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Frequently Asked Questions

Why the Green Party? Isn’t it kind of, you know, fringe? Single issue? Granola and patchouli and all that?


“Far from it: the Greens are practically the official opposition in Calgary, and their star is on the rise across Canada:

The Green Party has finished ahead of the traditional parties in Calgary many times in the last few elections. As a moderate, future-focused party, the Green Party is where people from all political stripes can find common ground.
As of 2011 the party has its first MP —the first Green Party representative ever elected to public office in North America—in the staggeringly smart and energetic Elizabeth May, who Walrus Magazine called “the country’s hardest working politician.”
The Green Party platform is a comprehensive reform plan, with a moderate economic policy and strong positions on electoral reform, affordable housing, defense, transit, you name it. I’m excited to run for the Greens because I know I’ll have a chance to help that platform shape and evolve to better represent my vision of livable cities and a bright sustainable energy future for Canada.”

Wait, don’t the Greens want to shut down the oil sands and power the world with positive vibrations or something?


“It’s Green Party, not Greenpeace—we’ve never called for a halt to the use of Canada’s resource wealth and I’d never have my name on a banner associated with something so reckless and unrealistic.

  • At my nomination meeting, Elizabeth May pointed out what makes the Green Party so different. “The Green Party will never attempt to control the thoughts, actions or positions of our MPs.” When I get to Ottawa, unlike any of the other candidates, I will be free to represent Calgary Centre and the amazing vision for the future that I’ve laid out in my most recent books.
  • The Green Party supports responsible, sustainable development in the energy sector. This means growth, innovation, and the opening of new markets—but under a regulatory apparatus led by the federal government that’s second to none
  • My sustainable energy vision sees the one-time gift of fossil fuels as an engine to power Canada’s transition to a low-carbon renewable energy future. And though everyone likes to say that, I actually spent the last 10 years researching how to do it. Ask me about Germany, though I’ll warn you the full answer will take awhile. And it somehow involves beer and currywurst.”
  • People are saying Dan Meades is a veritable saint and Harvey Locke doesn’t just hug trees, he gives them soothing back massages. Aren’t you just splitting the vote?


    “Candidates don’t split the vote; voters do. If a transformative candidate emerges, progressive voters in Calgary Centre will come together at the polls (as they have before). That said . . .

  • Elizabeth May made attempts at formal cooperation between the progressive parties for the three by-elections this fall. It was a nonstarter with the Liberals and NDP.
  • The NDP don’t have the support base to win, and the Liberals don’t have a transformative candidate. Dan Meades is starting way late and toeing a party line that is openly hostile to Calgary’s interests under Thomas Mulcair; Harvey Locke is a great conservationist but is far out-of-touch on urban issues, hasn’t lived in Calgary in more than 10 years, and openly stated to his local paper (The Banff Crag & Canyon) that he was okay with losing because then he could “stay in Banff where we want to be.”
  • My campaign’s the only one that has attracted staff and volunteers across party lines and built the momentum to emerge from the pack and really challenge Joan Crockatt for the seat.”
  • That’s all just swell, really, but can Chris Turner actually win?


    “Look, I admire the heck out of people who sacrifice their time and energy to run for office knowing they can’t win. They are noble people, truly. I’m not one of those people. I’m in this to win it, and there is a path to victory. How?

  • Simply put, the best candidate and the strongest team. I’m the bestselling author of two influential, National Business Book Award-finalist books on livable cities and our sustainable energy future. I’m a prominent public figure, a “star candidate” handpicked by Elizabeth May to win a second seat for the Greens.
  • Calgary Centre has always voted in strong numbers for the Green Party (including a virtual tie for second by T4YYC’s awesome volunteer coordinator Natalie Odd in 2008). And Calgary Centre’s never seen a Green campaign like this one—fully funded, amply staffed, ready to battle stride for stride with the other parties.
  • By-elections are unpredictable. Voters know they aren’t picking the next government, so they rally behind the best candidate. This time around, we know Calgary’s ready to have a real voice instead of just another backbencher.”
  • What are your thoughts on protecting Canada’s supply of potable water? How would you protect our water?


