Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Jim Reeves, York-Simcoe
Monday, October 1, 2007
Jim Reeves is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the York-Simcoe riding. Wikinews' Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his 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 have been active for many years in business and environmental organization in York Region and am increasingly concerned about the indiscriminate development, and the lack of effective steps by the major parties to protect the Lake Simcoe watershed. I see in the Green Party policy many ideas which if implemented could greatly improve not only environmental health, but the practical aspects of education, social welfare and health care delivery in our province.
- I have lived in Georgina since 1978 and would be proud to represent my home constituency.
What prior political experience do you have? What skills and insights can you bring to office, from other non-political positions you may have held?
- While I have no specific political experience, I have served on many boards. Business related: Canadian Retail Hardware Association, as director on the committee for legislative affairs. Canadian Tire Dealers Association, at different times, committees on marketing, logistics, and warehousing. Provincial: Workplace Health and Safety, and Social: Association for Community Living, York Environmental Stewardship. As an engineer and having my MBA I have a very practical approach to problems and I believe that I can bring a creative and practical point of view, incorporating new technologies.
- Which of you competitors do you expect to pose the biggest challenge to your candidacy? Why? What makes you the most desirable candidate running in the riding?
- As a Green Party candidate I recognize that all the major parties pose a big challenge. They all have established riding constituencies and financial support far beyond anything we can realistically expect in this election. However the Green Party represents the grass roots and will be better able to put forward the issues of growth in harmony with the environment, and protection of the Lake Simcoe watershed. They are both issues very important to the riding.
What do you feel are the three most important issues to voters in your riding? Are these the same top three issues most important to you? What would you do to address these issues?
- Bad development: The extensive building of single family dwellings, with no centre of shopping, amenities,
- No job growth in the developments or nearby. People have to commute, causing more smog, congestion and air pollution.
- Degradation of the Lake Simcoe watershed. This degradation is taking place as a result of poor water management, smelter byproducts, dumps and the paving over of large areas of the Oak Ridge’s Moraine.
- These are also issues about which I have great concern. We must stop all development on the Lake Simcoe watershed until a comprehensive study can be completed to identify where development can take place with minimal impact on the watershed. This will have to be done through legislation like the proposed Lake Simcoe Act.
- “Smart” planning techniques should be adopted, where the developments are along existing corridors of infrastructure. They should include mixed density housing, affordable housing, seniors housing, shopping and cafes. Facilities for doctors, lawyers, dentists etc all with walking or biking distances. This type of planning promotes a community spirit. People meet and talk and know each other. There tends to be less crime. This approach to planning is in use all over the world.
- Developers should also be required to build facilities to encourage business to locate nearby. People can travel short distances to work.
What should be the first order of business for the 39th legislative Assembly?
- Climate change is a fact and we see it in many of the everyday events. Eg. this summer we have had the same amount of rainfall as usual but it fell in several very heavy showers as opposed to the longer more ground penetrating kind we usually have. Considering this I think the first order of business should be to look at the many small changes that can considerably reduce our carbon footprint. The technology is available; other countries and cities are using it; Lets. Act now and get that leadership from the government of Ontario.
Are property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?
- The whole issue of property tax needs to be revisited. The Green Party proposes to place a moratorium on any increases in the assess market value of all residential properties and to establish a Royal Commission to study alternatives such as a location value tax system. Also consider a system which does not penalize property owners for making improvements.
How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?
- We need to become the leader in “green” jobs in sustainable industries. Recent trends show that the public is willing to pay more for “greener” products. Small business and co-ops are important engines of a vibrant green economy and should be encouraged, and money should be diverted to the form of loans to help them get started
What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?
- I am in support of changing the electoral system to MMP. It will give the people of the province a greater influence on the legislature. Each person can now vote for the candidate whom they feel best represents their riding, irrespective of party and then party of their choice. Many people have commented on the extra number of seats, however looking at the mathematics this was the smallest number that could be used to allow a seat for a party that gets over 3% of the vote. Also people now will have two representatives to advocate for them in the legislature.
What role, if any, does "new media" play in your campaign, and the campaign of your party?
- Both the Green Party and I are making a lot of use of computer technology and the internet. The GPO web site is extensive and kept well up to date and my own site www.vote reeves.ca also has a lot of information, links and the opportunity to donate on line to my campaign. Emailing and electronic storage of information greatly reduces the amount of paper being used and enables us to communicate efficiently with many people across our very large riding.
Of the decisions made by Ontario’s 38th Legislative Assembly, which was the most beneficial to your electoral district? To the province as a whole? Which was least beneficial, or even harmful, to your riding? To the Province as a whole?
- Most beneficial to our riding were the establishment of the Oak Ridge’s Moraine protection and the announcement of the Green belt. However the bad decision was removing the teeth from the protections and allowing the continued building on the Lake Simcoe watershed. Also excluding the west half of the riding between Bradford and Barrie from the green belt. Again this will lead to further degradation of the watershed. The decision to raise the MPP salaries was a bad decision for the province as a whole, especially in view of the lack of action on many social issues.