1. Will your party continue to reduce both business and personal taxes to ensure that BC remains competitive with its neighbours and an attractive place to invest and work?
No. The Green Party believes that future economic development is not contingent on continuing to cut taxes, reduce salaries and lower environmental standards. By accepting the idea that “Whatever is good for big business must be good for the economy”, we are producing a world where business simply locates in those countries with the lowest standards.
Our region has vast and very valuable resources. We can gain a lot more wealth and a lot more jobs by utilizing and processing our resources locally. The Green Party believes our economy can grow without lowering standards.
A Green Party government would increase employment opportunities on the islands. The popular perception is that both the fishing and forestry industries have hit hard times, but in terms of dollars earned they are both stronger than ever. What has happened is that the wealth generated by our resources has become concentrated in fewer hands and in core regions. The Green Party is committed to the idea of local processing and labour. Many rural and isolated regions of our province have weak economies. The Green Party believes that finding and supporting economic development in these regions should be a top priority, even at a cost to the overall economy.
The Green Party is against the privatization of Crown Corporations and would favour regaining public control of key service corporations (such as the BC Ferry Fleet).
70% of all visitors to BC visit the Vancouver coastal area and mountains. If elected, what would your government do to encourage the tourists to visit the rest of the province, particularly these islands.
The Green Party is a strong supporter of tourism and eco-tourism as an environmentally friendly and sustainable industry. A Green government would expand and protect the parkland in the province and create our first provincial marine parks.
1. How will your government ensure that the BC timber sales for small business are protected and expanded to allow greater opportunities for small businesses?
Small business is the primary economic engine that drives our economy. Our governments have often ignored small businesses in order to appease big business, but small businesses employ far more and create much more local wealth. A Green Government would encourage the expansion of timber harvesting by smaller companies wherever possible.
2. New forestry legislation is viewed by many as a framework for big companies to have control over forestry resources. Will you commit to consulting with small business and northern communities to better understand concerns and the long-term implications of changes such as the removal of cut levels tied to communities.
Yes, the Green Party believes that all local stakeholders including small business, local communities and aboriginal groups must be consulted and included in any decisions about resource management.
3. How would your government implement policies to stop the export of raw logs and require local value-added processing?
A Green Government would rapidly phase out the export of raw logs. We are living amongst one of the best, and most valuable, forests in the world. It is ridiculous how little local wealth is generated by the harvesting of our timber. Shipping raw logs to pulp and paper mills in Asia and then shipping the finished product back to be sold in North America is not economically or environmentally sensible.
What is your stand on lifting of the moratorium for oil and gas exploration in Hecate Strait?
The Green Party opposes the lifting of the federal moratorium. Furthermore, the Green Party would put a provincial moratorium on oil and gas exploration.
There are three main reasons why we are opposed to further fossil fuel development
– Fossil fuel consumption is the primary cause of global warming. It is time we dealt with this problem.
– With oil prices rising almost 50% in the last year it is obvious that alternative energy sources will soon become economically viable. The sooner BC embraces that concept the more competitive we will be in the future energy industry.
– The frequency of extreme winds and earthquakes makes the Hecate Strait region a particularly unsuitable place for oil and gas development.
If elected, will your government ensure health care clinics are funded for small communities without hospitals, on the QCI islands and other northern communities?
The Green Party believes that no British Columbian should be more than half an hour away from medical treatment. A Green Government would ensure that this would become a reality, even though it would not be beneficial to the overall economy.
The economy and tourism can only advance as swiftly as the transportation system can move goods and people. If elected, will your government ensure that ferry transportation is protected and upgraded for the QC Islands?
The Green Party believes that the BC Ferry system should be completely in public hands and that it should be seen as a necessary service. It is worth noting that our leader lives on the Sunshine Coast and recognizes the importance of an efficient ferry service.
What is your position on the legal decisions recognizing rights of the Haida? Would your government honor existing commitments?
The Green Party believes that aboriginal groups are important stakeholders in any decisions regarding their traditional areas. Our government would honour any existing agreements and try to expedite the treaty process.
1. Across the province, 113 schools have been forced to close because of under-funding. On Haida Gwaii, two of our schools are in small communities where students and parents live in fear of their school closing. What will you do to ensure that no schools are closed in Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte?
Government often only care about the “bottom-line”. If the budget is balanced and the economy has grown then they must be doing a good job. The Green Party believes that some things should be done even if they aren’t the most profitable. A Green Government would ensure an equality of services across the province.
2. During the last four years the BC Liberals have used declining enrollment to justify the cuts made to education. In fact, only one in four of teachers cut can be attributed to declining enrollment. What will you do to ensure that staffing levels are sufficient to provide top notch educational programs?
The Green Party is committed to restoring funding to all the social services, including education. One plank of the Green Party is that we must think of the long term when making decisions. Short term investment is always worth the long term benefit. Education is one area where it is highly profitable to invest in.
3. Before the Teachers’ Collective Agreement was stripped by the Liberal government, students had more schools to attend, more selection of courses, more attention in the courses they were taking, more access to libraries, and more support from specialist teachers. What will you do to ensure that these very important aspects of public education are again guaranteed for students?
Again, the Green Party is committed to restoring the funding that was cut from the education system by our previous government.
4. The Liberal government removed all the contractual protections for students with special needs. Now they are integrated into regular classes without adequate support. This situation has become a great concern in schools of Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte. What are you prepared to do to ensure adequate support for students with special needs?
The Liberal Government invariably measures success with an economic ruler. Problems faced by groups and individuals are often trivialized into the costs involved. The Green Party believes that things like homelessness, crime rates, environmental degradation and access to services (as in the example above) should be considered before we decide if a government is doing a good job.
5. Will you support full collective bargaining rights for teachers, including the right to bargain working and learning conditions?
Yes, but others (such as parents and aboriginal groups) must be including in the establishment of learning conditions as well.