"Oceans and Fisheries" Critic of the Green Party of Canada
 Martin Willison is running in the June 28, 2004 federal election in the riding of Halifax West, Nova Scotia.

(email: greenmartinwillison@yahoo.ca )

"If you're a Liberal, join the Liberal party. We need to green all the parties. That way we can't lose."

Dr. Martin Willison is a senior professor at Dalhousie University, president of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Nova Scotia, and an award-winning environmental activist. Martin's work was instrumental in the recent establishment of protection for deep sea corals in Nova Scotia waters.

Marine life protection sought

By KRISTEN LIPSCOMBE (Halifax Herald, May 10, 2004)

When it comes to Atlantic fisheries, politics always seems to play a significant role. Now some local environmentalists and scientists are pushing for full legal protection for certain marine species in the Maritimes.

Cusk, the harbour porpoise, the northern bottlenose whale and several varieties of Atlantic cod are some of the aquatic species to be considered for listing under the Species At Risk Act. ......//.....

A national body, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, has determined that 91 species should be legally protected. Twelve of those recommendations, including seven Atlantic species, will not be presented to cabinet for consideration at this time.

"We commend that 79 species have been presented to the governor in council," Ms. Bennett said. "However, we really do want to see steps taken to make sure that those 12 omitted species are included as well."

On April 23 Federal Environment Minister David Anderson said he would recommend to cabinet species that should be added to the Species at Risk Act, which was passed last year. The legislation provides protection and ensures mandatory plans to help species recover. There are 233 species on the act's legal list. Although this is the first time scientific assessments of "at-risk" species have been presented to cabinet since the act was proclaimed, Ms. Bennett and others are concerned that the other species are being overlooked.

"If scientists decide that something should be looked at as endangered or at risk in some other way, then the government should act immediately," said Martin Willison, a conservation biologist who teaches at Dalhousie University.

"In all of these cases, the scientific evidence is very strong. The conflict is between economic interests and the interests of the species themselves. The money factor becomes dominant."


"The following are some summary descriptions of the kind of policies that the Green Party of Canada would pursue with respect to oceans and fisheries management if elected to government. The party does not expect to form a government in the coming election, and so will be delighted if the elected government acts on these policies. The policies listed below are simply steps forward. Once these steps have been realized, the Green Party will provide advice on additional progressive steps towards the ultimate goals of creating a better Canada; one characterized by human equity, economic sustainability, and respect for nature.

The Green Party will:

- Rename the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to the Department of Oceans and Fisheries
- Work with other nations to eliminate unsustainable fishing practices on the high seas and to protect vulnerable elements of the world's oceans
- Protect Canadian resources throughout Canada's coastal shelves, including the Grand Banks and Flemish Cap
- Place high priority on the restoration of ecosystem health to degraded coastal regions of Canada's oceans and seas
- Reduce municipal wastes and sewage, clean up polluted rivers, and pay attention to coastal erosion
- Apply the precautionary approach to ocean prospecting and mining, by placing first priority on protecting the marine environment from harm
- Accelerate the creation of marine sanctuaries which are planned systematically using both local and expert knowledge.
- Actively encourage innovative non-government marine conservation programs like the Baja to Bering Initiative
- Act quickly to protect very sensitive habitats such as Atlantic corals and Pacific sponge reefs
- Fundamentally change fisheries management by using adaptive ecosystem-based and community-based approaches
- Reduce marine habitat damage by creating ocean zones in which permitted fishing gears are matched to habitat robustness
- Fairly accommodate First Nations commercial fishers into existing sustainably-managed commercial marine fisheries
- Respect the prior rights of subsistence fishers and other traditional marine resource users whose operations are predominantly non-commercial
- Remove subsidies from aquaculture
- Approve aquaculture in open systems only when the cultured species is native to the area in which it is being cultured and where diseases will not spread to wild populations"

Martin Willison will speak out for protection of the environment and species at risk now, placing their preservation before short-term economic concerns.

Preserving the environment, and changing our behavior to avoid destroying species at risk, is not something that we can continue to put off until a later date. One of the 12 species at risk that is being denied immediate protection in Canada is cusk, a deep-dwelling groundfish that has experienced a spectacular population decline in recent years. The current government hesitates to protect cusk because of the impact this might have on fishermen. (Check your local fish counter - cusk is still frequently available for sale. Why? Cusk is a "threatened" species in Canada, and a "species of concern" in the U.S.)


The sweeping downturn that has affected groundfish in general in Atlantic Canada seems to have hit cusk particularly hard. It bears mention in the "fisheries management" debate raging today that cusk has never been found in the stomach of a seal. Never. Not in a single recorded instance. It seems that cusk live too deep to be caught by seals. Martin Willison will try to inject objective facts and reason into the government's current "seal cull" strategy for reviving groundfish stocks in Canada.

Green Party of Canada candidate profile for Martin Willison

Live deep-dwelling cusk photos courtesy Canadian Ocean Habitat Protection Society.

Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
 - Cree Indian prophecy

Green Party of Canada — 2004 Election Platform

Green Party of Canada
2004 Election Platform
Someday is now.
PO Box 997 Station B,
Ottawa , Ontario K1P 5R1
Toll Free: 1-866-868-3447
E-mail: info@greenparty.ca

  This document is also available online in English and French at www.greenparty.ca


Leader's Message – My Inspiration


The Green Party is neither right nor left — we are in front. We are fiscally responsible, socially progressive and committed to environmental sustainability. And unlike traditional parties, we think long term.

In the early 1980's, I became a Conservative in reaction to continued deficit financing by the Liberals. The cumulative debt was growing and interest payments were taking a greater portion of federal dollars. I knew it wasn't sustainable.

