Saturday, September 19, 2009

Green Party of Saskatchewan's Platform for the 2009 By-elections

Strengthening our Communities to Improve Wellness

Green Party of Saskatchewan MLAs will begin with a focus on promoting wellness, rather than focusing on bandaging symptoms. We will provide the tools our community needs to ensure the wellness of each citizen. The Green Party recognizes that by meeting an individual’s basic needs there is less stress on our health care system, reductions in crime, and an increase in productivity. Treating people after they are sick only goes so far. Instead let's prevent illness before it takes hold. We believe this can be done through strengthened communities.

Green MLAs will help strengthen our communities and encourage wellness by:

· Focusing on preventative and holistic health care initiatives
· Implementing a province wide food charter
· Creating more affordable housing so that at least 50% of residents in the riding are able to own their home rather than 15%
· Providing free, publicly funded childcare, with fairly paid and competent staff, and increase the number of spaces in day care centres to at least the Canadian average
· The development of integrated community wellness centre such as Station 20 West that integrate local food, life long education centres, community-based businesses, alternative housing initiatives, community organizations, child care and birthing centres
· Promotion of community kitchens, nutrition education programs, organic gardens and compost to provide for the ongoing food and nutrition needs of citizens
· Supporting a restorative justice approach that focuses on developing healthy relationships rather than punishing behavior that has been learned through poverty
· Implementing a Guaranteed Livable Annual Income (See

Green Party, Green Power! No to Nuclear. Go with Green.

We can meet the province’s energy needs with simple, clean, and affordable power instead of using expensive and dangerous technology to produce more than we need. The Green Party of Saskatchewan opposes plans for building a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan and for turning the North into a nuclear fuel waste dump.

The Green Party of Saskatchewan is calling upon the Government of Saskatchewan to immediately fund and make public independent studies into the health and public safety risks and the environmental impact of nuclear power and uranium mining, and we join the people of Saskatchewan in calling for full feasibility studies into energy conservation and renewable energy technologies before any decision on the energy future of Saskatchewan is made.
· Nuclear power is fiscally unsound. The last nuclear power plant in Canada came in seven times over budget, costing $14 billion dollars. This does not include the high cost involved in decommissioning old power plants.
· Nuclear waste cannot be stored, treated, or disposed of safely and remains toxic for hundreds of thousands of years.
· A large amount of radioactive tailings accumulate as a result of uranium mining. These tailings can leak into groundwater and affect the surrounding area, leading to increased cancer rates.
· Depleted uranium ends up in weapons such as missiles and anti-tank bullets.
· Nuclear power is NOT emissions free. Large quantities of greenhouse gases are produced in the mining and refining of uranium as well as during the long construction period of the power plant.
The Green Party believes that energy choices should be economically rational. The best energy choices to respond to the climate crisis should be those that deliver the greatest reduction of GHG per dollar invested. By this criterion, nuclear energy is among the very worst options. Reactors cost billions of dollars, take more than a decade to build, operate unreliably after about the first dozen years of operation, and only produce one type of energy: electricity. Even if the industry were “green and clean” as claimed by the pro-nuclear propaganda efforts, it fails on the economics. Nevertheless, it is neither clean nor green.

· Green Party MLAs will push for an extensive energy conservation program and the creation and implementation of alternative methods of energy production.
· Green MLAs will advocate that SaskPower pay for all excess power production produced by private citizens, corporations, or co-operatives from renewable sources. The rate of reimbursement is to be at least the same as the commercial rate charged by non-renewable energy sources such as coal.
· A Green Party of Saskatchewan Government will end subsidies to all established nonrenewable energy industries, and transfer these funds to subsidize the purchase and development of renewable energy production by both small and large-scale producers.
· Green MLAs will advocate for the development of a province wide Smart Grid to increase the efficiency of power transmission and take advantage of increased renewable energy production.
· Green MLAs will introduce legislation to ensure that all new houses and housing developments be designed to take advantage of Saskatchewan's abundant passive solar potential, including mandatory installation of solar hot water heaters, solar air heater and hot water heat recovery systems on all new houses, and mandatory installation of digital electrical control panels (ie. a Green Switch) that readily shows individual energy consumption as well as gives the ability to easily turn off all unnecessary power, in all new houses. Green MLAs will also work for the development of a program to retrofit all existing houses in Saskatchewan with such devices.

Spending billions of dollars on costly nuclear power would rob Saskatchewan of the chance to go green with clean and safe energy through increased energy conservation and renewable energy technologies. We only get one chance to fight climate change. We must not miss this chance to go green and to go renewable.

