Normally a mid-term by-election in Canada wouldn't be news on TreeHugger, but one is happening in Toronto that is very interesting for a number of reasons, including some relevance to American readers. The riding, Toronto Centre, is the leftie heart of the city and possibly the country, so it is a battle between the Centre-left Liberal Party and the theoretically further-left New Democratic Party, although it is sometimes hard to tell them apart.
Running for the Liberal nomination (and a lock at winning it) is Chrystia Freeland, who just quit as managing editor of Thompson-Reuters in New York, and is author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. She calls the decline of the middle class the “big challenge of our generation.”
The probable candidate for the New Democrats is Jennifer Hollett, a former VJ and journalist fresh out of Harvard with a degree in public administration. Last year she developed the Super-PAC app for the American election. According to the CBC,
The idea grew out of a class in social television she was taking at MIT’s Media Lab. "I thought, what if you hold up your iPhone to a political ad and find out what's going on … and find out who's behind this, how much money [it cost] and is it even true, what they're saying."
Normally the third candidate shown would be a Conservative, but they have not yet chosen a candidate, who has about as much chance of winning here as Travis McCrea of the Pirate Party, who I include because of the party's absolutely wonderful policy platform that any TreeHugger would love. Some of my favorites:
Adopt the Passive House Standard for All New Buildings
The Passive House standard requires a house to be be so well constructed and insulated that it is warm enough without requiring much heating; typically it will require no heating at all. 30,000 passive houses have been built around the world and Canada should work to catch up. We will aim to ensure that all new houses built in Canada adhere to a reasonable standard that is as close to the Passive House standard in terms of aims as possible.
National Bottle Return Scheme
A bottle return scheme is a charge added to the price on a bottled drink that you get back if you return said bottle to a certified outlet (essentially a deposit). We will trial the implementation of a federal bottle return scheme schemes in Canada with a view to making them mandatory across the country if they are found to be as effective in Canada as they have been in Germany and other countries. Bottle return schemes change the social landscape in other ways, too: bottles aren’t left in the street, and if they are someone comes and picks them up, if only for the deposit. This ensures that there is less waste, more reuse and fewer glass hazards in public areas.
There are other policies regarding the arts, (Revitalize Libraries!) digital economy and digital rights, (Broadband Access For All!) and education (Make Publicly Funded Academic Research Available To All!) that are all terrific. If nothing else, voters should read these policies and ask the mainstream candidates for their positions on the same issues.
The Green Party Candidate is Mark Daye, described on his website as "A dedicated activist, blogger and hobby photographer, Mark is passionate about human rights, free speech and the environment. "
This is going to be a very interesting election.