In 1984, I learned that a species goes extinct every hour — and extinction is eternal. I realized that the ecological debt we are creating for our children is unforgivable. Economists can tinker with interest rates to deal with debt, but no slight of hand or act of Parliament can bring back an extinct species. This brought about my shift from “fiscal conservative” to “ecological conservative.”

Who is the Green Party?

Our platform presents a positive vision of the future. Our social programs focus on increasing our quality of life. Our economic policy lays the foundations for long-term, sustainable wealth. Our foreign policy makes principled stands on international issues.

The Green Party is committed to:

  • Restoring democracy in Canada by implementing a proportional representation voting system.
  • Making wise investments for better health, better education and clean energy.
  • Ending subsidies that result in more pollution and increased health risks.
  • Creating “green collar” jobs for Canadians.
  • Opposing an Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense system on Canadian soil.

If 25 years ago I had said that the majority of Canadians would be drinking bottled water today, you would have laughed. If I were to say now that we may have to breathe bottled air in 25 years if we don't fundamentally change the way our society works, would you laugh? And if we can't breathe the air, does it really matter whether the government of the day is right or left? — Jim Harris


Someday is Now

As Canadians, we are a fortunate people. We have natural wonders, diverse populations, safe communities and a standard of living that is among the best in the world. Still, some days we feel like we are just barely getting by. Over the last twenty years, we have seen more people working longer hours for less pay, while many other people can't find any work at all. We seem to lack time for the really important things in life, such as family and friends. People are starting to wonder how much more “progress” they can take. In fact, we're not sure that the planet can take it either. Our economy is not sustainable, our quality of life is not improving, but the traditional politicians just keep asking for one more chance . . .

The Green Party has a new proposition for Canadians. We're asking voters to redefine progress and take a more active role in government. We can spend less time on partisan bickering, and more time planning where we want to be in twenty years. We need a plan for tomorrow, today.

When we think long-term, we envision a future in which we can:

  • Spend more time with our families, ride a bike and breathe clean air
  • Share the work and the income more evenly
  • Help our children become confident, healthy adults who are prepared for the future
  • Work with nature, not against it, to create “green collar” jobs
  • Avoid confrontations between “labour” and “management”

Our candidates come from all walks of life. They are farmers, students, professors, civil servants, entrepreneurs, union organizers, bank executives, activists and doctors. We bring together many points of view to create a positive and balanced vision for the future.

What should you expect from a Green Party government?

  • We will protect our children and their grandchildren from being sold out for short-term gains.
  • We will be a voice for sustainable industries and lifestyles.
  • We will avoid government expansion and top-down solutions.
  • We will give voters more power, more choices and a balanced budget.
  • We will protect Canada and our uniquely diverse culture.
  • We will form the most open and democratic government that Canada has ever seen.

Many Canadians are waiting for a political party that they can really believe in. The Green Party has grown from the bottom, up — one conversation at a time, among people who are dedicated to doing politics differently. We are not a political machine. We do not have financial backers with deep pockets. We are just ordinary citizens, making an extraordinary commitment.

Many people are cynical about politics

They think that nothing will ever change. They say we can never have the government we really want. The Green Party understands that frustration — we are frustrated too. But cynicism and frustration will not solve our problem — we can curse the darkness, or light a candle.

How can we create change if we are standing on the sidelines? When we promote our ideas and hold the other parties accountable for their actions, we bring about change.

Will we ever have a better choice than the lesser of two evils? Yes, if we vote for a party who will not settle for the status quo.

What will we do when our lands, our waters and our ecosystems can no longer support the demands we make of them? If we manage our resources well, they will sustain us.

The greatest mistake we can make is to think that we have no power. History is not going to be made somewhere else, by somebody else. We make history. Somebody is us. Someday is now.


My Home and My Family

In today's fast-paced world, we rarely make time to reflect on our lives. We may fret about our deadlines or our waistlines, but when you really think about it… what matters most? The Green Party's approach to family issues starts with reflection and asking questions.

  • Health care costs are rising so rapidly. What is making people sick?
  • Most of a child's intellectual development happens before the age of six. Why are we spending most of our education dollars only after they turn eighteen?
  • What are the long-term consequences if mothers and fathers don't have enough time to spend with their children?

Home, health and family are the most important things in life. Our platform serves the long-term goals of Canadians — creating a better world for our children being the most important.

Childcare and Early Learning – A Foundation for Our Future

Parents are doing their best to give their children opportunities to be successful, happy and healthy. The Green Party is committed to developing a national childcare strategy — one that includes non-profit and professional daycare, increased support for at-home parents and greater focus on family education, health and basic nutrition.

The Green Party will:

  • Raise the benefit levels for parental leave under the Employment Insurance Act.
  • Create tax-incentives for businesses to implement flexible schedules and on-site childcare.
  • Create a national network that links childcare services across all three levels of government and funds local childcare initiatives and facilities.
  • Enforce pay equity for women in the work place.

Currently in Canada, we spend about one dollar of public money on preschool education and care for every forty dollars we spend on education at other age levels. We need to change our thinking to consider the long-term — there's simply no better investment.

Fact: In 1967, only 17% of mothers with a preschool child were in the labour force. By the year 2000, the percentage was four times as high — nearly 70%.


Food and Nutrition – Healthy Eating Made Easy

Today, supermarkets are bigger and food is cheaper than ever before. But are we eating well?

Not so long ago, most families had a small garden nearby, and homegrown food was an important part of our diet. Today, processed foods from factory farms dominate our kitchens. While fast foods are convenient and inexpensive, they come with a long-term cost. A healthy diet should be easy and affordable.

