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North Okanagan-Shuswap: Green candidate Chris George

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October 15, 2015 - 3:04 PM

We don’t endorse any single candidate. Our comments on these answers are an assessment of whether the candidate gave a candid answer as we asked for (REAL) or relied on party platforms, leadership or attacks on rivals for their answers (PUPPET).

To understand this post, please read this first.

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OUR TAKE: No strings on this guy. Chris George is an example of what we look for in candidates. Here, he's open, up front, isn't afraid to speak his mind even against his party when required, looks to the future and avoids swipes at other candidates. His goal is not simply power, but solutions. While voters inclined to a Green mandate may find help in the Green Party platform, Chris George is grounded in local issues and is truly a candidate in a party, not a party candidate, and should sway your vote.

1. The number one concern I hear from voters is:

It depends. I have spent much of my time in the past week visiting with those on the margins of our community. Their number one concern is poverty and the lack of supports for very basic things that others take for granted. I suppose that if I had focused the last week on different neighbourhoods, I might have heard something different, but this weeks theme is definitely poverty and marginalization.
We live inside a complex system (society) that is wrapped in another complex system (the biosphere of the planet). People themselves are incredibly complex, with numerous competing elements constantly pulling and tugging at our consciousness for attention. Listening to people is challenging, especially when they want to listen to me. Trying to parse out what their real issues might be is difficult. We often end up talking about what is on my mind, not what is on theirs.
Since the campaign began, there have been a number of issues up for discussion. There really hasn't been one overwhelming issue that has come forward.

OUR TAKE: The candidate gave a very personal answer. Well done. REAL

2. As an MP, what could you do to ensure zebra/quagga mussels stay out of B.C. water systems?

As an MP, I could work with the province and the federal agencies involved to do our very best to keep these species out of our waters. It will require cooperation, vigilance and luck to succeed in making it so.

OUR TAKE: Succinct answer acknowledging the difficulties we face, the cooperation needed with provincial authorities and yes, luck. REAL

3. Do you personally believe in criminal penalties for recreational marijuana use?

No. I believe that legalizations, regulation and taxation is the path forward. We need to legalize it because the law creating prohibition for this substance was never justified using evidence. We need to regulate it because regulation has proven to be the most effective method of keeping harmful substances out of the hands of kids. And we need to tax it because the government could use the revenue for socially constructive things rather than leaving all of the profit in the hands of organized crime as we do now.

OUR TAKE: While the answer is similar to the party position, it was answered honestly. REAL

4. Name one example of an issue you disagree with your party on. How would you reconcile that disagreement?

My party thinks that we should give the companies farming salmon in the waters of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland should have ten years to transition to onshore facilities. I fully support the Green Party of British Columbia position on this and would hand them 60 days notice.
We live in a wild salmon riding. Their return year after year to feed the lakes, streams and forests of the North Okanagan-Shuswap with the nutrients in their bodies makes them a critical part of the ecosystem here. Their loss, to climate change, habitat destruction, mining disasters and especially the harm done by the concentration of disease that the salmon farms allow all threaten their continued existence. THe salmon feedlots are something that we can deal with quickly and decisively and I will continue to advocate for action on this, no matter what my party may have to say on the issue.
The reconciliation would have to be in the form of a policy recommendation at the next policy convention and to keep talking about it until something changes.

OUR TAKE: A good, well-thought out disagreement with an answer on how to reconcile the difference. REAL

5. Do you believe the federal government is doing enough to deal with mental health in our communities, in our courts and in our prisons? What can it do better?

No, I do not.
It is clear that the hodgepodge of "solutions" to mental health that the provinces have come up with are not firing on all cylinders. Ottawa can lead the way by using the same model as the Canada Health Accord. Advancing conditional, targeted funding works. The federal government can demand standards and provide funding to provinces that meet those standards.

OUR TAKE: Seems like a solid grasp of the situation with his own answers. REAL

6. Do you believe the federal government is doing enough to help veterans? What can it do better?

No, I do not.
The federal government can start by restoring our role as peace keepers and stop putting our armed forces in harms way in pursuit of dubious geopolitical goals. The specifics of what should be done would start by rolling back every bit of legislation passed by the Harper government on this file.
Then we need to listen to what the veterans and their families want. The last thing they need is to have something imposed on them by a government in Ottawa. It is time we stopped treating government as a tool of control and started treating it as a way to help people. That has to start with listening to what the people need.

OUR TAKE: While he takes a measured swipe at the Conservatives, his answer looks forward, not backward. REAL

7. Do you believe a minority government can be effective?

Yes. From the perspective of the people of this country, minority governments have been the only ones who have acted in our interests instead of the interests of the ruling class. Minority governments require cooperation and collaboration to work. I believe that this alone leads to better outcomes for Canadians.

OUR TAKE: Again, similar rhetoric to the party, but this appears to be a belief of the candidate, which is what we asked for. REAL

BONUS Will you declare your support for increasing openness and transparency in government and commit to interviews by the news media once elected? Yes or No.

Yes and yes. We need the media to step up and fulfil their traditional role as watchdog. Those in power must be held to account. The system breaks down when those in power dodge the media or when those in power own the media. Politicians must do their part to ensure that the ability of the media to hold them to account is not stifled. Accountability starts with evidence and the media are in a unique position to collect and publish it. The impermeable shell presented by Conservative MPs and candidates makes it impossible for the media to do its job.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
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