days when the party that should have worried about labour issues seemed to base it's whole platform around children and the elderly. Not that I have anything against children and the elderly, it's just that I expected more from the NDP and didn't get it.

This has left me with few options. One year, I even voted Marxist-Leninist because it was only in the fringe parties that I saw my interests being addressed.

This year, though, I may wind up turning Green. I've never really had much interest in the party. I guess I never really looked at what they stood for other than the environment. Looking at their platform, though, I see a lot to like:

Restoring the GST to 6 per cent from its currently 5 per cent. Transfer the revenue to cities for environmental infrastructure projects such as public transit.

$50-a-tonne carbon tax that would that would be used to fund poverty reduction measures and reduce income taxes.

Mandatory three-week vacation.

Reduced payroll taxes to encourage more employment instead of more overtime.

They also want to decriminalize marijuana. Not something that will affect me, personally, but I do have friends who will like that. Besides, I've never really understood how alcohol can be legal and even promoted with massive amounts of advertising while marijuana is vilified. And, no, Cheech and Chong movies don't count as advertising.

As part of their environment platform, they are also big into trains. I'm not sure how feasible the notion of twinning rails are as it's pretty much already been done where it is most cost effective, but more money into infrastructure and technology will make the greener way even, well, greener.

Besides, you have to love a party that's willing to campaign by train. It sure beats the other parties, who talk about the environment and then jet off to the next town.

Perhaps we should require all the parties to campaign by train. Put them all on one train (with a suite of cars devoted to each party) and then, rather than popping into towns for meaningless soundbites, they may be tempted to engage in actual dialogue and debate. Heck, if they were forced to share the same dining car each night, they might actually find ways to bridge the ever widening gaps between their parties.

With a campaign train, they would wind up visiting more communities, big and small, close and remote (how about having the debate in Churchill, Manitoba or White River, Ontario). Of course, other modes of transportation would be allowed for regions not covered by rail, like the Territories, P.E.I. and Newfoundland.

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