The Green Party will:

  • Provide more education on nutrition, healthy diets and lifestyles in schools and community centers.
  • Implement urban agriculture and “food share” programs to reduce the cost of healthy food for low-income families.
  • Support a nation-wide “healthy lunch and snacks” program from Kindergarten, through to Grade 12.

The Green Party will act to improve the security, safety and nutritional value of our foods, as well as enhance the dietary choices and overall health of Canadians. Eating better means living better — and longer.


Health, Not Just Health Care – Better and More

The Green Party believes that our heath care system is breaking down — not because we are spending too little, but because our lack of foresight is costing too much. Canada 's current economic, environmental and social policies are creating illnesses faster than our health care system can treat them. The Green Party sees the big picture —
Canadians want better health, not just more health care.


Our “Better Health Strategy” will:

  • Reinforce our publicly run, publicly financed, universal health care system.
  • Create opportunities for more outdoor physical activities.
  • Work to include coverage for proven and effective complementary health care -- like chiropractic treatment, or herbal medicines.
  • Provide incentives for companies to reduce stress in the workplace and promote emotional health.

The Green Party is committed to addressing the issues that determine good health — safe housing, nutritious food, rewarding jobs, a clean environment and a healthy self-image.


Health, Not Just Health Care – Reducing Preventable Illness

The frequency of certain diseases in Canada is rising at an alarming rate. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, depression and obesity are all increasingly common. These illnesses are often preventable through improved nutrition, increased physical fitness and a cleaner environment. The Green Party will establish a “Better Health Task Force” to develop holistic strategies to reduce illnesses. Prevention, rather than the current treatment-focused approach, will ensure the stability of our health care system and our economy.

The Green Party will enact policies to:

  • Reduce obesity by 15%, thereby reducing the incidence of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks.
  • Reduce the prevalence of breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers by 15%.
  • Encourage the full-cost pricing of tobacco products and junk food.
  • Ensure that Health Canada has enough funding to continue Aboriginal and population-health initiatives.


Mental Health – Finding Support

Almost everyone knows someone who battles with depression. But did you also know that stress and mental illness are now the number one cause for lost work-time and income?

The Green Party recognizes that mental and emotional health programs are the most neglected components of our health care system. That's why we will build an innovative funding network to support volunteer and non-profit organizations in offering care to our communities.

The Green Party will:

  • Support community based self-help groups, social service agencies, independent living centres and advocacy projects.
  • Re-examine the effectiveness and safety of the increasing use of pharmaceutical treatments for mental health problems – especially for children.
  • Involve mental health clients and psychiatric survivors in research planning, policy development, program evaluation and other decisions that affect their lives.

People, and families who are experiencing difficulty, need someone to reach out to. The Green Party will make sure that a helping hand is available.


Housing – Raising the Standard

In today's society, it is easy to get too focused on the “sticker price.” Many new homes and apartments are costing more than they should to maintain because they weren't built according to the highest standards. Without incentives or regulation, builders will often opt for the cheapest materials, not the best quality materials. That's not thinking long-term.

The Green Party will:

  • Revive a social housing program that will provide credit and loan guarantees to non-profit housing organizations and cooperatives for the building and restoration of quality, energy-efficient housing for seniors, families and single people with special-needs.
  • Expand R-2000 housing programs and ensure that all new housing meets the standard.
  • Offer support to owners who are willing to renovate existing housing to meet the standard.

The Green Party believes that Canadians want housing, food and education to be universally attainable and affordable.


Empowering Canadian Women – Supporting Equality

Women have made tremendous advances toward equality over the last fifty years — in all areas of our economy and society — but there is still a need for further change. We must overcome the remaining barriers to give women an equal voice at the highest level our political and corporate institutions.

The Green Party believes that proportional representation is a necessary step toward political equality. In all countries that have a proportional system of electing representatives, women have a greater voice in government. No political party — given a choice — wants to under-represent women, but the “winner take all” system that we use today favors aggressive tactics and negative campaigning. It is not the kind of system that most women want to participate in. The system needs to be changed. To achieve something much closer to a 50-50 balance, the Green Party recommends that we switch to a proportional system of voting.


Empowering Canadian Women – Making Care Our Priority

Women are still the primary caregivers in our society. The Green Party believes that supporting women's participation at the highest levels of decision-making will increase our collective ability to give care. We hope to see a government that cares more for our children, our families and our future.

The Green Party will:

  • Raise the benefit levels for parental leave under the Employment Insurance Act and extend compassionate care leave to those who are caring for a gravely ill family member.
  • Create tax incentives for companies to meet the highest standards of gender equity and pay equity.
  • Provide student loan forgiveness to working graduates of childhood education programs.
  • Increase funding for women's crisis centres and shelters, as well as educational programs that build healthy attitudes toward women among young people.
  • Support the UN's global initiative for the elimination of discrimination and violence against women.


My Community

Most politicians say they are committed to building communities … but what is the essence of a community and how is it built?

The Green Party believes that the people who build a community are the same people who live and work there. The government should assist, not replace, the efforts and services offered by local organizations and volunteers.

What determines the “quality” in our quality of life? If you have ever built a fence, coached a junior baseball team, planted a garden or made a meal for your friends and family, you know the answer. It's about doing something well, together.

Our “do less and help more” strategy means that we plan to empower the people who are already making a difference locally.


