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April 14, 2011

Orangeville Citizen/Free Press and Economist


Green leader May visits Dufferin-Caledon By BILL REA Caledon Citizen

Ard Van Leeuwen believes federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has one distinction over the other party leaders; she’s the only one likely to visit DufferinCaledon during the current campaign. The local Green Party candidate made the observation Sunday when Green supporters packed a dance studio in Orangeville to hear from the party leader. “I think Ottawa has forgotten where DufferinCaledon is,” Mr. Van Leeuwen commented. He said the New Democrats realize this is a tough riding to win. “I think they’re spending their time somewhere else,” he said, adding the Liberals and Conservatives aren’t much more interested. “Conservatives take this riding completely for granted.” He also said this riding doesn’t have a high profile in Ottawa, and he said he would change that if elect-

ed. Ms. May said Mr. Van Leeuwen would be a big asset for the party if he were to get elected. He’s the finance critic in the Green shadow cabinet, and she said if he gets to take on the federal budget, things will be in better shape. Ms. May boasted that the Greens have a fullycosted platform that will bring down the deficit faster than the plan put forth by the Conservatives. She added Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced he’ll cut $11 billion from proposed spending, but he didn’t say from where. She also charged that Mr. Harper got to govern over the Liberals’ sponsorship scandal, but that he’s used tax dollars to say what a good job he’s been doing. People in DufferinCaledon appreciate seeing tax dollars well-spent and hate to see it wasted. “I hope we’ve reached our limit,” she said. She lashed out at the government, charging it’s

Federal candidates comment • From page A6

Jean Chrétien approached then Premier Mike Harris about harmonizing the sales taxes. “He said ‘no,’” Mr. Tilson said. “I think Mr. McGuinty should have said ‘no.’” Mr. Tilson added HST is applied to more items than used to be covered by sales taxes. “It’s not a good time to have it,” he said. “It’s a tax grab by the provincial Liberals.” “It has been a benefit, in terms that it collects much less than PST and GST used to,” Mr. Van Leeuwen replied. Is Quebec separatism still an issue? “I would hope not,” Mr. Prout commented. “Quebec culture has a lot to offer Canada.” Mr. Prout added he’s spent a lot of time in Quebec, and believes people there are basically happy and don’t want another referendum. “Hopefully, it will never ever happen again,” he said. “I think it’s always an issue,” Mr. Tilson said, pointing out the Bloc Quebecois is likely to win about 50 seats in the House of Commons this election. “They’re a loud

voice in the House of Commons, they’re a loud voice in Canada. Their sole issue is an independent Quebec.” “It’s certainly less of an issue than it was in 1995, for example,” Mr. Van Leeuwen commented (the last referendum on independence was in 1995). “Many of the disparities have been addressed.” “It’s always going to be a challenge in Canada,” he added.

set aside $12 million over five years for selection of a site to host the Canada India Centre of Excellence. Ms. May called that an attempt to win over new Canadians; a “nonsensical pork-barrel announcement.” Ms. May also said the current government bears no connection with the P r o g r e s s i v e Conservatives. She said they are a new party, with no claim to financial responsibility. Addressing foreign policy issues, Ms. May said she’s got a lot of concerns. Regarding the situation in Libya, she said it’s unknown if the rebels are pro-democracy. She said Canadians are right to save lives and protect innocents from Moammar Gadhafi, “But we’re wrong to get involved in a civil war and pick sides.” “We have no business being at war in Libya,” she added. Ms. May agreed that Canada has a role in the world, but in the last five years, the country has fallen into disapproval. Canada lost a seat on the United Nations’ Security Council to Portugal, adding the country’s standing among nations suffered when it broke its obligations on climate

change. She also lashed out at the way Parliament has been operating, likening it to kids in a playground. Ms. May said Canadians don’t feel proud of their democracy any more. Government is supposed to be made up by Parliament as a whole, but she added Canadians don’t see much cooperation there, with the various parties falling into a pattern of non-stop bickering, rather than being a place where 308 parliamentarians sit in the public interest. Ms. May recalled her time working as a policy advisor for the federal Environment Minister in the 1980s, commenting those were days when Parliament worked. Part of her job was to make sure the opposition environment critics agreed with what the government was doing, so there was a consensus. She added that wasn’t really necessary, since these were the days of majority governments for Brian Mulroney. “It was as if you checked your partisanship at the door,” she said. That changed, Ms. May said, because Mr. Harper’s advisers have told him to be ruthless, and constantly threaten the oppositions with an election. She referred to it as “running democracy

against itself.” “It’s an insult to the Canadian electorate who sends these MPs to Ottawa to work for us,” she charged. As well, Ms. May pointed out there are Green candidates in every riding. In the last election, they got close to a million votes, but elected no MPs. In any other system, they would have had a number of members elected. “As Canadians, we want something better,” she declared, adding they want people, as voters, treated with respect. Mr. Van Leeuwen said that kind of support will be a big help if he gets elected, pointing out it will allow him to speak with the voice of about a million people. “That’s going to provide a big soapbox,” he said. “Ottawa will figure out where we are.”


PARTY LEADER WELCOMED: Dufferin-Caledon Green Party candidate Ard Van Leeuwen welcomed party leader Elizabeth May to the riding Sunday.



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