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VOTE 2019 – ELIZABETH MAY: If you want to change our government, start…

NOTE: Postmedia’s Toronto Sun has offered column space to all of the major political party leaders to make their pitch to you, the voter. Here is Green Party Leader Elizabeth May’s contribution.

By Elizabeth May

I have been active in grass roots campaigns almost all my life.

Whether as a waitress and cook in my family’s business or later as a lawyer or staff in a national environmental group, for me, working for a better world was always about active and informed citizenship.  I had not imagined I would have a political career until I was in my 50s.

In my previous non-partisan life, I liked to quote a friend who quipped, “It doesn’t matter who you vote for…The government always gets in!”

This time, Greens are asking you to think way outside the box: elect a government that inspires, mobilizes and leads our society to a brighter future. We have to stop allowing big business to have so much access and influence. We have to reject the ideological framing of “the government” as something blocking us – outside of us – with its hand in our pocket.

We have to reclaim democracy and take control of our government.

We believe that there is nothing that cannot be accomplished when Canadians pull together. We need government action, but we have to control and direct it for the benefit of all of us – not just the privileged few.

We need to take on our tax code and subject it to a full evaluation – root and branch – to determine if it works for Canada.

Generations of political leaders have larded on tax rebates, subsidies, boutique tax breaks that boggle the minds — even of our tax accountants.  We will hold the line against any tax increases to you and your family, but ramp up taxes and remove the breaks for the billionaire class.

We can find revenue for programs we really need – like universal pharmacare so no Canadian has to pay for their prescription drugs and like abolishing tuition so our young people do not start out in life debt-ridden. We can go after off-shore tax havens, obscene levels of profit by the big banks and e-commerce multinationals operating in Canada and paying virtually no tax (Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc).

We also know the decision-making structures of 1867. The British North America Act was written for a country of 3.4 million, where most lived in rural areas.

Now, we are more than 37 million, with 26.5 million living within a metropolitan area. The Greens want to enhance federalism and improve decision making, without opening up the constitution.  Our model is the Council of Australian Governments. That council makes large policy decisions, going beyond their federal-state governments to give local governments a seat at the table.

Our Council of Canadian Governments takes it one step farther – to include indigenous governments, First Nations, Metis and Inuit.

As we all know, there is only one taxpayer.

Wouldn’t it be great if multiple orders of government were all moving in the same direction to meet the same targets and goals, whether for housing, health care or strategies to prepare for the changes to be brought on by artificial intelligence?

Together, we can confront the climate crisis, creating millions of new jobs. We can ensure justice and fairness, correcting the unspeakable harms visited on indigenous peoples on whose land we live.

We can do all this because we care for each other. We can do all this to protect the future for our kids. Please look at our platform for full details.

And think about the difference it will make when you change the way you vote.

You might even get the government you’ve always wanted; people who will never let you down or betray your trust.

— Elizabeth May is leader of the federal Green Party

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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