Our Cities – More Power to Them

While Canada was a colony of the British Empire , lawmakers avoided awarding privileges and rights to towns, cities and municipalities. Municipalities were — and still are — the level of democracy closest to people, but they have never been granted the power or resources to act. Housing, childcare and sustainable transportation are just some of key issues that municipalities have the willpower and local know-how to resolve.

The Green Party will:

  • Support a grassroots movement to create municipal charters and change the Canadian constitution.
  • Create new funding networks for more locally-run housing, childcare and health programs.
  • Negotiate an agreement to redirect a share of federal tax revenues toward municipal issues.

The Green Party believes in community-based decision making and problem solving. Empowering municipalities is the best way to make this happen.


Education – Learning for Life

Education expands our horizons by increasing our capacity to think and do. Investments in enriching education increase our quality of life, as well as our capacity to create wealth. The Green Party believes in supporting and creating initiatives that further the education of all Canadians, at every stage of life.

The Green Party will:

  • Increase funding for early childhood education.
  • Establish a Canadian mentorship network that will enable our nation's seniors to connect with younger generations, to share the benefit of their experiences and to pass on their skills for an educated and enriched future.
  • Ensure tuition-free access to college and university programs for retired people.
  • Reduce the up-front costs of post-secondary tuition, making higher education more accessible.
  • Boost participation in cooperative education programs and apprenticeships.

The wider we open the doors to education, the better our society will be.


Social Justice – Our Vision for Equality

Our vision for a just society includes equal access to safe shelter, nutritious food and public health care for every Canadian. All people deserve the opportunity to receive quality education and the tools to seek employment. Each person deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. All income should be a fair and adequate reflection of a person's contributions to their community, and society as a whole.

The Green Party will:

  • Provide Canadians with a simple, easy-to-use social support network to provide help that makes a difference.
  • Reform our political institutions to be more open and democratic.
  • Ensure that everyone has access to quality education.
  • Restart a national housing program.
  • Ensure — within five years — that no Canadian will suffer from hunger or malnutrition.
  • Reform our measurement of economic progress to include measures of social progress.


Human Resources – creating success

The more advanced our economy becomes, the more we rely on the skills, education, creativity and leadership of our people for wealth creation. As a result, our economic future depends on our ongoing commitment to educating and enabling the most talented workforce in the world. The Green Party believes in helping people to learn, build self-confidence and overcome obstacles to success.

The Green Party will:

  • Support child-focused programs that boost self-confidence and foster a love of learning.
  • Give students and job seekers up-to-date, no-nonsense information about the Canadian job market.
  • Encourage more “hands on” learning in our post-secondary education system.
  • Redesign the National Job Bank to automatically match jobs with job seekers.
  • Reform outdated labour regulations to fit 21 st century realities.


Industry – Profiting from Progress

Canada 's industrial sector is in the midst of a transformation. Companies are increasing profits and responding to public pressure for social and environmental responsibility by introducing eco-efficient technologies. Green technologies use less energy, rely on renewable resources and produce less waste — all of which reduce costs and increase competitiveness. Social innovations — such as employee ownership, flextime, shorter workweeks and open book management — have the potential to increase productivity in the Canadian economy. The Green Party will reinforce changes that make our industries more competitive and profitable for years to come.

The Green Party will:

  • Create tax breaks for companies that are certified ISO 9000 and ISO 14000.
  • Accelerate the introduction of “green” industrial technologies.
  • Bring a clear, step-by-step approach to creating new environmental and social legislation.
  • Create incentives for employee ownership plans and open book management.


Industry – Meeting the Need for Change

Many countries (particularly in Europe ) are using both regulatory and market-based solutions for addressing pollution and CO 2 emissions. Canada has fallen behind. Paul Martin's wavering commitment to the Kyoto protocol has seriously stalled Canada 's carbon trading program. While environment Canada has finally begun to assess the impact of toxic chemicals in our environment, much more needs to be done to ensure the safety of our workers, our children and our future generations.

The Green Party will:

  • Legislate a “National Emissions Trading System” that will cap, trade and reduce CO 2 and other emissions.
  • Act quickly to reduce the release of carcinogens, mutagens, neurotoxins and endocrine-disrupting chemicals into the food chain.
  • Create jobs and reduce waste by taxing raw materials more and employees less.


Agriculture – The Green Farm Plan

Traditionally, family farms and rural communities have been the pillars of our society and economy. Over the last five decades, federal policies and subsidies have supported the production and export of cheap commodities — much at the expense of family farmers, the environment and the sustainability of rural communities. In short, agriculture has become agribusiness.

The Green Party will:

  • Reform our agricultural markets to provide farmers with a fair share of the consumer food dollar.
  • Develop supply management that provides stable domestic markets, viable pricing and easier access for smaller family farms.
  • Encourage a transition to organic agriculture rather than subsidizing costly agro-chemicals and genetically modified crops.
  • Adapt regulations to support small and medium size food processors, thus building and strengthening local food economies.
  • Shift government-supported research away from biotechnology and toward sustainable food production.


Waste Management – Treading Lightly

Nature has an efficient cycle for using all the materials it needs continuously. We can reduce the amount of waste we generate if individuals and companies take responsibility for the true cost of producing and discarding materials.

In essence, Canada 's waste problem is perpetuated by:

  • Industries and households creating waste, but not paying for the amounts they dump.
  • Municipalities paying disposal costs, but not having the revenue or authority to prevent waste from being created.
  • Federal and provincial governments having the authority and revenue to promote reduction, reuse and recycling, but not the attention span to deal with the problem.

The Green Party will:

  • Require accurate reporting and measurement, as well as a set timeline to achieve national extended producer responsibility programs.
  • Promote technologies that use sewage as an alternate energy source.
  • Support public education programs that inform consumers about waste, recycling and conservation.
  • Establish dedicated funding to support municipal wastewater management and safe water supplies.


