In Canada, All Politics is Local

davenport candidates photo
Davenport Candidates Mario Silva, Peter Ferreira, and Wayne Scott

Tip O'Neill should have been a Canadian, because his quote about all politics being local applies a lot more here than it did in Boston. We have the old British First-past-the-post parliamentary system where we don't vote for the leader but for the local candidate, and whichever party gets the most seats forms the government. As Judy Rebick noted in the Globe," If Canada had a democratic electoral system and the polls are right, next week we'd have a majority government that supports strong action on climate change."

Instead, there are four opposition parties with varying degrees of green cred splitting the environmental vote against the incumbent Conservative government. The Vote for the Environment people may be right when they say that we should vote strategically to get a strong environmentally aware government. As an example of the difficulties we face, I will look at the contradictions in my own Davenport riding in Toronto, where I started this post as an undecided voter and finished it committed.

ndp environmental policies image
Vote for the Environment says it has been "A safe Liberal seat forever, vote with your heart." Others would say that the NDP has the Liberals on the run. I have voted NDP federally all my life, but am furious with Jack Layton over his position on carbon taxes; the NDP has lost its mantle as the party of environmentalists. I voted for Peter Ferreira in the last election, he is a decent man and would make a good member of Parliament. But I wonder, can I do it again when I am so mad at Jack?

greenshift solar panels image

I like the Liberal party's Green Shift policy; I like their solar panels. I should think of swallowing my pride and voting Liberal for the first time, but Mario Silva is a party hack who pushed out Charles Caccia, the environmental conscience of the Liberal party for a generation, during the Martin/ Chretien coup d'etat. Can I vote for the guy who stuck a knife in the back of an environmental hero?

wayne scott election photo
Wayne Scott, then a bike courier, with Jack Layton, now NDP leader and then a city councillor

Wayne Scott, the Green Party candidate, is a "green transportation activist, musician and artist, and has lived in the Davenport riding for 20 years. In 1996, Scott co-founded Toronto Hoof and Cycle Courier Coalition (Hoof & Cycle), Toronto’s internationally recognized, active transport workers' guild where he advocates for an inter-modal transportation system that might better accommodate a more sustainable, healthier lifestyle...."

And then I kept reading the blurb and discovered that candidate Wayne Scott is the Alan Wayne Scott who has been in TreeHugger before, twice! He took the Canadian Government to court to get bike couriers the right to deduct their food costs (see Ride a bike? Maybe your food is a tax-deductable expense. and Food as Fuel: If You Bike To For Work, Is Your Lunch Tax Deductible?)

When I started this post I was truly undecided for the first time in my life, but if Wayne Scott can take on the Canadian Government and win, improving the lives of working cyclists across the country, who knows, he might win this. Vote for the Environment tells me that I can vote with my heart, and my heart tells me to vote for Wayne Scott. ::Green Party of Canada
More on the Canadian Election in TreeHugger
Canadian Election Update: Economy Trumps Environment
Green Shift Calls Liberal Party of Canada "Blatantly Unethical ...
Canadian Election Called for October 14 : TreeHugger
Vote for Environment Brings Much-Needed Attention to the Canadian ...

Tags: Activism | Bikes | Toronto

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK

treehugger slideshows