Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May (left) at a recent town hall meeting in Ashcroft with local Green candidate John Kidder and attendee Colin Mastin. Photo: David Gory

Elizabeth May has novel solution for providing potable water to reserves

Community service for SNC-Lavalin not a far-fetched idea, she says

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May was in Ashcroft on July 12 for a town hall meeting, and the Journal was able to sit down with her afterwards. Part one of the interview ran in last week’s paper.

With the federal election less than three months away, voters are anxious to know the contents of the various party platforms, and May says the Greens have every intention of making their full platform available as soon as possible. She notes, however, that summer is not necessarily the best time to do this, with people away and their minds on other things.

“I’d like our platform to be out there before the writ drops, so that people know we’re serious and that we have a full platform. We’re looking at changes to our tax regime. We won’t raise taxes on average Canadians or small businesses, but we will raise taxes for some of the larger corporations and some of the wealthiest Canadians. And we’ll go after money in offshore accounts.”

May says another source of revenue would be going after e-commerce companies such as Amazon, and social media sites such as Facebook, which draw money away from businesses in Canada. “They have an impact on our economy, but they pay no taxes here.”

The Journal notes that recent flood events in the region have left people frustrated that they cannot take action to protect their properties because of Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) strictures about actions that might affect riparian habitats. May says that we need to have a comprehensive climate adaptation strategy.

“In a climate emergency, DFO’s normal go-to position has to change. The debris that’s coming down the rivers is accelerated by having had major fires, and it’s far in excess to previous pre-climate emergency conditions. We have to have a sensible approach that looks at the Fraser and Thompson River basins and figures out how we control flood levels. It means doing things a bit differently.”

May has a novel solution to the ongoing lack of potable water on many First Nations reserves: make construction giant SNC-Lavalin, if found guilty on the fraud and corruption charges it faces, responsible for providing potable water to all reserves in the country.

“The Government could say ‘We’re not letting the judge decide what your penalty is, we want you to do community service, and this is what we’re telling you to do.’ It’s absolutely viable. And maybe there are other projects we’d like them to do too.

“Community service, for a large corporation, would be a very interesting approach. It would keep the workers working, The shareholders of SNC-Lavalin wouldn’t like it, but maybe they should have paid more attention. We’ll see what the verdict is. This is an obvious place where we can get a lot of work done that doesn’t break the bank on the federal taxpayer.”

May is asked if she senses—in advance of the 2019 election—a shift towards the Green Party.

“So much, yes. In a couple of national polls we’re either right on the heels of the NDP as the third party or we’ve overtaken them. Our trajectory is great. Electing Greens isn’t, for me, about building a power base for our party: it’s about making sure we get good government. It looks like there might be a minority parliament—we’re more prepared than any other party to work across party lines. We’re more prepared than any other party to cooperate with absolutely anyone who is prepared to at least meet the minimum requirements of serious commitment to climate action and equity.”

May says she hopes people in rural communities look at the Green Party as a choice come the election, noting the party’s rural roots.

“We have a lot of farmers within the Green Party who inform our agricultural policy. I’m from a small town myself. We’re committed to the integrity and the long-term health of rural Canada.

“We care about urban areas too, but Ashcroft and Clinton and Cache Creek and Lytton and Lillooet: all of those communities will find advocates for rural health and rural dignity in the Green Party. We will fight for that.”



editorial@accjournal.ca

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