Arts – An Essential Ingredient

Art does more than entertain. Artistic creation builds communities and promotes progressive change. Government can assist local artistic and cultural organizations in increasing participation rates and promoting excellence. The Green Party will support artists and arts programs that engage and entertain Canadians. Our artists bring beauty into our daily lives, challenge our ways of thinking and reach out to the world with a unique Canadian viewpoint.

The Green Party will:

  • Increase support for community arts programs and facilities to encourage participation.
  • Revise funding programs to expand peer review and include audience feedback.
  • Sponsor regional arts festivals that bring new Canadian art to a wider audience.

Quote: When the cannons have stopped firing, and the great victories of finance are reduced to surmise and are long forgotten, it is the art of the people that will confront future generations. -- Arthur Miller

Sports and Recreation – Get Out and Play

At work or at home, Canadians of all ages are less physically active, as we are spending more time in front of our computers and televisions than ever before. A 10% reduction in the prevalence of physical inactivity has the potential to reduce direct health care expenditures by $150 million per year.

The Green Party will:

  • Set targets to increase the number of Canadians who are physically active by ten percentage points over the next five years.
  • Bring back a national fitness challenge for our primary and secondary schools.
  • Empower municipalities to plan neighborhoods that support walking, cycling and recreational sports.
  • Getting active today will reduce health care costs tomorrow.

Fact: According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, at least 37% of children aged two to eleven , and over 30% of men and women in their 20s, are overweight.


Our Ten Key Values

Sustainability — Activities are sustainable if they can be continued without diminishing the opportunities and resources available to future generations. We have only one planet to live on.

Social Justice — Without justice there can be no liberty, no stability and no lasting progress. We must act locally and globally to secure human rights and achieve a just society.

Grassroots Democracy — True democracy exists when citizens meet as equals to resolve problems. Citizens must be able to participate in the political, economic and environmental decisions that affect them.

Nonviolence — Every act of violence delays our progress toward a just society. Anger closes the open mind. Fear hinders constructive change.

Decentralization — The people most affected by a problem must have the authority to solve it. Distant administrations cannot be responsive. We must empower individuals and municipalities to shape their own destinies.

Community-Based Economics — Healthy economies help people grow stronger. Our economy must build communities, rather than extract profits.

Gender Balance — Our goal is the full and equal participation of women and men in all spheres of activity. Cooperation and understanding must replace domination and control.

Diversity — We honour the diversity of life on our planet. Cultural and spiritual diversity has intrinsic value. Every plant and animal has the right to exist, independent of human needs.

Personal and Global Responsibility — We must learn to take responsibility for ourselves, our families, our communities and our planet. As we learn to be responsible, we can inspire others to do the same.

Ecological Wisdom — Human beings are a part of nature, not separate from it. We cannot endanger whole ecosystems and remain unaffected. Whatever we do to the web of life, we do to ourselves.


My Country

What is it about Canada that we love most?

Is it the beauty of our rivers, mountains and forests?

Is it the fact that our federation allows so many people, from so many cultures, to live side by side in peace?

Do you think that if politicians inspired people more and criticized less, more people would vote?

The Green Party will protect the natural beauty of this land, respect our diverse cultures and challenge individuals to achieve their dreams. We will strive to bring respect and integrity back into our political process. We will face difficult issues and stand by our principles. It won't be easy. It will require courage, flexibility and the ability to build consensus — but the Canada we want tomorrow requires the courage to act today.


Good Governance – Restoring Integrity to Our Democracy

The Green Party will provide principled leadership with respect for the will of its people. New communications technologies are now readily available to bring about the kind of open and inclusive democracy that citizens are demanding. We will create policies and programs that best reflect Canada 's long term interests as a partner in global society.

The Green Party will:

  • Allow the public to obtain detailed quarterly financial reports, including program expenditures and the expenses of elected officials and civil servants.
  • Require the immediate public release of all results from publicly funded polling.
  • Institute mandatory training in ethics and management for newly elected politicians.
  • Ensure that all citizens may register electronically for notification about decisions that affect and/or interest them.
  • Broadcast committee meetings and “town hall” citizens' meetings on television, as well as the Internet.


Good Governance – Cutting Costs and Improving Performance

For too long, government has carried a reputation for uninspired management and careless spending. The Green Party will change the reputation of government by changing its ways — in the name of all citizens who live frugally and invest carefully. Canadians will have effective, efficient government services.

The Green Party will:

  • Involve citizens in the preparation of a national business plan, as well as a review of that plan every four years, to ensure that government programs deliver the best value for the money invested.
  • Flatten hierarchies, empower front line civil servants and reduce the number of managers by 25% over a period of four years.
  • Establish “whistleblower” protection for civil servants and commission ombudsmen who report their findings to the public.
  • Make customer service improvements a priority for all agencies and departments.
  • Change hiring, compensation and advancement policies to reinvigorate the civil service.

Quote: In government, being inefficient won't get you in trouble, but rocking the boat will. — Senior Government Official


Democratic Reform – Make All Votes Count

When you go to the polls, you expect your vote to count. While every vote is “counted,” hundreds of thousands of votes aren't “counted” equally. That's because Canada still uses the old “first-past-the-post” system.

This system was designed for political systems with only two political parties. It tends to reinforces a two party system, and elects “majority” governments which rarely have to heed the platforms they ran on. It typically silences the democratic voice of women, minorities, or anyone who doesn't like either choice A or B. It creates an environment where parliament is always about antagonism and criticism.

