Election 2008 Ola! - Week Two
- The environment versus the economy?
- Could this be Canada’s first green election?
- CPJ calls media consortium to respect democracy
- Policies with possibilities: moving towards a green economy
- Excavating the Alberta oils sands with public justice
- Heading for an environmental train wreck?
- Being a world leader?
- Public justice questions
- Links to more information
- Party websites
Welcome to this special election edition of Ola! While Ola! is usually sent out once per month, during this election campaign, we at CPJ will be sending out weekly editions. These special Ola!s will go in-depth on pressing election topics, giving you comprehensive background information, provoking questions to ask your candidates, and much more.
The environment versus the economy?
Looking beyond the mistakes and disappointing personal attacks that obscured policy debate during the first week of the campaign, it’s clear that the environment and the economy were the two big issues. They were the focus of the first policy announcements from parties, and parties’ stances on the topics were the target of opponents and pundits alike.
To the average voter, it can be hard to find a way through so many competing options and arguments, especially given the gravity of the issues surrounding the environment and the economy. Both are important. But that does not mean they are in competition. The future of our economy depends on the future of our environment, while environmental protection could have a positive economic impact.
Public justice calls for government leadership in protecting the environment, as well as involvement from all sectors of society. But it also calls us as citizens to hold our politicians accountable for their actions and inactions on the environment. We offer some public justice questions to keep in mind while you study the options and question your candidates. Read more…
Could this be Canada’s first green election?
If the environment could rate Canada’s record, we’d get a failing grade. Our dismal environmental performance is evident in the withdrawal from the Kyoto Accord and the reticence to sign a new international agreement.
A public justice lens reveals that as human beings, we need to recognize our place within creation, and that we have no right to destroy was is meant to exist for all, and for all generations. It can be hard to see where and when real environmental policy change will occur. But we need to hold our candidates accountable and call them to a future that includes active care for creation. Read more…
CPJ calls media consortium to respect democracy
In a letter to the national chair of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and to the president of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, CPJ’s executive director Joe Gunn expressed deep disappointment for the media consortium’s decision last week to exclude Elizabeth May and the Green Party from the televised leaders’ debates.
“One would expect, and Canadians deserve, much higher standards of fairness and democratic behavior from entities who are allowed to broadcast to the public,” the letter states. In the letter, CPJ highlighted the need to enhance, not limit, democratic debate, outlining the Green Party’s legitimacy as a political voice.
Commenting on the letter, Joe elaborated on CPJ’s position: “As a strictly non-partisan organization, we’re not endorsing the Green Party’s platform. We are, however, asking that Canadian democracy be strengthened by preventing some contenders in the debate from blocking the right of Canadians to hear other legitimate voices.”
CPJ was pleased to see the media consortium reverse its decision and allow May to participate. Read the letter…
Policies with possibilities: moving towards a green economy
Despite claims that environmental reforms will harm Canada’s economy, it is evident that Canada could implement reforms that benefit both the economy and the environment. Through ecological fiscal reforms, like those implemented in Sweden, the government could ensure economic stability while also protecting the environment. Read more…
Excavating the Alberta oils sands with public justice
The massive oil sands developments currently unfolding in northeast Alberta are yielding complicated energy and economic paybacks as well as presenting many social, economic, political and environmental risks and costs. How should society analyze, interact and respond to these enormous developments? How can we discern whether the implicated actors are being responsible, or determine whether governments have historically, and are currently, playing appropriate public justice roles? In other words, how can we develop stewardly, equitable, and just policy responses and action-plans in response to the oil sands boom? Read more…
Heading for an environmental train wreck?
The western world has long put faith in progress and technological advances, expecting the rest of the world to keep up or get left behind. Yet being on this technological “high-speed train” can have dire consequences as we disregard the world around us. We need to step off of this train and take an intrinsically Biblical, creational view, granting priority not to our own inventions but to preserving the earth we have been given. Read this insightful excerpt from Bob Goudzwaard’s address “Towards a New Vision of Common Security.”
Being a world leader?
At the United Nations environmental conference in Bali, Canada had the chance to reveal its strengths as a world leader in environmental protection. However, this opportunity was missed – instead of being a world leader, the Canadian delegation stuck to old arguments of economic stability and was reluctant to make any strong commitment to environmental sustainability. Read more…
Public justice questions
Keep these public justice questions in mind as you study the options proposed by the parties on the environment and the economy, and question your candidates:
- Does this initiative take care for creation seriously?
- Does this initiative promote the economic, physical and social well-being of all Canadians?
- Does this initiative play off short term economic gain against the environment of future generations?
- Does this initiative emphasize the common good or particular interests?
- Does this initiative encourage Canadians (individuals, businesses, organizations) to change our behaviours?
- Is this initiative regressive – that is, does it impact poor people more? If so, are there steps that will be taken to offset the regressive impact?
Links to more information
The CBC has indepth pages on issues analysis as part of their election coverage. Their “Issues Analysis on the Environment” includes more information on each of the party’s stances, as well as on possible options for climate action.
The Declaration of Canadians for Climate Change, a group of prominent business leaders, academics, scientists, activists and former prime ministers, was released last week and can be found on the Pembina Institute website. The Pembina Institute’s site also includes more information on the environment, energy choices and policy options.
The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, an initiative of the federal government that brings together business leaders, labour representatives, universities, environmental organizations, Aboriginal communities and municipalities, also has information on policy options and reports on the expected impact of climate change on the Canadian economy.
Looking for party websites? Want to explore party platforms on the environment and the economy? Looking for more information on the policy announcements of the first week? Links to the websites of all of the parties hoping to run at least 50 candidates in this election can be found in our Canadian Elections section.
For all at CPJ, Chandra Pasma. Visit our website www.cpj.ca for an in-depth look at other issues, complete with provoking questions to ask your candidates. Let us know what you think of our mini election Ola!s by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’ll return to our regular Ola! schedule after the election wraps up.
Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) and our work of faith, justice and politics: