Well, it's official - Canadians go to the polls Oct 14th. From now until then we will have to endure the backstabbing and mudslinging that is mistaken/substituted for intelligent discussion of the issues. I have stated my view that the ALL the issues in this election basically track back to the environmental and energy mess we find ourselves in.
So what do the various parties have to say about environment and energy?
The Liberals have proposed a plan called The Green Shift based on plans that are working other places in the world, including (gasp) Sweden! Perhaps Stephan Dion has some Svedish blood! At any rate he needs to offer a more cohesive explanation of exactly what the Liberals plan to do with the money raised via the carbon tax. But it's a start, and to his credit Dion maintains a dignified tone.
I hesitate to link to the Conservative's environmental issues page. They don't simply criticize their opponents, they ridicule them in a nasty personal way. While they crow about the very little they have done, and brag on their extremely modest environmental goals, they spend over half the page mudslinging, and misrepresenting what other parties have done on behalf of the environment. Stephan Harper is going to run a mean-spirited campaign, which speaks volumes about his character and his party.
The New Democratic Party talks about their record on environmental issues but may have forgotten that you are supposed to have an election platform. I can't find a statement on what their policies on pollution and global warming would be should Jack Layton be elected PM. I like Jack Layton. I think there's potential for the NDP to be a leader in a lot of fields Canadians care about. But they can't seem to get organized into a cohesive force.
Then there's the new political kid on the block, the Green Party of Canada. Green Leader Elizabeth May said in a recent speech:
"...we are emerging to a new reality. The Fossil Fuel Era has been our adolescence – years of partying like there was no tomorrow. The party's over. We are ready to make the next leap – as momentous as abolishing slavery or giving women the vote. We are ready to make the fundamental shifts that allow us to live in balance with our life support systems, respecting each other, achieving social and economic justice, peace and democracy."
Now there's a party a Buddhist can get behind! Green Parties around the world share common values as expressed in the Charter of the Global Greens. The policies of the Green Party of Canada are based on six fundamental principles: Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Participatory Democracy, Non-Violence, Sustainability and Respect for Diversity.
Of course the Greens have not been allowed to participate in the "democratic" candidate debates, and they have been portrayed as nutters and long-haired hippies by the media. The question might be asked, "What are they afraid of?" With a large percentage of people saying that the environment and energy issues are their most pressing concerns this election, the "old boys" may soon find out they have good reason to fear that new kid on the block.
Canadians, if you'd like to add your name to the petition for the inclusion of the Green Party in the National Candidates Debate click here.