It's time to change the system. The Law Commission of Canada — an independent body that reports to Parliament — recommends that we switch to a “proportional representation” voting system. Proportional representation reflects the views of all Canadians by creating a parliament that mirrors their preferences.


Democratic Reform – Improving Your Choices

Proportional representation ensures that:

  • The percentage of seats won by a party equals that party's percentage of the popular vote.
  • All votes will count and the voter participation rate will increase.
  • More women will be elected candidates.
  • More candidates from visible minorities will be elected.
  • New parties and new ideas will evolve.
  • Canadians will no longer have to suffer with “the lesser of two evils.”

In addition to proportional representation, the Green Party will impliment “fixed election dates” and “mid term” referendums -- to held after two years, giving Canadians a direct voice to declare what the government's fiscal and social priorities should be.


Green Economics 101 – Finding A Balance

Sound economic policies ensure that we can have the economy we want — and deserve — without increasing unemployment, government debt or inflation. In a “green” economy, pollution is reduced, industries are competitive and dynamic, communities are safer and jobs are better and more plentiful.

The Green Party will:

  • Lower taxes on income, profit and investment, while raising taxes on pollution, waste and inefficiency.
  • Create well-paying green jobs in the service and technology sectors.
  • Maintain a balanced budget and reduce the national debt and introduce economic indicators that track genuine progress.
  • Reform the public sector to be more effective and accountable.
  • Empower consumers associations to increase safety and improve quality in the marketplace.
  • Re-focus government programs on creating an unparalleled education system, as well as building stronger communities.


Energy – Less is More

When it comes to energy, we can build more power plants and create more pollution, or we can take steps to rebuild factories, renovate homes, refit businesses, redesign products, reassess priorities and reduce waste.

Power plants are very expensive and require a lot of imported machinery. Conservation activities, on the other hand, match local know-how with sustained effort and they create many more jobs per dollar of public spending.

Our three-step program will:

  • Reduce energy demands and create good jobs through conservation and efficiency measures.
  • Develop renewable and alternative energy sources to phase out fossil fuel and nuclear power within fifty years.
  • Focus on future energy and soft energy technologies.

Fact: In Europe , where the Green Party is in government, 2.5 million households are already enjoying the benefits of solar water heaters. In Canada , we have only installed 15,000 solar water heaters.


Fiscal Policy – The Green Tax Shift

No one enjoys paying taxes. We would all like to avoid them if we could. The Green Party will reform the tax system so that our urge to pay less in taxes is aligned with our need for a more sustainable lifestyle. This is the essence of the green tax shift — make payrolls less expensive and resources more expensive so the market will create more jobs and less waste.

Lowering taxes on income is one of the best ways to support job creation. The Green Party will reduce the marginal tax rate on the lowest federal tax bracket to give Canadians a tax cut of $3.5 billion.

The Green Party will maintain the current schedule for reducing corporate income taxes to encourage reinvestment. We will revise the corporate capital tax to allow a tax cut for businesses with progressive social and environmental practices.


Fiscal Policy – Increasing Taxes on Pollution

The Green Party will phase in tax increases on CO2 and health damaging emissions, moving toward a full-cost accounting of these harmful pollutants. We will phase out subsidies that encourage waste and unsustainable business practices. These taxes will be a step toward a heather economy, the creation of “green collar” jobs and meeting our Kyoto targets.

The Green Party will:

  • Increase gasoline and diesel taxes by ten cents per litre over three years.
  • Phase in a tax of $10 per ton on coal consumption over three years.
  • Remove tax breaks on pesticides.
  • Exclude ethanol blends and biodiesel from fuel tax increases.
  • Use half the revenue from pollution taxes to decrease income taxes — one quarter for efficiency-increasing tax breaks and one quarter toward industry initiatives that reduce fuel consumption.


Natural Resources – Protecting Our Future

In terms of natural resources, Canada is one of the richest countries in the world. The Green Party will implement standards to ensure that our resource industries remain viable for generations to come. Sustainable resource standards will protect our forests, restore our fisheries and provide us with good jobs — today and tomorrow.

To protect our forests, the Green Party will:

  • Work with provinces, First Nations and the logging industry to create national standards that ensure the sustainability of our forests.
  • Reform tenure and stumpage fees to encourage selective logging.
  • Ban clear-cutting and conserve remaining old growth in federally managed forests.
  • Place a 100% export duty on raw logs and use the proceeds to invest in “value added” forestry.
  • Promote alternatives to wood as sources of paper fibre, such as hemp or kenaf.


Natural Resources – Recognizing Our Limits

To sustain our mining and fishing communities, the Green Party will:

  • Promote life-cycle product stewardship of metals to ensure that once mined, they remain in economic service for generations.
  • Ensure that all mining operations are insured for environmental liabilities and have a pre-funded plan for remediation when the mine closes.
  • Rescind all uranium-mining permits and prohibit the export of fissionable nuclear material.
  • Use a community-based approach to establish fishing quotas that support a sustainable fishery.
  • Increase funding to ensure that shoreline communities stop dumping untreated waste into the ocean.
  • Claim sovereignty over the whole area covering the Grand Banks and Flemish Cap to protect Canada 's fish stocks.

Quote: One of the paradoxes about fisheries is that the catch could be increased by fishing less. — Daniel Pauly, Fisheries Scientist

Deep Ecology – Economics and Ecosystems

Deep Ecology is the name for a way of thinking that views human beings and human economic activity as just one part of the larger planetary life-system. We depend on nature to support life. We must not allow short-term interests to threaten the delicate balance of nature.

