Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Marion Schaffer, Oakville
Monday, September 24, 2007
Marion Schaffer is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Oakville riding. Wikinews' Nick Moreau interviewed her regarding her values, her experience, and her campaign.
Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.
Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process? Why did you choose to run in this constituency?
- I joined the Green Party in Oakville because that’s where I choose to live now, close to family. I’ve never been a party member before. The Green Party is the only internationally connected party which is ready, and able, to take positive action to clean up our world. It was essential for me to join and start doing my part in the redesigning of the future.
What prior political experience do you have? What skills and insight can you bring to office, from other non-political positions you may have held?
- I think it's a good thing that I have had no prior political experience; the Green Party is re-inventing the word 'politician'.
Which of your competitors do you expect to pose the biggest challenge to your candidacy? Why?
- Many people distrust today's politicians. They are seen as people who talk but do not listen; as people who promise but do not deliver on those promises. The Green Party is developing leaders who will be advocates working in partnership with people everywhere to heal our over-stressed world.
What makes you the most desirable of all candidates running in the riding?
- I have functioned as a: speaker/leader/guide/advocate/feminist/pacifist/teacher/pastor in previous careers and I am not afraid of any opponents because I intend to follow the example of our Green Party Federal leader, Elizabeth May, and always speak the truth to the best of my knowledge.
What do you feel are the three most important issues to voters in your riding? Are these the same top three issues that are most important to you? What would you do to address these issues?
- In my opinion the three most important issues here in Oakville are:
- a. controlling urban sprawl
- b. preserving what we have in a fiscally responsible way
- c. educating local people so that they conserve energy, support local industry, but think globally.
- These goals reflect Green Party policy.
- I will use all possible resources of The Green Party of Ontario to promote these ends and as well, day by day, change the way I live. I must lead by example and walk the walk or I can't say that I am Green.
- I am part of local environmental groups fighting to control development and conserve green space. I give financial support to The Sierra Club, The Council of Canadians, Amnesty International, and The David Suzuki Foundation. I support women’s shelters and palliative care centers. I utilize alternative remedies to safeguard my own health. I write letters to politicians at all levels of government to speak against unwise decisions.
- But, I am determined to be a less wasteful consumer.
- Here are some examples of changes I am making:
- I avoid driving out of Oakville for services of any kind (e.g. dentist, doctor, eye specialist, therapy, auto repair, shopping, beauty salon, rec centre, library, etc.).
- I take GO train to attend events in the GTA.
- I belong to, and support, local organizations which are striving to achieve similar goals and am striving to become a part of local groups to make new friends here.
- In every possible way I am using less and less power in my home (e.g. state-of-the-art furnace and AC system, “green” lights, thermostats, using less water, unplugging appliances and using only energy saving appliances, etc.).
- This list is just a small sample of the many, many things I know I need to do in order to help save our planet.
What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?
- The first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly should be to declare to the people of Ontario that everyone in the house must pledge to work together to assure a clean environment for all species on our planet and a sustainable future for our children.
Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?
- I think Oakville taxes are where they should be; we are served well.
How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?
- As far as stimulating new jobs is concerned Ontario should work at creating “green jobs”, that is jobs which will allow our province to manufacture fuel-efficient vehicles, wind turbines, better public transit, sustainable agriculture and forestry, eco-tourism, energy-efficient materials and construction. I think we should pay for what we burn, not what we earn. All these ideas have been put forward in the Green Party of Ontario platform paper.
What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?
- We will have a more participatory democracy if we change the way we vote and adopt Mixed Member Proportional representation. Government of the people, for the people, by the people is the cornerstone of Green Party policy.
What role, if any, does “new media” play in your campaign, and the campaign of your party? (websites, blogs, Facebook, YouTube videos, etc) Do you view it as beneficial, or a challenge?
- The new media does not figure greatly in my campaign; face-to-face dialogue is more important to the Green Party. As well, not everyone can afford to have internet service nor do they have the time to surf the web. However I wish that all citizens of Ontario would take the time to go on-line to: www.gov.on.ca. By doing so every person would know exactly when our leaders are being fiscally responsible and, likewise, when they are letting us down.
Of the decisions made by Ontario's 38th Legislative Assembly, which was the most beneficial to your this electoral district? To the province as a whole? Which was least beneficial, or even harmful, to your this riding? To the province as a whole?
- By going through this exercise myself I have come to the conclusion that the best thing Ontario’s 38th Legislative Assembly did was to dedicate a Ministry of Health Promotion to advocate healthy living and programs that prevent illness and promote wellness. The Green Party is very keen to promote prevention in the area of health care in order to save millions to say nothing of heading off the advance of our current cancer epidemic.
- One of the least helpful choices of this same Assembly was that of continuing to allow Separate School funding in this province despite the condemnation of the UN Human Rights Committee twice (in 1999 and 2005) for violating the equality of its own citizens by funding Roman Catholic schools but NOT schools of other religions. We must have only ONE school system: the public school system.
- We need to build tolerance as well as establish progressive social policies; we must widen the opportunity for every citizen to participate in democracy.
- The Green Party believes very strongly in ALL these principles.