Glen Murray has been listening to Greens across the country and has heard their ideas, dreams and hopes for the Green Party, the country and our environment. He has summarized those ideas and his experience in a series of discussion papers and opened it up to your input on-line. Please join this open discussion on everything from agriculture to carbon pricing to democratic reform and more.
Living by our principles
I am deeply motivated to re-imagining a socially just Canada, where people and communities thrive because ecological wisdom informs all decisions of government, corporations, and communities. Practical pathways to a socially just and ecologically wise Canadian society require a foundation of participatory democracy, respect for diversity, nonviolence, and sustainability. These principles inform my life’s work and purpose and they are the core principles motivating Greens around the world. That is why I am running to be leader of the Green Party of Canada.
What worries me most is that we cannot live by our principles if we do not get a handle on climate change. We must face the reality that our safety, security and health are at risk from our over-reliance on fossil fuels to power our lives. We need to increase – massively -- our reliance on non-polluting sources of energy. We need to reduce risk from extreme events to keep our families and communities safe.
Big, Bold and practical
Now is the time for big, bold, practical plans that, when implemented, the impossible is possible. Let us re-imagine our possibilities. What would happen if we designed waste and pollution out of our economy, out of our lives? What would happen if we kept products and materials to reuse instead of throwing them away? What would happen if our economy regenerated natural systems instead of destroying them? Well, we would have a thriving society fuelled by a circular economy. That is exactly the kind of society I want to help build here at home, in Canada.
Our re-imaged society is not only cleaner and greener. Big, bold, practical change happens when we take care of each other through the transformation. To build our circular economy, we need to put social justice first. Greens have always known this to be true. Greens are the real deal. We do not need a new green deal. We are the Green Deal, or as I like to call it, the Party with the 21st Century National Dream.
Can we imagine a Canada after we implement the 21st Century National Dream? I can. I see it clear as day. It is a Canada where we put people and communities first. It is a Canada where reconciliation is a Canadian priority. Reconciliation of people and planet. Reconciliation with indigenous peoples. It is a Canada doing its fair share to deal with global problems like climate change. It is a Canada prepared and ready to deal with extreme events whether climate related or pandemics. It is a Canada keeping its people safe, secure and healthy.
Climate change and the drastic decline in biodiversity are symptoms of an economic system built on overconsumption of virgin materials, a throwaway society, disregard for people and the planet. As leader of the Green Party of Canada, I will bring systems thinking to our work; systems thinking that gets at root causes, not just treats symptoms. Here is an overview of some of the ways I think we could make things better than normal so we can all be well.
Commit to bold goals, set in law, and enforce them
My 21st Century National Dream for Canada uses targets, set in law and enforced. Over the next 20 year’s Canada can create:
- A fully circular, zero waste, greenhouse gas neutral economy;
- Technologically savvy cities, towns and villages; and
- A restorative, ecologically diverse natural heritage.
We need zero tolerance of pollution to air, water, and soil. We need to prioritize protection of natural spaces. To achieve our 20-year goals, we need to set incremental targets so that in five, 10 and 15 years our vehicle fleets, neighbourhoods, homes, commercial buildings use less energy and are non-polluting because our electricity and transportation systems rely on affordable, reliable and renewable electricity. More of our food, a lot more, will come from crops and gardens we grow here in Canada.
Incentives would encourage reaching targets ahead of schedule
A just implementation of the 21st Century National Dream means ensuring low and modest income households, racialized and indigenous communities, and displaced workers participate. I believe that we can:
- Transition workers displaced from one industry to newly developing sectors.
- Use carbon pricing revenue to provide financing and grants to lower and modest income communities and households cut costs and pollution.
- Use other market-based instruments to accelerate progress towards a zero waste and zero carbon economy over the next 20 years.
- Introduce a guaranteed liveable income program, as well as other nationally funded programs like Pharmacare funded, in part, through pollution and other resource consumption charges.
Implementing the 21st Century National Dream could bring significant benefits, including:
- Advancing greener careers and job creation as part of the post-pandemic recovery and transition toward a renewable, regenerative economy.
- Reducing income inequality and increasing affordability through rapid reductions in energy use, and increasing reliance on increasingly low-cost renewable energy.
- Renewing communities struggling to retain people; a stronger tax base to maintain public infrastructure and services.
- Growing a vibrant, biodiverse natural heritage providing ecosystem services to people, habitat to all living things, and opportunities for connection to nature whether in cities, towns, villages or wild places.
Nation-to-nation agreements built on treaties and the respect for unceded territories
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is a foundational commitment to all Canadians. We know Indigenous ecological knowledge and life is in harmony with nature and recognizes that decisions must consider our grandchildren’s grandchildren. Understanding that all in this world is sacred and all of us on Earth are related and interconnected is a truth that we must embrace and internalize. We also owe an immense debt to our indigenous peoples.
There must never be another Grassy Narrows - all Canadians have a right to clean water, healthy communities, and economic development. Being in right relation with our Indigenous communities is a priority for me personally, as I know it is for the Green Party of Canada.
A foundation of our 21st Century National Dream is a new relationship with municipalities. As a long-time mayor of Winnipeg, I know local governments are the closest to the people and that the best decisions start as local decisions. A Green federal government, we will work in partnership with provinces to set clear targets municipalities will need to meet, but never without the support and resources needed to succeed.
Canadian provinces have the constitutional authority and autonomy to control costs and raise revenues. As leader, I would respect provincial jurisdiction and work in partnership to implement the national the 21st Century National Dream. Just like municipalities, provinces do not want unfunded mandates. I understand this concern having worked nationally as a Minister in Ontario, but also mayor of Winnipeg, and chair of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Big City Mayors Caucus.
Canada needs participatory democracy, not just representative democracy where citizens elect someone to act on their behalf. Participatory democracy means our votes count differently through proportional representation, but it also means Canadians engage more as citizens, not just as ethical consumers.
A vibrant democracy educates students about civics so they know how governments work and their role in making governments work well. A vibrant democracy provides regular opportunities for citizens to participate in decision-making, to provide input and to decide how they want their communities and country to be. As leader of the Green Party of Canada, I commit to doing all I can do more than just to do politics differently. I commit to doing what I can to ensure all Canadians can participate in politics differently.