Peter Tam: Green Party is not a single-issue party

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      Have we forgotten the meaning of democracy? 

      It’s defined as “a system of government in which power resides in the people, and is exercised by them either directly or through freely elected representatives.” I think we are focusing so much on the “elected representatives” that it has overruled all other objectives and common sense.   

      What kind of democracy do we have today when a majority of the population don’t feel they are represented, when rules are passed down by the elected representatives, and the voices of the people are ignored?

      It seems that we as Canadians are becoming the “What’s in it for me generation”. Elections seems to be a marketing strategy tailoring promises to different demographic to bring out human greed and selfishness, instead of laying out plans for the greater good.

      Plato’s great worry about democracy was that citizens would “live from day to day, indulging the pleasure of the moment”, has proved prescient. Politicians making broken promises, and government running deficits, borrowing to give voters what they wanted in the short term, while neglecting long-term investment. Are we voting ourselves into autocracy? Do Canadians favours autocracy over democracy?  

      In the 19th century, Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out that democracies always look weaker than they really are: they are all confusion on the surface but have lots of hidden strengths. Being able to install alternative leaders offering alternative policies makes democracies better than autocracies at finding creative solutions to problems and rising to existential challenges, though they often take a while to zigzag to the right policies.

      But to succeed, both fledgling and established democracies must ensure they are built on firm foundations. A successful democratic parliament is the one that lacks majoritarianism. We need to have checks and balances and be able to develop policies that strengthen the economy, sustain the environment and ensure Canadians social well being.   

      The Green Party’s vision is full of fresh ideas such as introducing a guaranteed livable income (GLI) to combat poverty and homelessness, the introduction of a PharmaCare program, and reforming our electoral process to have proportional representation to reflect the true voices of the people.  

      My challenge as a candidate of the Green Party in the Pitt Meadows Maple Ridge area is, without the help of big media and wasteful campaign material, to change the perception people have towards the Green Party. My challenge is to show them that the Green Party is not a single-issue party and to educate voters that their choices for Members of Parliament are not limited to the big parties. 

      Most importantly I want my constituents to understand that a few Green MPs can wield influence in a minority government; we can cross party lines to broker alliances and create a respectful and productive government.

      I want my community to set aside the partisan hype, and to think about the type of scenario in 1966 when Tommy Douglas led a small group of MPs who worked together with Pearson and Diefenbaker to create the Canadian institutions we are proud of today. I want voters to think about voting for me as one of these Green MP who can place my community interest above party line to create a government Canadians deserve.