    “Canada’s abundance of natural bounty is well known, and there’s probably no resource more precious than our fresh water supply–1/5 of the world’s fresh water is within our borders. There are two crucial ways that I would work to protect this priceless resource: the first is by not putting a price on it, which is to say I would oppose privatizing it for short-term profit.

    The second way would be to restore funding for the second-to-none freshwater research and monitoring system that was decimated by the Harper government in the omnibus bill and subsequent acts. Top of the list would be restoring funding to the world-class Experimental Lakes Area–which could have been funded for 25 years for the cost of upgrades to Tony Clement’s riding ahead of the G8 summit in 2010, and which has been responsible for discovering the causes and impacts of acid rain, phosphorus and other pollutants on our freshwater supply. Reversing the changes to the Navigable Waters Act is another priority.”

    Canada’s food safety inspection protocols are being challenged by the XL Foods beef recall. What action would you like to see taken to reassure Canadians about food safety (for example, would you be willing to mandate new labelling on tenderized steaks so Canadians will know how to properly cook their beef for improved safety)?


    “Again, reversing reckless Harper government cuts to the country’s monitoring apparatus is a top priority. This spring, despite warnings that it would jeopardize food safety, the government eliminated 100 food inspection jobs across Canada. The XL recall has shown us all too clearly that Canada’s food safety should not be a political issue. Labelling might help, but the burden should not be on Canadian consumers – we need proper safety inspections and we need to give the Canada Food Inspection Agency all the resources it needs to do the job.”

    What is your opinion of the First-Past-The-Post system of
    voting? And would you consider looking at some form of proportional
    representation?

    “In keeping with Green Party policy, I am in favour of
    pushing Parliament to consider comprehensive electoral reform, and a
    proportional representation system similar to the one in Germany (where voters
    cast separate ballots for candidate and party) strikes me as the ideal to
    strive for. At present, Parliament’s makeup does not accurately reflect the
    democratic will of the Canadian people; 38% of voters comprise a “majority,”
    and new parties with fresh ideas are shut out of decision-making. What’s more,
    the first-past-the-post system encourages ferociously divisive partisanship in
    a winner-take-all government. Canadians are not well served by their electoral
    system at present.”

    Do you support the creation of a National Energy Strategy, including alternative energy sources (such as wind and solar) in the mix? And what are your timelines for doing this?


    “Changing the conversation about Canada’s energy future in Ottawa is a top priority of my candidacy. Right now, we are mired in an immature, divisive partisan mudslinging match about one of the most important issues facing Canadians–Calgarians, in particular. We need to have a calm, rational national conversation about energy. We need to decide how best to develop our conventional energy resources today–in a way that’s acceptable and beneficial to all Canadians–and invest the wealth this generates in building the low-carbon energy future we know we must provide for our children. I’ve spent the last 10 years researching, writing and speaking about the enormous opportunities created by investment in renewable energy sources–not just to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions but also to create a new industrial sector and give everyday Canadians a chance to generate their own power on a decentralized grid.

    I think this conversation would best be conducted under the rubric of a National Energy Strategy involving cooperation between the federal government and all the provinces, but in the event that proves impossible, time is of the essence. Parliament should’ve had this conversation years ago. The lack of federal leadership – creating uncertainty for the oil patch and eroding confidence in Canadian stewardship at home and abroad–is a huge and growing liability. We need to initiate this process as soon as possible, which is why it is an absolute top priority for my campaign. I think as a Green Party MP for Calgary Centre, I’d be able to bring a singular amount of political capital and focus to this issue, and I know I can build bridges between industry, governments and critics in ways that parties already stuck in the partisan shouting match cannot.”

    Canada’s economy has been hailed around the world, but there are indications of concern around the levels of household debt and housing prices. Moody’s is reviewing six Canadian banks for downgrade and the provinces like Alberta are not helping build confidence by operating under huge deficits. What are your ideas to preserve our economic integrity going forward?