Restoring Democracy by Fixing our Electoral System

The Green party of Saskatchewan recognizes that we must fix the existing democratic deficit in Saskatchewan by changing our electoral system to be more proportionate - so that every vote counts. Our “first-past-the-post” voting system is outdated and is failing to produce results reflective of the general public. We have a “winner-takes-all “ electoral system that is leaving many voters without representation in government. Democratic politics has evolved significantly in Canada and in Saskatchewan, yet our voting system has stayed the same. Both federally and provincially, our voting system was designed for a two party system, but many political parties now represent the interests of Canadians and the voters of this province, not just two. An electoral system of proportional representation would make every vote count. The percentage of seats a political party would receive in an election would be based on the percentage of the popular vote that party receives. Governments elected by proportional representation reflect the priorities of all voters instead of just those who voted for the “winning” party.

Our current electoral system turns candidates and political parties into competitors instead of colleagues. It is hard to get work done in government under these pretences. If we are going to take concrete action on climate change, elected representatives will have to cooperate, and so will every province in this country and every country in the world. Proportional representation would reduce the overly partisan nature of our current political system that tends to make cooperation difficult. An electoral system of proportional representation would encourage collaboration and compromise so that elected representatives can stop fighting and can start taking action on the environment. It is time to put an end to democratic bankruptcy; it is time to restructure our electoral system to be proportionate.

· Green Party of Saskatchewan MLAs will work for the adoption of legislation that will discard the “first-past-the-post” electoral system and replace it with a more democratically representative electoral system based on "proportional representation”.
· Green MLAs will also work for the adoption of legislation that will limit contributions to political parties to individuals.
· Green MLAs will advocate for increased public funding support of the electoral process by giving a grant to Saskatchewan’s official political parties equal to a minimum of $1.00 per vote received by the party in a provincial election. The grant would be subject to increase with inflation.
· As a first step to creating more democratic participation in our decision-making process, Green MLAs will advocate to lower the legal age for voting in provincial, municipal and school board elections in Saskatchewan to 16 years of age.
Democratic bankruptcy Þ Proportional Representation is the solution.

Post-Secondary Education: Tuition should not be a debt sentence.

The Green Party of Saskatchewan believes that tuition should never be a barrier to education, and tuition should not be a debt sentence. Students should have a healthy, sustainable future, and students should be heard and not ignored by government. Students need to be part of the political dialogue. The Green Party of Saskatchewan recognizes that our universities are hubs of innovation and creativity, and we also recognize that the high cost of tuition is a major barrier for many people in Saskatchewan who would otherwise pursue post-secondary education.

Green Party of Saskatchewan MLAs will advocate for the restoration of adequate public funding to Saskatchewan's universities. The corporate sector's growing stranglehold on universities shall be eliminated.
All qualified citizens of Saskatchewan are entitled to free higher education, as they are to health care and secondary education. The Green Party of Saskatchewan will phase out post-secondary tuition for all academically qualified residents over a four-year period once we form government. This will also extend to academically qualified Graduate students who are residents of Saskatchewan.

Indigenous Groups

Green Party of Saskatchewan MLAs will immediately begin a dialogue with existing First Nations and Métis Nation communities and organizations in order to explore and address the issues associated with inherent First Nations and Métis rights, including rights to land and resources, as well as discussing urban and taxation issues.

In the interests of creating a more just society, the Green Party of Saskatchewan declares its belief that the full letter and spirit of Treaties signed between the Crown and First Nations in the past be respected and fulfilled by present governments at all levels. A Green Party of Saskatchewan Government will regard historic treaties made with First Nations as a bridge from the past to the future, knowing that all Saskatchewan citizens are the beneficiaries of these treaties and the quality of our common future depends on co-operation and mutual respect.

Green Party of Saskatchewan MLAs will work for the adoption of legislation so that all resource extraction projects are assessed for environmental and social impacts in full consultation with the affected local First Nations and Métis Nation communities and other local stakeholders, and that a project only be allowed to go ahead if it adheres to the laws of ecological wisdom and benefits local First Nations and Métis Nation communities and other local stakeholders.

Green Party MLAs will be a voice in government for:

· The promotion of “treaty education” at all levels of our formal education system as well as through public information efforts.
· Increased support for First Nation language teaching and retention through the development of a teaching and retention resource centre.
· Taking action to immediately address the treatment of aboriginals in the Canadian justice system and to investigate and address the disappearance of aboriginal women.
· Promotion of aboriginal culture, language and history as a fundamental source of Saskatchewan identity.
· Sharing resource revenues with Aboriginal communities so as to finance development within First Nations and Métis Nation communities.
· Implementation of targeted programs to help prevent and treat Type II diabetes.
· Increased support and programmes for mentoring from elders to young people.

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