All life on earth shares a volume of land, water, air and sunlight that will never increase. Yet many governments share the deadly misconception that human societies can grow boundlessly. The Green Party seeks to promote an understanding of the finite carrying capacities of our planet, as well as emphasize the impact human activities have on neighboring ecosystems. We can begin to live up to the challenge of deep ecology when we begin to draw boundaries and respect the limits of what nature can support.


Transportation – Big Country, Big Problem

Canada is a large country with a population that uses a lot of time and energy getting around from place to place. Since making the country smaller would be rather difficult, we need to get the most transportation with the least emissions for better air quality. We need bold leadership to help match the right transportation with the right transportation needs.

The Green Party will:

  • Allow cities to license smaller, more efficient vehicles and exercise more control over local transportation policies.
  • Work with Canada 's railway companies to improve our rail infrastructure and intermodal connections, as well as restore VIA rail service to all major cities.
  • Provide fiscal stability for municipal light-rail and subway investments by inking a ten-year funding contract with our cities.
  • Cancel federal subsidies for highways and traffic systems and implement a GST “feebate” program to promote fuel-efficient cars and trucks.
  • Create a national “clean trucking” initiative, which will redirect fuel tax expenditures to the improvement of fleet efficiency and safety.


Science and Technology – Making Our Lives Better

The Green Party supports technologies that make our lives more fulfilling, interesting and sustainable, while minimizing risk our health, our security and the fabric of our society.

The Green Party will:

  • Fund research programs based on input from citizens, academic panels and government sponsored round tables.
  • Prohibit reproductive cloning and require a license for any organization or institution that performs genetic manipulation for commercial or scientific purposes.
  • Require federal departments and agencies to transition to open source or free software for general applications, and provide free tech support to Canadian companies who also use this software.
  • Shorten the length of software patents to seven years, to reflect software's faster business cycle.
  • Create a national “don't contact” registry for e-mail spam, telemarketing calls and junk mail, and criminalize spamming.


Media and Culture – Power of the Press

Our media maintains a profound ability to channel public debate. Every day editors decide what is news and what isn't. This ability must be matched with a responsibility. Our media industry must accurately mirror the intelligence, diversity, history, creativity and decency of the Canadian people.

The Green Party will:

  • Provide stable base funding for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to provide quality television and radio programming in both official languages.
  • Enact a Royal Commission to create a set of principles and policies to propagate an independent, competitive and diverse media industry.
  • Create a national awards program to promote excellence in journalism.
  • Have the CRTC reserve more bandwidth for independent and non-profit stations.
  • Share Canada 's history by supporting more educational programming.


Justice and Human Rights – For One, For All

To have justice for one, it is necessary to have justice for all. The Green Party will strive to create a system that allows equal access to legal processes. We will also create a legal defense fund to support activists who are pursuing or defending legal cases that are of significance to all Canadians.

The Green Party will:

  • Use restorative justice, rather than prison for first time non-violent offenders.
  • Decriminalize non-compliance with the national firearms registry, and eliminate registration fees.
  • Legalize and tax the production and consumption of marijuana.
  • Recommend that provinces create safe injection clinics, needle exchange programs and access for certified addicts to prescriptions for “safe doses.”
  • Respect and uphold the decision of the British Columbia and Ontario Supreme Courts allowing gay marriage.
  • Legislate a Disabilities Act for Canada.


Citizenship and Immigration – Strength Through Diversity

Canada is a nation of immigrants — people who came here in search of a better life. Our diversity strengthens our culture. For this reason, our immigration policy must wisely balance the needs of immigrants with the needs of the community they immigrate to, and not forget the needs of the countries they immigrate from. Building on Canada 's multicultural tradition will help us thrive in a globally networked economy.

The Green Party will:

  • Direct special funding to public schools in “landing zones” for new Canadians.
  • Reduce unnecessary barriers to reinstating the professional credentials of immigrants.
  • Regulate the practices of “immigration consultants” and increase penalties for those convicted of “human smuggling.”
  • Consult with ethnic community groups to help identify and exclude migrants with criminal histories.
  • Assist and sustain multicultural communities by giving cultural organizations charitable status.
  • Enable better cultural and business links with the home countries of new Canadians.


Aboriginal Peoples – Honoring Their Contributions

Canada 's First Nations, Métis and Inuit people have always exerted their aboriginal rights and sovereignty. As the Canadian government has not upheld the integrity and rightful status of Aboriginal peoples, the Green Party — when elected to government — will issue a full apology for the decades of neglect. The Green Party will act to protect and preserve aboriginal lands and cultures. We will work toward honourable settlements within a “nation to nation” negotiations framework.

The Green Party will:

  • Honor Canada 's fiduciary responsibility to Aboriginal peoples.
  • Legislate primary or “first use” hunting, fishing, trapping and logging rights for Aboriginal and Métis peoples in traditional lands under Federal Jurisdiction, subject to mutually agreeable definitions of sustainable harvests.
  • Support a First Nations process that will address governance issues, legislative inconsistencies, policy inequities, reconciliation and the dismantling of the Department of Indian Affairs, if so desired.


Aboriginal Peoples – Supporting Their Economy and Culture

The Green Party will support policies that make a sustainable and independent society possible for Aboriginal peoples. Economic reforms are needed to share the resources and revenues within their individual territories. A transition to social services that are provided for and by Aboriginal peoples is needed. Making First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures a part of the Canadian education system is another good step toward achieving equality within our federation.

These social services will allow Aboriginal peoples to:

  • Make their culture and history a mandatory component of Canadian history.
  • Support the development of education curricula that are language and culture specific.
  • Deliver heath care, education and other services in a way that incorporates traditional practices, recognizing the role of extended families and elders.


