Over the last four years, Canadians have watched in horror as Stephen Harper turned this country from a respected democracy into an international outcast. Instead of being optimistic about the future, Canadians now live in fear and increasing financial distress.
The good news is that we can redress the folly of the 2011 election. We can vote out Harper‘s dictatorship and replace it with a government that works for Canadians, not against them. Every vote against Harper is a victory for Canada, and in the new riding of Cloverdale–Langley City the Green Party is the most viable option.
I joined the Green Party out of frustration with the current governing party’s unapologetic destruction of the environment and refusal to listen to citizens. The warm and enthusiastic reception my team and I receive in the riding owes much to the Green Party’s core belief that an MP represents the people in the riding and has the freedom to vote according to the declared interests of his or her constituents. In contrast, the three major national parties all whip their MPs into obedience, regardless of what the electorate thinks. In Cloverdale–Langley City, my team and I have been to more than a dozen events or festivals and seemed to be the only political game in town. I wonder why.
I fully understand that party politics alienates many Canadians because it gives the impression that voting is just an exercise in electoral theatre. In addition, spectacles like the Mike Duffy Senate scandal and the debasement of agencies like Elections Canada and the National Energy Board breed disgust for politicians. But choosing not to vote never accomplished anything. In fact, Harper wins if he can convince people that their voice doesn’t matter.
This latter warning applies particularly to youth voters. Those between 18 and 25 are not only the least susceptible to Harper’s fearmongering propaganda but also the most concerned about stopping global warming and defending civil rights, both of which Harper opposes. It is no accident that Harper’s new restrictions on voter eligibility are aimed at this particular demographic. Harper wants cynicism to subvert citizenship. That must not happen.
First of all, voters of all ages need to recognize that, contrary to popular belief, politicians are not the enemy—ideologues are. Politicians are elected to serve the public good; ideologues harm the public good to serve private and foreign interests. Much of the blame for this lies with our out-dated, undemocratic electoral system that creates majority ideocracies having less than 35 percent of the popular vote.
As the first order of business in any new government, the Green Party will insist on electoral reform. Replacing our undemocratic, first-past-the-post system with proportional representation will fairly apportion seats according to the popular vote and put government back into the hands of the public’s representatives.
For my constituents, my priorities as MP will be threefold: to secure federal funds for a light-rail line from Chilliwack to Surrey, rid Langley City of homelessness, and take action against drug-related crime.
Canada can again have a bright future, and the more Green candidates that are elected the louder the public’s voice will be heard.