Federal Election

By Hilary Crowley
January 30, 2019 - 11:32am
Photo Credit: Hilary Crowley

The referendum on proportional representation failed in BC. Only 13% of voters in Peace River voted in favour of Proportional Representation, the lowest % in the Province, closely followed by Nechako Lakes.. Is this because the area is strongly Conservative? The provincial Liberals, a coalition of right-wing voters, came out strongly against proportional representation. Both Prince George Ridings supported First Past the Post by 71%. One of the main reasons given for voting the referendum down, was that voters found the choices too confusing. In fact, the NDP and the Greens got elected provincially on a mandate to bring in electoral reform and proportional representation, so there was no need to have held a referendum at all. However, they felt it would be fairer to put it to referendum. In hindsight a Citizen’s Assembly would probably have been a better choice so that partisan politics couldn’t exert their influence.

Prior to last year’s Quebec election, all the opposition parties agreed that they would bring in a system of proportional representation if they were elected. The Quebec Liberals were the only party that wanted to keep First Past the Post, FPTP. The right-wing CAQ party won 60% of the seats with 37% of the vote, beating out the Liberals and PQ parties – the lowest popular support to ever elect a majority government. The Leader of the CAQ has agreed that he will bring in Proportional Representation prior to their next Provincial election in 2022. As long as he doesn’t renege on this promise, like Justin Trudeau did, we will have at least one pro-rep government in Canada to lead the way. PEI is another possibility. PEI currently has two Green MLAs, including the Green Party Leader, who is the most popular leader in the Province. It is possible that the Green Party could form government in their provincial election this year. If the Green Party forms government in PEI, they will definitely bring in Proportional Representation as that has been a long-standing part of their platform. New Brunswick elected three Green MLAs in their recent provincial election. Ontario also elected a Green Party MLA in their last provincial election, participating in the Green wave across the country.

In BC, we not only have three Green MLAs in Government but Vancouver also elected three out of ten Green Party Councillors and three out of nine School Board Trustees and three out of seven Park Board officials. These results show a growing surge of Green Party popularity, which can only continue as more young voters come on board and climate change is increasingly recognised as the most serious issue affecting not only Canada but also our World.

One thing we know for sure, is that we will have a federal election in 2019. The most important issue affecting our World is Climate Change so hopefully this will be an important election topic. Andrew Scheer of the Conservatives has already stated that he plans to make Trudeau’s gas tax an election issue. Trudeau has not only broken his promise on electoral reform but he has also broken promises on environmental protection. Buying a useless pipeline, being a prime example of this. Apparently the federal NDP are imploding under their new leader. This leaves the Greens in a prime position to increase their voice. Everyone knows where the Green Party stands on important issues, especially climate change. Citizens know they can trust Green Party ethics and their integrity.

Elizabeth May will be in Prince George on March 2nd when she travels across the country by rail. It will be a great opportunity for the electorate to raise their questions and for Ms May to listen to her northern and western constituents and respond to their issues. There will be information regarding details of this visit as the date approaches. Elizabeth has recently returned from COP24 climate talks in Poland, so I am sure she will have lots to report from that conference and its shortcomings.

The most imminent Green event is UNBC’s Green Day scheduled for Tuesday Feb 4th 10am – 3pm at UNBC. This will include an array of electric vehicles and plenty of information regarding sustainable initiatives. Several UNBC clubs will have presentations and we are excited that a Green club has recently been instituted at UNBC, which is very active and a great source for information. On Elizabeth May’s last visit to Prince George in 2017, she inspired Mackenzie, who has now started the Green Club at UNBC. You never know when a person or event may inspire you to greater things so my philosophy is to always take every opportunity which comes your way. We are lucky in Prince George to have so many opportunities to choose from. More on Elizabeth May’s visit next time.

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