Issues

I feel the Green Party has the best policies of any political party. These policies are what attracted me, and many of you, to the Green Party. But many of you may want to know where I stand on certain issues. Below are some of my positions on some selective issues. Please feel free to e-mail me at andrew.west@greenparty.ca if you have questions on these or other issues.


PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

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Andrew speaking as a representative of the Green Party on Parliament Hill in February 2017, at a rally of disappointed voters after the Liberal government broke their electoral reform promise.

I became a major advocate of proportional representation after being a Green candidate in the 2015 federal election. I ran in the riding of Kanata—Carleton which was one of the ridings targeted by Leadnow for strategic voting. I experienced its impact firsthand at the door in the final weeks of the campaign. I met so many people who said they knew me and wanted to vote for me/the Green Party, but wouldn’t because they felt they had to vote strategically. People should feel they are able to vote for whoever they want, and not for the lesser of two evils.

I have been speaking to local high schools in the Ottawa area since 2016 about my experience in, and the importance of politics. This includes electoral reform. On the whole I feel the next generation of voters see that proportional representation makes sense and makes more votes count.

Electoral reform is a priority of mine and I think it’s the first issue we Greens need to address. Every issue we face today—including environmental regulations, jobs and handling the COVID-19 pandemic—could be handled justly and equitably by a more representative parliament; one that reflects all Canadians.

Having said that, as leader I will get the Green Party elected under first-past-the-post (see my “Vision” tab). Then it will be the Green Party that will have the integrity to change our electoral system to better represent all voters.


TAR SANDS

We obviously need to stop using fossil fuels in order to protect our environment. While we may not be able to turn the tap off overnight, we can stop the growth of the tar sands by ending all exploration of the area, have a moratorium on development, and let existing leases expire if unexploited.

We can then shift all the subsidies we are currently providing to tar sands industries towards investments in renewable energy. There are more and more new jobs in clean energy as it’s one of Canada’s fastest-growing industries.[1]

We need to ensure that any transition to renewable energy includes workers in the oil and gas industries. Proper training should exist for these workers, if they want it, to prepare them for new careers in the clean energy sector.


GUARANTEED LIVABLE INCOME

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll on almost every Canadian. The federal government has taken steps to ensure many Canadians receive additional funds to help pay their bills. But within the past two years the federal government could have had some type of national minimum income program which would have benefited Canadians today.

When people lose their jobs they also lose any additional health benefits (e.g. dental, prescription drugs, physiotherapy, mental health support, etc.). This may mean not being able to afford certain medications and treatment they need. A Guaranteed Livable Income can help prevent some people having to make a choice between prescriptions or food (in addition to a national pharmacare program which I also support). It should also allow people to have the security to learn new skills or start their own business without the fear of not being able to cover their basic necessities.

A Guaranteed Livable Income wouldn’t be a sub-poverty level stipend. It could eventually replace almost all social programs including E.I., O.A.S. and C.P.P.  The massive simplification of our social safety net should mostly pay for itself. 

Back in 2018, Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos supported the idea of a guaranteed minimum income, but the Liberals never followed through with it. A Guaranteed Livable Income is something the Green Party has been championing for years and the COVID-19 pandemic shows the need for it.

Ontario Liberals did start some universal income test projects—which were cancelled by the Ontario Conservatives—and the federal Liberals eventually may do the right thing, but likely only after trying everything else and, much like many other policies, years after Greens propose it.

Making sure all Canadians have the resources to stay healthy and stay warm should always be a priority.


SENIORS

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Andrew in 2008 with his Aunt Ruth who lived to be 100!

Many seniors were struggling to make ends meet even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Increases in the cost of living have made it difficult for seniors to stay in the homes they’ve lived in for years.

A guaranteed livable income and a universal national pharmacare plan can help address this.

Until a Guaranteed Livable Income is in place, Old Age Security (a basic income that already exists and works in Canada) must be adapted to meet the current needs of our seniors (i.e., a livable income).


INDIGENOUS RIGHTS

Indigenous rights was one of the major news stories before the COVID-19 pandemic, so much so that people took to blocking roads and railways across Canada to protest a controversial natural gas pipeline. Like climate change, Indigenous rights don’t go away when governments ignore them. Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples needs to continue, including addressing all the First Nations reserves that are still in desperate need of proper housing and are still under boil water advisories.

The federal governments need to establish an even stronger relationship with Indigenous peoples which includes dialogue, cooperation and partnership, and respect.


GROWING THE GREEN PARTY OF CANADA

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The Green Party will attract more people from all walks of life as we continue to grow. This will include people from across the political spectrum including Blue-Greens and Orange-Greens. We must attract first time voters and voters fed up with the three status quo parties.

Having a wide range of opinions, and a broad set of skills and experience is necessary. However, the party would be hurt if we took it to the extreme left or right.

We don’t need the “fixers” from the other parties or those who want us to become another party. We have talented people in our party that we need to encourage and support, while at the same time attracting and developing experts in election management, strategy and analysis.

We don’t need to be a more conventional party. Nor do we need the fixers and bagmen that other parties have.  What we do need are experts in management, strategy and analysis, etc. who share our values as Greens.


DEFICIT AND THE DEBT

71% of Green voters want the government to balance its books.[2]

During the 2019 federal election I supported the Green Party position to balance the federal budget over five years. That target must now be adjusted due to the economic impact of the current pandemic, but our goal as Greens should still be to live within our means whenever possible with a goal of paying off our debt. The millions we pay in interest alone should be used to help our people.


[1] Mia Rabson, “Clean energy one of Canada’s fastest-growing industries”, The Canadian Press (23 May 2019) online: Observer Media Group <https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/05/23/nes/clean-energy-one-canadas-fastest-growing-industries>.


[2] Ipsos, Press Release, “Slim Majority (52%) of Canadians Believe Recession is Coming Within a Year” (10 October 2019) online: Ipsos Limited Partnership <https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/ct/news/documents/2019-10/week_4_economy_part_2.pdf>.