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To start, let me introduce myself as a political orphan.
I joined the Liberal Party as I was entering university in 2013, inspired in part by Justin Trudeau’s promise to do politics differently. I participated in the university student club, and even briefly volunteered for a local Liberal candidate in the 2015 election.
Since the Liberal’s victory, however, I have been disappointed again and again.
Be it the Liberal’s failure to control spending, scandals such as the Aga Khan trip and SNC-Lavalin, or the lack of progress on the ecological front, the past four years have not vindicated my naive belief that Justin Trudeau was a new type of politician.
Two years into the Trudeau government, when my Liberal Party membership came up for renewal, I declined.
In the two years since I ceased being a Liberal supporter, I have found myself without a political allegiance. As is the case for most Canadians (and independent thinkers), I do not identify completely with any political party. There are policies and values I like in all the major parties.
Since the beginning of my political emancipation, however, numerous studies have shown that the health of our planet may be in a more fragile state than previously thought. For instance, insects across the world are dying off in what some have dubbed an “insect apocalypse”. Equally frightening, since 1970, the number of birds in North America has dropped by three billion, a decrease of 29%.
In the sea, both coral reefs and marine life are being threatened like never before. In study after study, everywhere we look, in the sky, on the earth and in the sea, entire ecological systems are collapsing.
It is clear something is happening.
It is easy to be skeptical of “climate change” (a terrible title that only touches on one aspect of global ecological damage). Scientists have been wrong before, and people seeking power have definitely lied before. But now the consequences that were predicted decades ago are starting to show. The last five years are the five hottest since we started tracking global temperature, species across the planet are dying en masse, and the glacial ice sheets are melting much faster than we predicted.
Half the country is living paycheck to paycheck, in constant economic anxiety.
To ask them to make the survival of the planet their main concern at the ballot box, when their personal survival always seems precarious seems a big ask.
I should know, I am one of the millions of Canadians always struggling to make ends meet.
And yet, to not act in the face of such a crisis would be an unforgivable act of cowardness. I want to ensure that our planet is livable for my children and grandchildren, and for the first time in history there is a chance that this might not be the case. To make any other issue the main ballot question would be weakness.
Surveying the parties, leaders and platforms, it appears that only Elizabeth May’s Green Party is truly taking the crisis seriously. Combating climate change is at the heart of all policy for the Green Party. For instance, though Canada is the 9th largest emitter of C02 in the world, we only produce about 2% of global emissions. It is therefore necessary to make pushing other countries to do more on the climate front a main foreign policy objective.
On the domestic side the Green Party’s proposals are by far the most ambitious. They double our current goals, calling for us to cut emissions 60% by 2030. And unlike the other parties, they are specific about the steps they will take to reach these goals (there are so many pieces that I won’t list them all here, but if you are interested, here is their platform).Of all the leaders, only Elizabeth May has the courage to call the current climate crisis what it is, a threat to the continued existence of human civilization.
A common misconception of the Green Party is that it is a one trick pony. Yes, it has good climate policies, but people are broke, remember? Luckily, Ms. May also aims to help ease the affordability crunch that faces Canadians across the country. Under the portion of their platform named “Renewing the Social Contract” the Green Party vows to help the average person through pharma-care, increasing the minimum wage, creating a “Universal Guaranteed Livable Income” program and more.
Now this may all sound like it will cost a lot, and it will. But the Green party has fully costed their platform and has submitted it to the Parliamentary Budget officer for verification. In contrast to the Liberal Party, fiscal responsibility means something to the Green Party. Unlike the Liberals, who have no plan to bring the country back to surplus, the Greens pledge to do so in five years, the same amount of time that the Conservatives say that they will take.
To be sure there are things that the Green Party is promising that I do not support. But that is life, only ideologues will agree with everything that a party stands for. When taken as a package, only Elizabeth May’s Green Party has the courage to identify the scope of the issues that we face and the bravery to put forward the solutions that are necessary.
It would be easy to ignore the potential ecological collapse when we head to the ballot boxes in under a month, but this would be weakness. For that reason, come October 21st this political orphan is voting Green.
READ MORE ABOUT EACH PARTY
Series: As a part of our 2019 election coverage we have reached out to supporters of every party and asked why they plan to vote the way they do.
Throughout the election, we will be releasing these views.