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article image5 Questions with Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May Special

By Richard Mccallum     Apr 27, 2011 in Politics
Ottawa - Elizabeth May has been the leader of Canada's Green Party since 2006. In 2011 she is determined to win their very first seat in the Canadian Parliament.
The American-born Elizabeth May was the president of the Sierra Club of Canada for over 17 years and enjoys endorsements from serious intellectual heavyweights such as Farley Mowatt and Margaret Atwood along with pop sensation Nelly Furtado.
She is an accomplished author of seven books and is considered internationally an important crusader for environmental causes and human rights.
Ms May is running for a seat in the House Of Commons representing British Columbia's Saanich- Gulf Islands district.
Richard Mccallum:Will you be elected in your riding and how many others of your party are you thinking may win seats in this election?
Elizabeth May:Yesterday the Green Party released results of a poll that shows I have the support of 45% of decided voters in my riding, compared to 38% for my Conservative opponent Gary Lunn. It's a tight race that's still to close to call. However, the response from the voters of Saanich-Gulf Islands has been incredible. It's still a close race, but I firmly believe that they want to be the riding that makes history and elects the first Green MP to Parliament.
In Vancouver Centre, we've heard my Deputy Leader Adriane Carr is also in a tight race with Liberal incumbent Hedy Fry. We are hopeful Adriane will join me in heading to Ottawa. Across the country there are other riding's where the Green Party had a very strong showing in 2008; Bruce -Grey-Owen Sound, Guelph,Dufferin-Caledon, the Yukon,and Fredericton for example-where again we have great candidates and a lot of hope. We have also seen a large amount of support from the people of Calgary, where Mayor Naheed Neshi made his amazing breakthrough last year and where I was the first and so far, only federal leader to visit in this election-has been just great.
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courtesy of the Green Party
Richard Mccallum:How could a greener Canada sustain and improve the fragile economic recovery which Canadians currently seem to be struggling with?
Elizabeth May:The Green Party has said repeatedly that the environment is an economic issue. The future of our economy lies in renewable energy and green jobs. Other countries know it. The US, Europe and even China have invested billions of dollars of their stimulus spending in green industries.
The Green Party will create thousands of jobs through investment in renewable energy, expanding passenger rail and modernizing freight, retrofitting thousands of buildings to high standards for energy efficiency. We'll build a healthy agriculture sector, with support for those who wish to transition to organic farming. A healthy fishery, with an end to devastating draggers. A sustainable forest industry with more emphasis on value added, and less raw log or unprocessed pulp export. More jobs for more people making more things. We will cut wasteful subsidies, ending the failed strategy of throwing good money after bad in corporate bail-outs for big business and subsidies to nuclear and fossil fuels.
Richard Mccallum:What is the Green Party's position on the war in Afghanistan and our current military involvement in Libya?
Elizabeth May:The Green Party will refocus the Canadian mission in Afghanistan to poverty alleviation and development,strengthening governance and civil society institutions, and supporting the training and development of the Afghan military and police force, particularly in the area of upholding and protecting human rights.
The Green Party of Canada has called for a rapid and robust international intervention in Libya.
On the diplomatic table should be an ultimatum to divert Libyan oil revenues to an United nations escrow account by a set target date in order to make clear to the Gadhafi Regime that they will not be able to outlast the current UN intervention.
Canada should also be pushing for a diplomatic solution.Now is the time for world leaders, and Canada should be in the lead to say: this is where we change the mission from a no-fly zone and bombing to a robust diplomatic effort to resolve the conflict in Libya.
Not to have a protracted civil war in which we take sides, but to make it clear we intervene only for humanitarian purposes in other countries' business and we make sure lives are protected and we resolve the conflict through peace-making, no matter how long it takes to resolve, That's what we should be doing in the Middle East instead of taking sides. We are a country that should always stand for conflict resolution and peace.
Richard Mccallum:How would the Green Party deal with the environmental damage in the Alberta oil sands and still sustain income from this valuable resource?
Elizabeth May:The Green Party will place a moratorium on further oil sands development (ie increases in annual production)
We will insure oil sands developers deal responsibly with polluted waters in the storage ponds-which are the largest man made structures on Earth.
We will eliminate the accelerated capital cost allowance to the tar sands industries which amounts to an industry subsidy totaling $1.3 billion a year. The Conservatives signed an international agreement to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies- a promise that they have not lived up to.
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courtesy of the Green Party
Richard Mccallum:Would the Green Party legalize and tax cannabis in Canada?
Elizabeth May: In 2005 according to the Treasury Board, Canada spent $368 million targeting elicit drugs, with 73% of that money going to law enforcement. Most of that was for the "war" against cannabis.
Marijuana prohibition is also prohibitively costly in other ways including criminalizing youth and fostering organized crime.
Prohibition, which has gone on for decades, has utterly failed and has not led to reduced drug use in Canada.
The Green Party of Canada has come to the conclusion that it is time to legalize the adult use of marijuana.
Furthermore, the Green Party believes that drug addictions should be treated more as a health problem than a criminal offence.
The Green Party will:
*Legalize marijuana by removing marijuana from the drug schedule.
*Create a regulatory framework for the safe production of marijuana by small independent growers.
*Develop a taxation rate for marijuana similar to that of tobacco.
*Educate the public about the health threats of marijuana and tobacco use.
*Launch a public consultation on the decriminalization of illicit drugs, considering the high costs currently used on the law enforcement effort, as well as treatment facilities,rehabilitation of addicts, and consider shifting to prevention through educational programs instead.
More about Canada Election 2011, Elizabeth may, Green party canada, Green party, Politician
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