Tuesday, May 22, 2018

You want MY vote?

( a bit of a ramble - but follow the threads…)

There is an election underway in Ontario.
I strongly believe that a Citizen has Responsibility. One Duty is to exercise ‘the Right to Franchise’ - to make careful consideration, and vote wisely. This requires some research by the Citizen, some effort in actually attending to cast a ballot. 
The ideal would be supporting an individual candidate who could be depended on to accurately represent the overall wishes of the combined constituents who had elected that individual. Of course, within a Democracy, this means representing the majority view.
With the increasing dominance of a rigid ‘party’ system here in Canada, what actually happens is any candidate is constrained from actually representing the aggregate viewpoint of the riding population, but instead is virtually forced into expressing the platform view of the Party they are associated with. (1)

Now the modern world is considerably more complex today. Clearly gone are the days of ‘single issue’ candidates (if such even realistically ever existed). Obviously, any individual voter will end up having to prioritize their own personal opinions, against the many issues under consideration at a given election date.
Economy? Taxation? Environment? Education? Healthcare? Social Policy?
And especially, in the current Ontario Election - Leadership? (2)

This all a consideration that backgrounds the following:

I had reported on this blog earlier that I personally consider the looming Environmental Crisis of extreme importance. (3)
I personally consume fossil fuels (coal and propane) in my daily operations as an Artisan Blacksmith. The nature of my museum and education work involves considerable travel (so gasoline and aviation fuel).
(7/7/2008) Carbon and the Forge
(12/4/2015) Carbon Loading
(3/8/2018) Carbon Loading at Wareham https://warehamforgeblog.blogspot.ca/2018/03/carbon-loading-at-wareham.html

Given my own personal interest in environmental impact (and the related feeling of responsibility), I had made several attempts to question the major Canadian political Parties related *specifically* about Carbon Tax.
Again reported on an earlier blog post:
(3/12/2018) Don’t Call Us… 

As (more) background :
An initial open letter was send (via e-mail) to both Federal and Provincial levels of the four main Parties (Liberal / PC / NDP / Green) on February 26, 2018. Other than an 'auto reply' responses (ie: 'Thank you for your inquiry') back that same day from: National NDP / Ontario NDP / Ontario PC - there was no actual answer supplied.
The Ontario election is now formally underway (writ May 9 / vote June 7). I sent an additional copy out on May 15, one to the each of four Ontario Party offices, additionally to the four individual candidates listed for my own riding (Grey-Bruce).

The initial response to this was to start getting ‘junk’ mail notices from the Ontario Green Party (starting the following day).
On May 20, I received a reply from Karen Gventer, my local NDP candidate:

The real issues to do with carbon are from the large-scale use, such as larger factories and our dependence on gas-operated cars.  If all we had were artisan uses of fossil fuels, we wouldn't have such a big problem.

The Ontario NDP would keep the cap-and-trade system, but would dedicate at least 25% of the revenues to support communities and individuals with disproportionate burdens (such as rural Ontarians).

We don't have anything in our platform that indicates a higher carbon tax. My understanding is that such a tax would have to be through the roof to actually make a difference in people's habits - which is unfair when alternatives are not readily available. The NDP is founded on principles of fairness, so if any carbon tax were investigated in the future, it would only be implemented along with the ability to for people to make affordable, alternative choices.

We definitely need to make a significant change in our greenhouse gas emissions, as a society. However, we also need to keep in mind "Just Transition" - which to ensure that we are not harming the most vulnerable people during our change.

I don't think I specifically answered your question, but that is because I don't have a specific answer. Please feel free to email me again if you would like clarification or have further questions.

Karen Gventer
NDP Candidate, 2018 Provincial Election
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
226-664-2990 (Campaign Office)

(from personal e-mail, 5/20 & 5/21/2018 : quoted with kind permission)

A) The election would have been 18 days away. At point of writing, now 16 days.
Not one of the other 7 other e-mail letters have yet to be replied to.

B) Monday May 20. Victoria Day holiday. Normally a day that might have been spent with family (traditionally). I consider this ‘working overtime’.

C) Obviously a personal reply - NOT an ‘auto reply’.
Karen obviously read the entire (long) original letter I sent.
Further, Karen has specifically attempted to address my two, quite specific, questions, referring to the highly individual framework I presented.

D) I had sent a return to Karen’s first reply, asking permission to quote her reply with a commentary I was intending to reply. She responded to that second message promptly, asking for a slight addition / clarification - as quoted above (which did not change the message, just improved the context).

E) I note quite specifically that Karen is willing to freely admit to the limit of her knowledge. And goes further to offer further, personal, communications to better attempt to provide the best information she can.

So - I have to ask : Who is it that really wants my vote - and is willing to work for it?

Thanks Karen.
I think this alone might make my own personal choice with my individual vote clearer.

1) This was not always the case. Within my own lifetime of voting, I have seen the dramatic shift from ‘represent the population’ to ‘represent the Party’. My own first vote would have been the Canadian Federal election of 1974.

2) In the current Ontario election, I personally consider the personal character of the individual Party Leaders of critical importance.
For the sake of this commentary, I am specifically addressing (or even mentioning) the individual Leaders.

3) At this point, it is clearly impossible not to see the huge changes in the Earth’s climate. That human activity is responsible is also not realistically to be denied. I have been personally involved in levels of ‘environmental activism’ since I was in high school in the early 1970’s. The concern then was primarily pollution - water and air, and the impact of accumulating garbage. It was clearly obvious to many willing to observe, that human activity was impacting the environment of the planet.
Given my own birth date, I personally am unlikely to remain alive long enough to personnaly experience the worst effects of the current climate changes.
I do believe much of this climate shift has been caused by the actions of my own generation group (Baby Boomers) who have  been *knowingly blind*, and self absorbed, and self indulgent.
We most certainly DID know.
We most certainly did LITTLE.

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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