My World

What will happen if we don't save the planet?

The planet doesn't need us to save it. No matter what, the planet can always heal itself — whether we are here or not. It just takes a few million years.

The Green Party is focused on making the world a better place for our grandchildren — and their grandchildren — to live in. Leaving the world better than the way we found it is the most honourable thing that we, as a society, can do. The green movement cares about international peace, democracy and sustainable social progress. Around the world, the green movement is showing global leadership by taking those first steps to a better future.


Canadian Security – In a New Century

We live in an interdependent world. National borders cannot contain the effects of war, epidemics and climate changes. Poverty and alienation (in any country) create the conditions for extremism and terrorism, with global implications. We must take a broader approach to Canadian security. The Green Party's international security policy seeks to actively build peace, protect threatened ecosystems and enhance Canada 's reputation as a defender of human rights.

To refocus Canada's security capabilities and maximize their effectiveness, the Green Party will create an “International Affairs and Global Security Agency” to coordinate and fund the Department of National Defense, the Canadian International Development Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs (excluding trade and citizenship). Our international efforts to achieve peace and sustainability can be best attained by coordinating our diplomatic and military capabilities, existing aid and development. Having one agency to coordinate all of our international efforts will maximize our potential contributions.


Canadian Security – Responding to Danger

When a crisis emerges or a disaster strikes, Canadians are deeply moved to provide help. To be ready to give assistance and provide security, Canada must maintain a larger and better-equipped “Rapid Response and Deployment Force” — a force that can combine, when necessary, the skills of civilian specialists and international diplomats with military units.

The Green Party will establish a Rapid Response force that will:

  • Promote and support the United Nations' international missions.
  • Deliver humanitarian aid and assistance.
  • Focus on preventing the outbreak of hostilities and the protection of civilians.
  • Support the implementation of environmental protection measures.

In Canada , we will create a merged “National Reserve and Coast Guard” to protect our air, sea and land from security threats. This will also enhance our domestic security by coordinating the management of coastal patrol, airborne maritime surveillance, search and rescue, disaster assistance and civil defense.


Foreign Policy – Reflecting Consistency and Courage

The Green Party will institute a foreign policy that consistently reflects the principles of Canadians. It will support self-determination, human rights, democratic governance and the growth of international institutions.

The Green Party will:

  • Commit only to those military actions that have been sanctioned by Canada's Parliament and the United Nations.
  • Work to increase the influence of the International Court of Justice.
  • Declare Canada a military nuclear-free zone and abstain from participating in the development of space-based weapons.
  • Advocate for the creation of viable and secure states for both Israelis and Palestinians.
  • Support the provision of royalty-free medicine for Africa.
  • Support self-governance for Tibetan and Kurdish peoples.


Global Justice – Security and Fairness for All

The green movement is a global citizen's movement with organizations in almost one hundred countries. We share similar values and are concerned about justice throughout the world.

The Green Party will:

  • Work to establish a standing international peacekeeping force under UN control.
  • Propose a reform of the UN Security Council, eliminating permanent memberships and vetoes.
  • Renegotiate our multilateral trade agreements to include “fair trade” tariffs that protect human rights and our ecosystems.
  • Propose a reform of the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank, having them placed under the authority of the UN general assembly.


The Kyoto Accord – One Small Step

Global warming is a direct threat to our ability to feed the planet's increasing population, as well as a threat to the overall health of our biosphere. Our Kyoto target of reducing the 1990 emission levels by 6% is a good start, but achieving climate stability will likely require a reduction of 50% or more. The most difficult transition is neither economic nor technological — it's psychological. Today's politicians have never had to think long term before.

The Green party will:

  • Require that new housing meet or exceed the R-2000 standard.
  • Recommend the empowerment of municipalities as a key to achieving solutions for public transit.
  • Replace the Voluntary Challenge Registry with a serious program to reduce industrial emissions.
  • Implement conservation strategies as a cheaper alternative to new power plants.
  • Apply full-cost accounting to energy use and help the freight industry double its fuel efficiency.

Quote: Canada can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by almost half by 2030. We can make these reductions using existing technology, with annual energy savings for industry and consumers of $30 billion. — Ralph Torrie, Energy Expert


Thinking Long Term

As you have probably discovered by now, the Green Party is focused on the future — not tomorrow or next year, but ten, twenty or one hundred years down the road. Long-term thinking leads to long-term solutions.

Supporting the Green Party is not a “protest” vote. It is a “life-affirming” vote. It affirms that we need representatives who will think long term. It affirms that our political system needs to adapt to a changing reality. As Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our serious problems with the same mindsets that created them.”

If elected, Green Party representatives will ensure that change happens today, for a better tomorrow. The Green Party fosters dialogue about the future and allows people with different perspectives to participate. We don't have all the answers, but we are committed to finding them.

What Winning Looks Like

We don't really think of ourselves as politicians, just as ordinary citizens making an extraordinary commitment. Accordingly, we don't measure success the same way politicians do. Here's what winning looks like to us:

  • When we introduce innovative ideas to voters, we win.
  • When we nurture a new generation of citizens to take up political activism, we win.
  • When other parties “borrow” our ideas and start thinking green, we win.
  • When we stand up for grassroots democracy, we win.
  • When we stay true to our principles, we win.
  • When our candidates speak from the heart, we win.
  • When people who have given up on politics are inspired to vote, we win.
  • When you vote for the Green Party, we will win — and so will you.


Authorized by the official agent for Martin Willison

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( email: greenmartinwillison@yahoo.ca )






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