    “One thing these trends tell us: this is no time to be complacent about the Canadian economy. Yes, we weathered the financial storm of 2008 better than most, but we still need to be moving with much more intensity into the real growth sectors of the 21st century economy. Simply put, we need to be targeting our “Economic Action Plans” and everything else toward becoming global leaders in the green economy. In Germany, renewable energy alone created 300,000 new jobs due to strong federal leadership; the renewal of Canada’s manufacturing sector and the best use of our technology R&D money is in an aggressive push into cleantech (not just renewables but energy efficiency, energy storage, smart grid technology, etc.). This is one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy and it promises not just a healthy bottom line but new jobs, cleaner air and a return to Canada’s place of pride among the world leaders in sustainability and stewardship. It’s win-win-win-win.

    I can say this unequivocally because I’ve witnessed it firsthand as a journalist, not just in Germany but in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Iowa, California, Ontario, even India. We’re in grave danger of falling behind in the race to lead the second industrial revolution. We need an aggressive catch-up plan now. I’m reasonably sure, at the risk of immodesty, that there’s no one in Parliament now who can speak to this issue with the depth of knowledge and breadth of experience that I have.”

    What will you do if elected to try to get low cost housing for seniors and will you try to fix the split income on senior’s pensions?


    “As Canada’s population ages, providing for the financial and health care needs of Canadian seniors is an increasingly high priority. Low-cost seniors’ housing is a key component of the Green Party’s larger National Affordable Housing Strategy, and as part of the party’s broader commitment to reform, I believe we need to look at new ways to shift our health care system’s emphasis from acute to long-term managed care. I’m looking forward to the chance to hearing more from Calgary Centre’ seniors about how their MP can better meet their diverse needs.”

    If a significant population of your constituency contacted you to call for scrutiny on the Canada-China Trade Deal, what would be your action?


    “My action would be to assist with the leadership Elizabeth May is already demonstrating on this issue; the Canada-China investment treaty wasn’t even on the public agenda until she began investigating it and publicizing what she found. I think the failure of the Harper government to allow for a full and open public discussion in Parliament is a testament to its failure to provide open, transparent and accountable government to Canadians in general. The fact that this controversial trade agreement is being forced through Parliament at the same time that there is a closed door process to decide the fate of Nexen’s deal with CNOOC is an indication that we need to take a step back and have a grown up discussion about Canada’s long term energy strategy. If we did that, we would not be in a divisive argument on every pipeline approval and foreign investment deal. We need a new conversation on Canada’s energy future, and I intend to lead it.”

    My previous MP in Sask sent out literature re: Refugee health benefits. Thoughts on this issue?


    “I think the Harper government’s reckless cuts to refugee health care is an erosion of Canadian values. As a country we have committed to providing a safe haven for vulnerable people escaping some of the most atrocious situations on the planet, and now we’re telling them they cannot have access to the same basic health rights as other Canadians. The medical community has been united and passionate in its criticism of this bill and the government knows this is wrong. It’s why they made this one of the many things hidden in the omnibus budget bill with absolutely no chance for a transparent discussion.”

    Please comment on the Harper/Alberta plan for Federal Medicare funding to provinces?


    “I believe our health care system, while vital and often exemplary in its provision of service, is in need of a serious reinvention for the 21st century. It simply must remain public and universal, but it was developed for a country with very different health care needs and should focus on preventing illness and promoting wellness instead of reacting mainly to crisis. We also need to reconfigure the system for an aging population where chronic at-home care is at least as common as acute hospital care.”

    Could you comment on the international trade agreements between Canada and US for the partially built Keystone pipeline?


