Good afternoon, everybody, and thanks again for joining us for an online chat leading up to the vote on May 2nd. Our guest today is Cathy MacLellan, Green Party candidate for Kitchener-Waterloo. Thanks for stopping by, Cathy. Are you ready for some questions?
Yes, Mike I'm glad to be here and I welcome your questions. I'm typing on a key board that is a dinosaur but I'll do my best.
Sorry, gang. We've had a brief computer meltdown on Cathy's end. And in the middle of such a great answer! We'll be back up and running in no time.
Sorry folks, shorter answers... I ran in 08, got 12.1 %, am the national Green Party Natural Resources and Energy Critic, locally have and am serving on WCEAC... I have worked on this campaign for the last 2 1/2 years..
Chris, that is yet to be determined and why this is such a fascinating campaign. If on election day voter turnout increases, I'd say social media played a positive role. It is certainly raising issues that otherwise would not be talked about. Fingers crossed.
Tom, I don't think Mr. Harper was "beat up" last night at all. If E. May had been there well maybe he would have faced more difficult questions and more of a challenge.
Carl, we have a fully costed platform which can be viewed at www.greenparty.ca. We are also the only party that has a comprehensive (150 page) document called Vision Green outlining all of the ways that the GPC would affect policy change. On the economy, Greens would like to see our economy face the complexities of this century, climate change, resource depletion, the growing and serious gap between the rich and the poor, the belief that the only way an economy can function is if there is continued economic growth (a dream really)and the fact that energy (which is what every western economy requires is only going to get more expensive. We have traditional parties that do not acknowledge these very real issues. the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment. Canada is richly blessed with natural resources, a well educated population and strong democratic institutions. These need to be protected. A few green MPs would help make this conversation happen, people want it.
E. May talks about everything, at the rally held this past Sunday in Waterloo, she never mentioned the debates. We are all about the issues, it's all Im talking about at the doors. People are hungry for debate on the issues that they know will affect their future and their children's future.
Students have a very difficult time right now. When I graduated from UW in 1985, I had a debt of $3000.000, the average debt today for students is $30,000. I found a full time job immediately that paid $21,000. annually. Today, a student would need to get a job that pays $210,000. annually to be in the same situation as I was. There is something very wrong with this picture. Also, students are not finding many quality full time jobs as they were when I finished. The Greens would extend the 6 month grace period before paying back loans is required to 2 years, interest free. We need an economy that serves the kind of careers that students are becoming experts in. The fastest growing faculty at UW is the Environmental Studies Dep. if we have a government that denies the climate problem and other s related to the new for new energy industries how can these job be created?
Good question Bob: I am confident that I can represent this riding as well if not better than any of the other candidates. True, as I will not be part of the governing party I may not be able to dump millions of our own dollars here but I think I can be bneficial in other ways. 1. Having even one Green in Ottawa will do a lot for our international rep. which is in tatters, I'm referencing the democaratic deficit, the lack of action on climate change, our pushing of the tar sands as ethical oil. Greens are holding positions of authority in many nations, they cannot believe that with almost 1 million votes we no representation. 2. It's time to send a woman to represent this riding! 3. This is a riding that gets entrepeneurship, innovation, collaboration, my experience in co-founding ARISE, taking it to the market, building and struggling to bring a new industry to this country is exactly what many of the voters in KW are doing.
Despite the dinosaur-era computer we've stuck Cathy on (it's actually been the same for every guest, to be fair), she's flying across the keyboard now. Some great questions coming in so far, too. Keep them coming! Cathy can clearly keep up. Our next question comes from J.
The problem that happened in 08 was that 10,000 Liberal voters stayed home and didn't vote. It's important to vote for what you want not just against something. I would challenge the assumption that the Liberals really offer a vision of Canada that is that different from the Conservatives. Because I was able to get the number of votes I did in the last election, I am able to put on an even stronger campaign this time. So, yes every vote does count. If my presence in this campaign raises issues that otherwise would not have been raised and increses voter turnout I will be very satisfied.
Being Green has enabled Germany to be the largest and strongest economy in the EU. When the Berlin Wall fell, there was 30% unemployment in East Germany, what did they do? They created, incented, green industry, it worked marvellously, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. We can do that here too. BAU will do nothing for our economy. Trade relationships will depend on how well a country is managing carbon, to ignore this is to place our country in jeopardy. We have a government that wants to put all its eggs in the oil and gas basket. And we are actually lobbying other countries to lower their regulations (environmental) so we can sell our stuff to them. This is unacceptable.
Yes, Elizabeth May will win her seat this time! I'd like to join her and a few other Greens, a little green caucas would really shake things up for traditional parties. This election is a tough one, people are frightened of a Harper majority. I remind people that Harper has his KW seat already (sadly) we will not be adding to the total that he needs to get to a majority. I encourage people to not vote out of fear, vote for what you want, vote for a representative that is not "bobble head" of the leader, I am running for a party yes, but I have my own mind and desires for this country, I connect to the vision of the Green Party and beilieve that most of the voters in KW would too, if you can read Vision Green before election day, www.greenparty.ca
Time to sound our 10-minute warning (we've added a little more time today because we got off to a late start and had a small technical glitch -- all on our end). We'll get Cathy to take a couple more questions before closing remarks.
It will take a long time to implement this program which is unfortuante, Even our local police chief Torigian has said that he favours legalizing marijuana. As a person who grew up in a family with an alcoholic parent I can personally attest that alcohol is a far more dangerous substance, affects more people and plays a far more disastrous and distructive role in society than marijuana. Studies have shown this over and over. Spending a lot of resources on this kind of victimless crime is wrong and it means we are actually less safe.
Lucy vote for me because I care. I have given the last 21/2 years of my life trying to get the message that our country is in peril, that our democracy is at risk, that our government is governing as if it is 1911 not 2011. There are vested corporate interests that have the ear of our government in a way that is just plain wrong. We need our government to have our interests in their mind first, over the past 20 plus years this has become the number one problem here in Canada, it is not being addressed I will try to raise it in more detail during the debates.
Quite the lively chat today! Thanks for all the great questions and sorry for those we simply could not get to. Unfortunately, we have run out of time. Before we say goodbye, Cathy, any final remarks?
An interesting opportunity Mike. Thank you. I encourage everyone to come out to the local debates they are listed on my website www.votecathy.ca, I'm on twitter KWCathy and facebook. Engagement is what I like to see. I hope you will all consider whether our present group of candidates does represent your views and can fulfill the mandate they are given when elected. I'd like your vote on May 2nd, you will not regret it!
Thanks again for sharing some time with us today, Cathy. And thanks to all of you for the questions. Be sure to come back at Noon tomorrow when we spend an hour with Kitchener-Waterloo Conservative candidate, Peter Braid. Talk to you then.