I managed to vote this weekend – it was probably the most excited I have ever been to vote for someone – I got to vote for Dan Hines who is running for the BC Green Party in Kamloops North Thompson and while I don’t know that Dan will win, it was the first time I’ve ever voted where I felt really good about my vote. At both the provincial and federal levels I’ve voted Liberal, Green and NDP in various elections. I tried to ‘vote strategically’ in the last federal election and felt horrible because I did not vote for a party or a candidate I particularly liked. I’ve even spoiled my ballot, in the last provincial election because while I really like Terry Lake and think he was the best Minister of Environment and Minister of Health we’ve had since I moved to BC and feel he was a good representative for Kamloops North Thompson, I couldn’t get behind the Liberals with Christy Clark. This time however, with the Green Party and Dan Hines, I was able to vote for a person and a party I believe in.
Anyways, why did I vote Green this time around? At a fundamental level, I like bold, ambitious policy that is grounded in sound environmental, social, and economic values. The Green Party has shown that ambition through the development of a platform that is based on smart policy and good research. While I don’t agree with the entire platform, there are elements that have really caught my eye including:
Universal Basic Income – economists of all stripes have said that this is a good policy that is worth looking at in more detail and could go a long way to alleviating poverty in a much more efficient manner and would put us in a stronger position as a society to deal with changes in the economy as permanent full-time work becomes more precarious for a larger segment of the population. The fact that the Green Party has stated that they will test this out in a smaller community is really interesting to me and could be a really compelling experiment in new social and economic policy.
Cancelling Site C – I feel that Site C has a strong potential to be an environmental and economic disaster. It needs to be cancelled and replaced with options that are more sustainable economically and environmentally. The Green Party is the only party that has taken this stand.
Banning non-personal donations to political parties – The more I learn about party financing, the more I realize that BC is a backwater on this issue and that it needs to change. While the BC Liberals are certainly the most egregious in how they raise money from corporations, the fact that the BC NDP is bankrolled by the big unions also does not make me comfortable. I would really like to see this reformed and the BC Greens have led by example in this regard.
Investment in preventative health – I really like their health platform and their emphasis on preventative healthcare. I think this is absolutely vital to ensuring that healthcare is delivered more affordably in our province, particularly as the population ages.
Transportation policy – the BC Green Party has pledged to keep tolls on the Golden Ears Bridge. While this may not be popular with users of the bridge, it must be recognized that comprehensive road pricing is an important solution to congestion and transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. It also introduces user-pay to our road system – frankly we need more road tolling, not less. The Green Party has pledged to maintain tolls on the Golden Ears Bridge and research and implement more policies on road pricing. They also have a comprehensive Transportation Demand Management program which includes exploring distance based insurance. These could be important and transformative policies that reflect actual best practices.
Carbon tax – one of the reasons I voted for the BC Liberals in the past was they were willing to adopt a carbon tax. Most economists agree that carbon pricing is the most efficient way of achieving greenhouse gas reductions. The BC Green Party commits to increasing the carbon tax which will help re-establish BC as a leader in taking action on climate change.
Electoral reform – the Green Party has long committed itself to electoral reform. We need this to end the polarized politics in BC. The Green Party not only commit to electoral reform, they will also consider reducing the voting age to 16 which I think is a really interesting proposal given how engaged youth are in politics (though this is self-serving because the Green Party always does well with people not old enough to vote!).
Along with the policies in their platform, there is also Andrew Weaver’s performance in the legislature. Despite only having one seat in opposition to a majority government he has actually managed to work with the other parties to get legislation passed. These haven’t been monumental bills but they do show a willingness to work with the parties in power to influence policy. If Dr. Weaver’s ability to work with the other parties permeates throughout the Green Party, we will be in good stead if there is a minority government.
Finally, there is Dan Hines himself – the person I actually voted for. I’ve met him a few times and he is exactly the type of person I want to represent our riding. I follow him on Twitter and Facebook. I have been impressed by his enthusiasm, intellect, humility, and drive to serve. He wants to do things differently. I know he would serve our riding with honour.
I applaud all of the candidates in our local area. They have all demonstrated great commitment to our community. I wish the winners well in serving our local ridings and hope that the people fall short will continue to work to make Kamloops a great place.