    “Keystone – and the vociferous opposition to it – is a signal failure in the Harper government’s leadership. Content to cheerlead a “slam dunk” deal, to quote the Prime Minister, the government failed to anticipate the mounting opposition to pipelines and the growing animosity (however ignorant in some cases of the facts) toward Alberta’s oil. If Canada intends to continue to be a true global player in the energy business, it needs a partner in Ottawa that can anticipate and engage this sort of opposition. Going to war with every scientist and environmental group in its way is damaging Canada’s reputation at home and abroad and creating a lot of uncertainty for the business community. Calgary doesn’t need another cheerleader, we need a partner in government and a credible voice on the international stage that can cut through the divisive language and initiate a grown up conversation about Canada’s long term energy strategy. ”

    Explain your view on the by-election issue, causing a multi-million dollar by election in the case of the elected official changing jobs?


    “By-elections are a necessary part of democracy. The cost is an investment to ensure that Calgary has a representative voice at the national stage. This by-election in particular is a special moment in Calgary’s history because we have a chance to set aside old-school politics and choose the best candidate, the most inspiring leader. I hope you’ll give me the chance to earn your vote and prove I am that leader – and that the process itself is very much worth the cost.”

    Do you favour some form of Emissions Tax or how do you think we can encourage greener energy?


    “Alberta is in fact one of the few greenhouse gas regulated jurisdictions in North America; we effectively do already have an emissions tax of $15 per tonne of CO2 equivalent on some emissions. Could that dollar figure be increased? From my conversations with energy professionals, it could easily rise to $20 and still not make much difference to our economy or the ability of responsible oil and gas companies to comply. Could Alberta pilot an emissions scheme to roll out to the rest of the country? Why not Alberta? Who else knows the industry’s needs and challenges better?
    Calgary is ready to become a true energy capital, but to get there we need a real conversation about our energy economy, what it needs now and where it’s headed. I think the Calgary Centre by-election represents a unique opportunity to introduce a new voice to this national conversation. As a writer, journalist and speaker on climate, energy and sustainability, I’ve spent much of my professional life studying how best to address these issues, how to build a green economy, and how to facilitate an inclusive and optimistic conversation about these topics. We need leadership more than ever on this, not more talking points.”

    Where does Chris Turner stand on CBC funding?


    “When we last voted in the May 2011 general election, our Member of Parliament Lee Richardson stated: “It is the government’s policy that the CBC is and will remain Canada’s national public broadcaster in English and French”.

    And, Heritage Minister James Moore promised one day after the election that:

    “We believe in the national public broadcaster. We have said that we will maintain or increase support for the CBC. That is our platform and we have said that before and we will commit to that.”

    Yet, soon after the election the government cut funding by $115 million, undermining the CBC’s ability to be a real public broadcaster.

    Only four of 26 western democracies spend less as a percentage of GDP than Canada on public broadcasting – Portugal, Poland, New Zealand and the U.S.

    As a voter in Calgary Centre, I call upon you to defend our national public broadcaster and advocate for adequate funding to keep the PUBLIC in our CBC.

    I could not agree more with this call for the restoration of adequate funding for the CBC. It is an essential public institution, one I’ve had the great pleasure of working for and otherwise participating in on a wide range of occasions during my career as an author and journalist. It is the aggregate voice of the country, and it has more than earned the right to be treated as a sacred public trust.

    I should mention furthermore that as a writer who’s made his living as a freelancer for 15 years in Canada, I’m uniquely aware of the economic challenges involved in making a living as an arts professional in this country. Without the CBC, my books would have reached far fewer readers and my ideas would’ve connected with many fewer minds. It’s safe to say that my own career would’ve been substantially and materially smaller without the CBC; I know of virtually no one active in the creation of Canada’s vibrant culture for whom this isn’t true. The CBC deserves far more respect – and much better and more stable funding – than our government currently provides. I would welcome the opportunity to advocate for better support on behalf of the citizens of Calgary Centre.”

    Please comment on the in-play (uranium for nuclear) trade agreement between India and Canada?


