"We never know the worth of water till the well is dry" Thomas Fuller
Some would say it is a bit naive to identify with, expect too much from or believe in a politician. We`ve all been down that road too many times. But then, along comes a woman who steals my anxious idealist heart with presence and words that ring hope for doing the right things in an "era of consequences". Yeah, what a load of shite! But after listening to Elizabeth May, Canadian Green Party Leader, speak at a gathering in my little town, I`m a bit excited. Why?! What makes her different?
Impressions? She`s engaging (great speaker) , attractive and believable. That`s the easy part! But she shows a passion for truth that is a little unusual for them. She shows no end in disappointment in our Conservative government and will speak all night on the reasons why. We can all do that, so show me something radical. Ms. May confesses that she won`t be disappointed in losing an election if the other parties continue to steal her Green platform. She wants to affect policy (like our Tommy Douglas many years ago) with or without power. (Mind you, she fully expects to kick Peter Mckay`s ass in her local riding election.) And she`s very open about her high regard and respect for Liberal leader Stephan Dion even though he is in the "wrong party". She claims he was a fine Environment Minister and a man of integrity. Unusual praise for political opponents. Lets see. She`s not driven by power and she`s complimentary about her opponents strengths. Not the usual political mould? What`s the catch?
She saves her bluntest truth for tough talk about the "consequences" of status quo policy in the world today. Ms. May paraphrases Winston Churchill, "we are in an era of consequences", as she argues for policies that defend future generations. The policies? Here`s a few: First she would cut our income and payroll taxes and raise taxes on carbon. The plan is to reward behaviour like work and penalize pollution and CO2 emissions while balancing the budget. Then honor International agreements with a sustainable economy. About time! Second is a plan to change the voting system to Proportional Representation. No longer would a minority of voters be able to elect a majority government in Canada. About fracking time! Imagine how Mulroney, Rae, Harris and Chretien governments might have done if they had to consider everyone`s interest? Imagine politics of consensus and compromise. Shite, it sounds like democracy. Third we would approach Afghanistan as a peace keeping and rebuilding mission. Give hands on support to the local poppy industry by redirecting the product to pharmaceutical industry from heroin market. She says the American led Nato strategy is to destroy poppy crops and that`s driving people into alliance with drug lords and Taliban. We need to convince the locals we`re on their side and not shiteing on their economy. And she worries for safety of our troops in the Kandahar province because of this dumb ass leadership. We are pissing off the people we`re supposed to be dying for and that`s not a good strategy for "winning the peace."
These are some pieces of her puzzle as she commands the stage with a passion for change. I can see why some of our lamer leaders (Harper and Layton) are not too crazy about having a public debate with this woman. Elizabeth May looks like a perfect storm of new and needed ideas for the stain of our status quo Canadian politic. A new generation of voters, the internet and a rising fury for the push button issue of the future. Parties will need to listen for the sound of this storm: it`s the environment stupid! And here`s a crazy notion. The next Prime Minister in a minority government chooses May as his Minister of Environment while the government acts like it represents us all. Yeah, I`m such a dreamer but Elizabeth May is riding the winds of change where hopefully she can make a difference before this well goes dry!