Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray has called for a "price on carbon" and legalization of marijuana.
In her first speech to constituents after entering the Liberal leadership race, Murray also promised to appoint a minimum of 40 percent women to cabinet and to government boards, commissions, and agencies.
She claimed evidence shows that organizations are more successful when women—"with their cooperative problem-solving"—are included on boards of directors.
"Liberal governments have introduced most of the practical and bold initiatives that have made this country great," Murray said to a capacity crowd at the Jericho Saling Centre meeting room. "And that's what we need right now: a vision that's not only bold, but is achievable through experience and pragmatic decision making."
She sprinkled her speech with personal anecdotes, including one about how she and her husband Dirk's reforestation company has planted more than a billion trees across Canada.
She also mentioned that when her mother Charlotte decided as a mother of three to attend the UBC school of architecture—and was the only woman in the school at the time—she had to obtain her husband's permission.
In addition to the price on carbon and legalizing pot, she urged Liberals to work cooperatively with New Democrats and Greens in the next federal election if this is the desire of riding associations.
"I am against a merger," Murray noted, "but what I am for—for the next election only—is working with my party to adopt a system of voluntary cooperation at the riding level with riding associations having the veto."
She added that the "worst thing would be to continue to let Prime Minister Harper and his government dismantle our democracy and dismantle our social-safety net, and more than that, dismantle our environmental-safety net".
"I find it unimaginable that we can't find the will to cooperate on these key issues for Canadians," she said. "So I will be leading the charge on that."
Murray opened her speech by praising First Nations for making decision on the basis of their impact on the next seven generations.
"My vision is for a truly sustainable society in Canada—one that is socially, environmentally, economically, and fiscally viable—for the next seven generations, and not just the next seven months of an economic plan or the next seven minutes of a news cycle," she said.
Murray condemned Environment Minister Peter Kent for standing against taking action on climate change in Doha, calling this "reprehensible and an embarrassment".
"In Canada, we have to end the phoney debate in Parliament," she said. "We need to put a price on carbon, and I will work with Canada's CEOs to discuss the best way to implement this carbon price and ensure that they have the predictability and stability that business needs. Business does need to be involved here and be a leader."
Joyce Murray's first speech in Vancouver since joining the Liberal leadership race.
After her speech, the Straight asked Murray if a "price on carbon" meant a carbon tax.
"That's one option," she acknowledged. "I think we have to look at the way that is the most efficient, effective, and fair—and a lot of economists would say a carbon tax is. We know that in British Columbia, our province created more jobs last year than any other province in the country, and we went that route to meet our targets for greenhouse-gas reductions. So obviously, it's working in British Columbia. It is working in other parts of the world. If somebody has a better idea for a more fair, efficient, and cost-effective approach, I'm open to it."
With regard to marijuana, she said it has been her belief for a long time that it's foolish to turn young people into criminals for using a product similar to alcohol or tobacco.
"If you regulate, tax, and control cannabis, fewer young people would have access to it," Murray said. "It's less likely that the cannabis will be contaminated with other drugs....Right now, cannabis is regulated and controlled by criminals. The profits are going to criminals, and it's creating harm for young people. So I'm saying let's take the monopoly out of the hands of the criminals and put it in the hands of government, so we can tax and control it."
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.