    “Canada has agreed to resume selling uranium to India after we stopped doing so in the 1970s because the country used a Canadian-supplied reactor to create the plutonium for a nuclear test blast. Although India also has domestic nuclear power needs, Canadian uranium would free up more of India’s resources to supply its nuclear weapons needs. This trade agreement is careless. It fails to ensure that Canadian uranium will not be used for nuclear weapons. Canada should’ve obliged India to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons or the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty as a prerequisite to signing the trade agreement. ”

    Various levels of government look at cutting services and increasing taxes when economics drop. Why don’t governments cut their own salaries and wages like the private sector does?


    “A fair question. In part, I suppose it’s because government revenues don’t directly mimic private sector revenues, and because government wages certainly don’t increase in lockstep with private sector growth. That said, I applaud Elizabeth May’s leadership regarding transparency about her expenses as an MP – she publishes her expense reports, with receipts, and makes a point of looking for ways to reduce her expenses, flying economy class unlike many of her parliamentary colleagues, for example. I fully intend to follow her lead once elected. ”

    Where do the candidates and their political parties stand on the Gateway pipeline and transporting raw bitumen to super tankers?


    “On the one hand, I fully support the growth of Alberta’s energy sector under a federal regime providing regulatory certainty. On the other, I think the Gateway project was conceived in a regulatory vacuum and that its choice of the unique ecological treasure of the Great Bear Rainforest as its terminus is highly questionable. It’s perfectly reasonable that the industry wants to get a fair world price for its product and open up to new markets, but the public trust necessary to make decisions on the industry’s future is being steadily eroded as the Harper government dismantles the existing regulatory framework, which is supposed to ensure concerns are addressed and the project is in the interest of Canadians.
    The issues surrounding the expansion of the oilsands are all federal in scope: they require multi-provincial cooperation, an unbiased evaluation of environmental impacts, and effective Aboriginal engagement. Instead of providing leadership, the Harper government has left the provinces to duke it out for themselves, left corporations to solve complex, generations-old Aboriginal land claim issues, and attempted to drive the process toward a result they’ve already endorsed without a fair hearing. They have labeled environmental groups and Aboriginal communities as radicals, simply because they exercised their rights as Canadians to express their concerns.
    Canada’s resource wealth is a sacred national trust. Instead of fighting over every infrastructure project, what we need is a vision for how to responsibly develop our natural resources and invest that wealth to power the transition to the diversified energy economy we know our children deserve.”

    The tax dollar that is collected, how can you envision it be distributed to benefit Calgary Center over the next term?


    “One of the huge problems with government at present is that too much of your tax dollar goes to distant governments in Edmonton and Ottawa. Cities are the economic engines of this country – none more so than Calgary now – and I would like to see more of that dollar stay here in Calgary to fund the vital infrastructure we know the city needs to thrive as it grows. I’m calling for a National Transportation Strategy, as the first step toward a new deal for Canada’s cities that provides them with the tools they need to continue to grow and prosper.
    When the Harper government canceled funding earmarked for new rec centres in Calgary, not a single Calgary MP spoke up about it. As MP, I’ll be pushing the government to fulfill its commitments to Calgary and also make new infrastructure investments in Calgary Centre. For too long Calgary’s been taken for granted; we need a real voice more than ever. ”

    What does the “US fiscal Cliff” mean to each of the candidates?


    “As our largest trading partner by far, the American economy is obviously of paramount interest to Canadians. I’m relieved, as most Canadians are, that we avoided the excesses of its most recent financial mania, and I hope that whatever comes of the second term of President Obama’s government, he continues to lead the country away from economic crises that could drag on the Canadian economy.”

    What is your position on the MP pensions and restructure of those pensions?


    “I think that public servants deserve to be looked after in their retirement, but I would be open to investigating what amounts to adequate compensation for a term or two in Parliament (as opposed to a lifetime of service). As in so many cases, I think the Green Party’s track record on fiscal responsibility and openness to reform speaks well of our ability to address an issue like this. Elizabeth May, alone in Parliament, flies economy class and posts all her office’s expenses online for her constituents to see; I intend to do the same as the Honourable Member for Calgary Centre.”